Throughout this recruiting year we have gotten to know many players all with different stories. Some on their way to Division I powers, others looking for a shot, and some traveling longer paths to their dreams. As we draw nearer to signing day, there are still some top players still not sure what they are going to do.
One of those players is talented tight end Richard Accime out of Everett (Mass.) High School near Boston. Accime comes from an urban program that does not regularly turn out national prospects. In addition, he plays in an offense that very rarely gives him an opportunity to catch the ball. Lastly and most importantly though, he does not have the grades to be eligible. For now, that has been his biggest obstacle to climb.
Programs are certainly aware of Accime's talent -- he's received interest from schools like Penn State, Syracuse, Wisconsin and UConn. They are also aware of his grade situation and have decided to move on, leaving Accime to decide what to do next.
"There is a little frustration, but for the most part disappointment," Accime said. "I held myself back. I am intelligent enough to continue on with my work, but there was just a lack of effort in school."
Accime has the test scores, but his failure to see the big picture early on has made things rough now. He started playing football his freshman year of high school and began to receive attention during his sophomore year. A recruiter for Wisconsin came through to see the team's quarterback at the time, and while he was there noticed the potential Accime had.
Attention started to grow from other schools, but all the coaches expressed concern over his grades. It seemed that his performance in the classroom was slowly starting to have an effect on his ability to possibly play college football. Accime says that he always has been aware of the effects his school performance could have on football but that it never really sunk in until his senior year, and by then it may have been too late.
He lives with his mother Marie Clement, who was born in Haiti, and his younger sister. Clement is very supportive of her son but is not very familiar with the game of football or the recruiting process that Accime is going through.
"Sometimes I feel like I am at this alone, but I have to accept it and keep on moving," Accime said.
Growing up, basketball was his sport, and he originally wanted to play football to get in shape for basketball. Eventually the game of football just took over.
"I feel in love with it," he said.
The contact of the game really appealed to him as he said he was a lot bigger than a lot of the other kids growing up. He also felt the game was a good fit for his aggressive nature, and it became an emotional outlet.
"I was pretty much an angry kid, and it was a good way for me to take out my frustrations," he said.
His size, aggressiveness and athletic ability made him a nice fit at tight end, and his high school coaches knew that. He played, got better and attention grew, but he now sits and ponders where to go as options have dried up. Since the phone has stopped ringing, Accime has turned his attention to either playing junior college football or attending a prep school and has accepted his fate.
"It is for the best, I need another year to prepare and I am willing to deal with that," he said.
He is in the process of gathering information and looking at possibilities. Location is not a problem; all he is looking for is the opportunity to improve his grades, showcase his abilities and renew interest.
Since football has ended, he has been working in the classroom to finish as best he can and has taken a job to earn some money. Ultimately though, he is getting ready for whatever comes next both physically and mentally.
There is a very good chance that signing day will come and pass like any other day for Richard Accime, and he will have to continue to search for his next home.
Scouts Inc.: What is your favorite NFL team?
Richard Accime: Philadelphia Eagles.
Scouts Inc.: Who is your favorite player, and do you use his play as a model?
Accime: Terrell Owens and Ray Lewis. I definitely use T.O. as a model as well as Kellen Winslow from Miami, but for the most part T.O. I try following his style of play with him being an aggressive receiver and me being a tight end.
Scouts Inc.: What is it about your position that you love?
Accime: Being able to go out there and light somebody up blocking and being able to catch the ball, too. You kind of get a taste of both worlds, and I enjoy that.
Scouts Inc.: Do you have a pregame ritual?
Accime: I usually go out onto the field with my laces untied for warm-ups. I would tie my laces up after the coin toss.
Scouts Inc.: Favorite subject?
Accime: English. I feel I am a pretty articulate person and good with words. Plus I enjoy writing.
Scouts Inc.: Career goal after football?
Accime: I want to pursue a career in psychology.
Scouts Inc.: Favorite Actor?
Accime: Will Smith.
Scouts Inc.: Favorite Will Smith movie?
Accime: "Enemy of the State."
Craig Haubert is a recruiting coordinator for Scouts Inc.