Anna Maria College is drawing sports talent far and wide with student athletes across the country joining our teams. Why Anna Maria? Hear from five football players from Texas, Florida, Michigan, California, and Virginia about their personal experiences.

JaVaughn Roberts

  • Class: Freshman
  • Major: Sport Management
  • State: Texas

Donavin Johnson

  • Class: Junior
  • Major: Criminal Justice
  • State:  Florida

Michael Verran

  • Class: Freshman
  • Major: Sport Management
  • State: Michigan

Samwiri Jakana

  • Class: Junior
  • Major: Business Administration
  • State:  California

Xavian Whitaker-Williams

  • Class: Freshman
  • Major: Business Administration
  • State:  Virginia

How did you first hear about Anna Maria College?

 JaVaughn: I first heard about Anna Maria College in April of 2022 when Coach Thayer presented me with an opportunity to continue my academic and athletic career.

Donavin: In all honesty, I had never heard about Anna Maria College, Worcester, or Paxton before I was getting recruited for football. Living in Florida, you never really hear much about the schools up North, but I was excited to learn more about the school.

Michael: My high school coach was good friends with Coach Conrad and he sent my film to him. We got in touch and he explained to me the benefits of being a student at Anna Maria College.

Samwiri: I first heard about Anna Maria when my teammate and brother, Douglas Jackson, was getting recruited. He called me one day and said, “Bro, I think I might go to this school.” I responded, “Really? Take me with you.” So, we came here together. 

Xavian: I first heard about Anna Maria College while on Twitter. When I researched, I realized that they had a strong football program and a business program that I was interested in.

What do you enjoy about being an Anna Maria College football player?

JaVaughn: I like that no matter where you are from, the color of your skin, the clothes you do or do not have, you are still treated as a member of this AMCAT family. It’s similar to a second family so to speak.

Donavin: There’s lots of things I love about being an Anna Maria athlete, but the one thing I love the most is the atmosphere and energy at Caparso Field on game day. The food, the family environment, and the excitement that’s running through everyone is just an unmatched feeling.

Michael: My favorite thing about being a collage football player for Anna Maria is that I was able to make it to the next level in my sports journey. I love the O-line group; they were very welcoming.

Samwiri: What I love about being an Anna Maria football player is that I get to be surrounded by great people. They genuinely care about your well-being and your path to success. 

Xavian: I love being an Anna Maria football player for many reasons. At the top of my list is the fact that we are a competitive Division 3 program that wins and this team makes me feel like part of a family.

What advice would you give to students who also want to attend a school far away?

JaVaughn: I would say to those students if you have a goal or a passion for something, the distance of that school from home won’t matter because you are following your heart. Yes, it is hard leaving your family and being away from loved ones you see daily, but they are always a phone call away, and whenever you may get homesick just remember your WHY, whatever that may be.

Donavin: The biggest piece of advice I can give to someone who is coming from far away is to make friends. Find people who make you feel at home even though you’re so far away.

Michael: I would recommend to just do it. There are times when you will want to be home, but if you get past that part you get to experience the world while playing for a sport you love.

Samwiri: The advice I would give is keep your head up and always see the good in every aspect of life. It’s a great experience moving far away because you get to see how different parts of the country are.

Xavian: The advice I would give to people who want to attend school far away is to be patient. There might be times where you feel homesick, or you might not be used to the new atmosphere, but as long as you are patient everything will work out and you will get used to everything.

What exciting things are you looking forward to this semester?

JaVaughn: I am looking forward to developing my academic and athletic skills as an AMCAT while trying to help the football team win another conference championship as well as capture a national championship. I want to help develop a winning culture throughout the program.

Donavin: This semester I’m looking forward to stepping back on the field and working towards another conference championship, but most of all I’m looking forward to another semester with the awesome professors at Anna Maria College.

Michael: I’m excited to work hard for my GPA and make a lot of new friends.

Samwiri: A few things I’m looking forward to this semester are getting good grades, playing with my brothers, meeting new people, and having a blast!

Xavian: I’m looking forward to playing the game I love and watching my fellow teammates play!