Kwame Jarvis wasn’t sure if he was going to fit in at Milford Academy, an elite New York prep school with a tradition of football excellence.
“The first week, I kind of questioned my ability,” said the former Schenectady High School standout. “There was a lot of star power on the team. Every guy was a main guy from where they came from. It made me work harder, and I improved.”
The young quarterback ended up having another productive season, and afterward, he got another call from American International College.
“They reached out to me when I was in high school. They expressed a lot of interest,” said Jarvis. “They reached out to me again.”
Jarvis said yes the second time, and signed an official letter of intent to compete for Division II AIC Monday. The 18-year-old will receive an athletic scholarship and study communications at the Northeast-10 school in Springfield, Mass.
“I’m very excited to continue to play football,” he said. “It’s something I love and I am passionate about. I have no plans to play in the NFL, but I get to play four more years. What more could I ask for?”
American International runs a spread offense similar to the one he operated out of at Schenectady, when, in 2012, he set several passing records and was selected The Daily Gazette’s Offensive Player of the Year.
“It’s perfect for me,” Jarvis said of the AIC offense. “It’s something I’m comfortable with.”
Jarvis said playing for Milford was a great stepping stone in preparation for the next level. Milford’s schedule included games against junior varsity teams from Yale, Princeton, Wagner, Merrimack, Army and Navy.
“It was an eye-opener,” he said. “The whole game changes. The speed, the size of the kids, it was so different than high school. Playing there gave me a good head start.”
Jarvis helped Milford put together a 9-3 record. He completed 116 of 194 passes for 1,674 yards and 15 touchdowns, and one his scoring tosses came late in a 27-26 win over Wagner. Jarvis was selected Milford’s Offensive Player of the Game after going 18-for-24 for 345 yards and five touchdowns in a 42-20 win over Massachusetts Maritime.
“If I was going to succeed, I had to be as good as the people around me,” said Jarvis. “I had to step up my game.”
Two of Jarvis’ receiving targets were Shenendehowa graduate Kyle Buss and Bishop Maginn graduate Derrek Thomas, who have committed to Robert Morris and Temple, respectively.
Jarvis set Schenectady records as a senior for passing yards (1,734), touchdowns (15), completions (119) and attempts (197) in leading the Patriots to six wins and a sectional semifinal berth. He was named the Class AA Liberty Division Offensive Player of the Year and was also selected to the all-state Class AA second-team offense. No Section II quarterback had ever achieved such a high honor since the state added the Class AA level in 1996.
“Hard work does pay off,” said the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Jarvis. “If you put the time and effort into something you love, nothing can stop you.”
American International won the NE-10 championship last season, made its second NCAA Division II tournament appearance and finished 9-3 under head coach Art Wilkins.