Norristown’s Sinclair turning heads and opening eyes

By Dennis C. Way
@DwaySports on Twitter
WEST NORRITON >> Khalif Sinclair has a very simple explanation for his incredible elusiveness on a football field.
“All summer I worked on my footwork,” he said. “Plus, I hate getting tackled.”
Sinclair, the Norristown High senior wideout/quarterback/playmaker has seemingly raised the act of not being tackled to a fine art.
With a vast array of moves that have to be seen to be believed, he spent this past summer opening eyes all over the eastern part of the country as his brother Kenbell drove him from camp to combine to showcase — leaving dropped jaws and shaking heads in his wake.
This summer included stops at Albany State University in New York, where he has already received a scholarship offer, the Blue-Grey combine in Virginia, where he was named the co-MVP from among a players list numbering around 2,000, to West Point, where he was flattered by the attention, but not sold on the post-school commitment (“I don’t want to spend five years in the Army”) to Otterbein University in Ohio where he competed for scouts from some 50, mostly Division II, bird dogs, and then to Temple.
The result is a segment of the collegiate football world who now have Sinclair on their radar.
The magnitude of that last statement has left the Eagles senior a bit weak-kneed.
“I can’t really believe it,” Sinclair said. “I kind of pinch myself every day.”
But while Sinclair’s pizzazz has caught the attention of college football, it’s nothing new to Norristown head coach Jason Powel, who saw Sinclair and Norristown teammate Corey Davenport when they were playing for the Conshohocken Golden Bears youth team.
“I was at (Archbishop) Carroll at the time,” Powel said, “and I was trying to get both of them to come over there.
“Lo and behold, two years later, I came here and got both of them.”
But despite Sinclair’s obvious talents on the gridiron, Powel had to convince him to come out for football.
“I didn’t play football my freshman and sophomore years,” Sinclair said. “I thought basketball would be my way out.”
But things changed when he began showing his incredible athleticism on the football field.
A season ago, Sinclair was at his head-shaking best, making one incredible catch after another as the Eagles beat Central Bucks West in overtime.
And the highlight-fest was just starting.
By season’s end, the Eagles were disappointing, but their wideout was on the map.
With the spotlight beginning to shine on him, Sinclair took it upon himself to put the word out even further.
“I saw something on-line about this combine in Virginia, at the Redskins practice facility, and my mom signed me up,” he said.
Once there, Sinclair decided he was not about to stand in the shadows.
“I’m undersized for a wide receiver,” he said, “so I had to do something to stand out.”
That something was telling the cornerbacks covering him what route he was running.
“I was still able to beat them,” he said. “I always try and do something that will make me stand out because I’m not a big person. I feel I have to do something.”
The something he did in Virginia earned him the co-Most Valuable Player award for the combine, and more importantly earned him an invitation to the prestigious Blue-Grey All-American Bowl game set for Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, on Jan. 9.
The Sinclair family is in the process of trying to raise the funds necessary to get Khalif to the game. The financial goal, Powel said, is attainable, but has yet to be reached.
“We’re trying to get the funds together,” Powel said, “and we think we’re going to get there.”
Meanwhile, Sinclair will keep trying to make defenders miss – with a little extra incentive.
“I play for my cousin, Akai,” Sinclair said. “He’s autistic, and he loves to watch me play. So I do it for him.”
The long-range goal is obvious.
“I’m really motivated,” he said. “I want to keep going and play on television one day.
“I’d like to show off the talents of my teammates and my coaches.”
Recently, a Norristown football alum, and current Temple Owl, Kip Patton, and some of Temple’s coaches took in a Norristown game.
“(Patton) told me his coaches were very impressed,” Sinclair said.
More converts added to the list.

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