Imhotep Charter had a season for the ages in 2015. The Philadelphia Public League and District 12 Class AAA Champions won their first state title by defeating Erie Cathedral Prep in the championship game. Even though they lost most of their massive offensive line, the Panthers return a lot of talent on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. One of the key return players on defense for Imhotep Charter is senior middle linebacker Amin Black.
Black may not get the recognition that several other players at his position received, but he had a season that would rival anyone else’s in the state. He made 123 total tackles, including 21 for a loss. Black also forced two fumbles and intercepted two passes for the Panthers. Even though he hasn’t received an offer yet, Black is receiving attention from FCS and Division II schools.
“Villanova is showing a lot of interest,” said Black. “Towson and several Division II schools are also showing interest.” Black says he attended prospect camps at Temple, Villanova and Towson over the summer and received feedback from some of the coaches.
Temple: “Their coaches like the way I come downhill and make plays. They think I play like an old-school thumper linebacker.”
Villanova: “Their coaches liked me a lot. They loved my film, and they thought did great when I came to their prospect camp. Since I only started for one year, they want to wait until they see my highlights after three games. I’m one of their top players on their board. They have only one linebacker committed and they’re taking four in the 2017 class.”
Black’s performance on the field speaks for itself. However, his height (5-foot-11) may give college coaches at the FBS and FCS levels second thoughts as to whether or not he can compete at those levels. Villanova, according to Black, doesn’t seem to have a problem with his height due to the way he performs on the field.
“I think that some coaches have a problem with my height,” said Black. “Villanova has let me know that it’s not a problem to them. I feel like I play as if I’m 6-foot-3, so it’s no problem.”
During the offseason, Black played on the PA Playmakers 7v7 travel team to help him work on his pass coverage skills. According to Black, the experience helped him out a lot as a football player.
“Going into it, I wasn’t psyched about it because I like to hit,” said Black when asked about playing on a travel 7v7 team. “I was thinking of it as a way to stay in shape. After a while, I liked it more and more and I worked with Coach Keita (Keita Crespina is a defensive back coach for St. Joe’s Prep High School in Philadelphia) and he helped me with my technique. Coach Keita and my defensive back, Coach Dev, helped me out a lot by teaching me how to be a better pass defender at my position.”
Black has shown improvement in other areas. Black says he used to be real “jumpy” before each play last season. “I’ve learned to take read steps so I’m able to read and react better to plays,” said Black.
Imhotep Charter went through a coaching change during the offseason when Coach Albie Crosbie stepped down from his head coaching position due to personal reasons. Black says that the transition was tough at first.
“Everybody was used to Coach Albie running things,” said Black. “Coach (Mark) Schmidt was here last year, but it was a little different because he wasn’t the head coach. Nothing has changed. Everybody is focused and we want to win another state title.”
Black knows that Imhotep will have a huge target on their back this year as returning state champions. Don’t expect the Panthers to be satisfied with last year’s accomplishments. “It’s made us work harder,” assured Black. “We can’t be lackadaisical and we have to give one hundred percent every time we go out on the field. We are motivated to work even harder.”
Black sees himself as a player who has matured on and off of the field and he takes his role as one of the team’s captains seriously.
“I want to show that I want to be a leader. All I want to do is be a leader and help our team win another state championship.”