Jaishawn Barham, a 4-star student athlete on 247Sports.com, is leaving DeMatha Catholic and transferring to St. Frances Academy.
Barham, currently ranked as the country’s No. 2 outside linebacker in the class of ‘22, played a significant role for the Stags’ stingy defense in 2019. Despite pitching four shutouts though, DeMatha finished the season 7-4 and was eliminated by St. John’s in the WCAC semifinals.
With the disappointing season likely to lead to another reshuffling of the Stags staff, Barham’s family thought it best they find a new home.
“The reason for leaving is heavily based on the stability and infrastructure [of the program],” said Barham’s dad, Anthony Nelson. “In the two years he’s been at DeMatha, the coaching staff turned over twice and they are still scrambling to find that stability.”
Contrarily, St. Frances has been a model of consistency in recent years. In the last 3 seasons, the Panthers have amassed a record of 34-1. Coach Biff Poggi’s squad has grown into a perennial powerhouse, playing a true national schedule and placing student athletes in positions to earn scholarship opportunities from top-tier universities across the country. The strength of the Panthers’ foundation is one reason Nelson believes Barham will thrive there.
“As a coach and dad -- knowing the potential he has to play at the next level -- my two biggest targets when selecting a program to transfer to was coaching and competition,” Nelson said. “Personally, I know the position coaches at St. Frances, and I know that the level of competition there will help him reach another level within himself.”
Nelson insists there are no hard feelings toward the Stags, that they have “nothing but love for DeMatha and the opportunities they gave Jaishawn.” He views this as an opportunity for Barham to grow both as a student athlete and a young man.
“In today’s world of sports where the athlete is taking a greater roll in controlling their own destiny -- as a brand and not just a worker -- he will be charged with making critical decisions for himself and his brand,” Nelson said. “This will be a major teaching tool for years to come.”
Barham presently holds 15 scholarship offers, including those from Ohio State, Penn State and Maryland.