Washington Football

Washington Football

When the Redskins drafted Chase Young second overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, the pass rusher became the latest on a long list of alumni from DeMatha Catholic High School to become a top draft pick.

Shortly after he was drafted, the 21-year-old received a message from professional lacrosse player Paul Rabil, a fellow DeMatha alum and the founder of the Premier Lacrosse League. 

Rabil recently joined NBC Sports Washington's D.C. Sports Live crew and explained why he reached out to the top Redskins draft pick.

"Chase is great, man," Rabil explained. "I shot him a note because obviously I think he's a generational talent, his athleticism, his size and his work ethic."

Rabil, who's widely considered the best lacrosse player by many of his peers, expressed that besides the fact that he and Young both attended DeMatha, the two have a decent amount in common, including a jersey number.

"I'm pumped to see him wear No. 99," Rabil said. "We have that in common. Sharing some additional commonalities is something Chase and I went back and forth on."

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Neither Young nor Rabil sported the 99 before becoming professionals. As Rabil explained to the D.C. Sports Live crew, he simply picked 99 when turning pro because No. 9, the number he had worn his entire career prior, was already taken by a teammate.

 

Like Rabil, Young wore No. 9 at DeMatha before changing to No. 2 at Ohio State. With defensive ends required to wear a number between 50-79 or 90-99 in the NFL, Young picked the closest thing that resembled his high school number in 99.

Sharing a number is just one of multiple things both Rabil and Young do have a lot in common, despite being 13 years apart in age. At DeMatha, both athletes were All-Americans and top recruits in their respective sport.

As Rabil explained, the athletics culture at DeMatha is special.

"I think it's something perhaps they put in the water fountains at DeMatha," Rabil joked. "It's a great culture. It's a sports culture."

DeMatha first became a national powerhouse in basketball in the 1960s behind the late legendary coach Morgan Wootten. That strong culture has remained in the basketball program -- the school has won 41 WCAC championships since the 1960s -- but has also transferred over to all of the school's other athletic programs, too. 

"I think it comes down to a lot of the coaching and the camaraderie. I've seen it ebb and flow over time," Rabil said. "We were powerhouses in football, basketball, obviously the origin in Morgan Wootten and basketball and what we've done there. But that bleeds over into wrestling and soccer [and more]."

Rabil led DeMatha to a lacrosse WCAC championship in each of his sophomore, junior and senior seasons, earning numerous honors and accolades along the way. On the football side, Young played an integral role in leading DeMatha to a WCAC title both in his junior and senior years, too.

Although it's been 16 years since Rabil was a student at the Hyattsville school, he's still just as proud to call himself a DeMatha alum.

"It's a great community to be a part of and one I'm really proud to continue to talk about," he said.

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