ROCKINGHAM — Dalton Stroman is heading west to pursue his dreams of playing Division I college football.
The Richmond Senior High School rising senior wide receiver announced early Sunday morning via a video on Twitter that he has verbally committed to Appalachian State University.
He now becomes the fifth Raider football player in the class of 2021 to commit to the Division I circuit. Stroman joins Caleb Hood (UNC), Jakolbe Baldwin and Jaleel Davis (N.C. State) and CJ Tillman (Liberty).
“I would like to thank God for the knowledge, the ability and for the opportunity to play the game that I love,” Stroman read over highlights of himself in the video. “I would also like to thank my family, especially my father and mother for supporting and guiding me. I love you both.
“To all my teachers and coaches, thank you for your patience and pushing me every day to make me the student-athlete I am. You are appreciated,” he continued. “And a special thank you to Raider Nation for all your support.”
Stroman closed the video with a countdown sequence and said he would be joining App State, adding “go Mountaineers.”
A varsity starter for head coach Bryan Till since his sophomore season, Stroman has quietly climbed the ranks as one of the best wide receivers in the state.
He had over a dozen offers, mostly Division I, but narrowed his choices to App State, Wake Forest, Coastal Carolina, Duke and Liberty earlier this summer.
“I chose Appalachian State because it’s a good fit for me because I like the size of the campus,” Stroman explained. “I had a good connection with the coaches, it will give me the opportunity to reach my educational goals, as well as pursue a dream to play in the NFL.
“This opportunity is a blessing and a dream come true.
“The App coaching staff made me feel welcome and comfortable,” he added. “And the stadium reminded me of home, just bigger. I really like the small-town feel of Boone.”
Stroman first received a full-scholarship offer from the Mountaineers on Aug. 31, 2019, just two games into his junior season. Since then, App State’s head coach Shawn Clark and wide receivers coach Pat Washington have stayed in contact with him and worked on getting him to head to Boone.
Because of the pandemic, Stroman wasn’t able to go on an official tour of campus, but Clark and Patterson arranged a virtual tour that showed off the school’s campus, dorm life and football facilities. Stroman said he liked all of it and he’s excited to head to the mountains.
After such a long recruiting process that saw offers from other major programs like Duke University, Boston College and the University of Virginia, Stroman said he’s “a little relieved that it’s over now.”
Standing at 6-4 and 170 pounds, Stroman’s height and speed have seen him make several big plays the past two seasons for the Raiders. In his high school career, he’s made 50 catches for 1,023 yards and 12 receiving touchdowns.
Working on the outside for the Raiders, the future Mountaineer has averaged 20.5 yards per catch and 44.5 yards per game in his 23 career games. In 2019’s season opener against Clayton High School, Stroman hauled in his longest career touchdown catch, a 77-yard grab early in the first quarter.
Stroman has eclipsed the 100-yard mark twice, going for 118 yards against Clayton, but he had a career night a few weeks later against Cardinal Gibbons High School. In that non-conference game last fall, Stroman reeled in a career-high six receptions for 143 yards, while adding a touchdown in the big-time win.
His junior season was his breakout year, collecting 31 receptions for 716 yards (23.1 yards per catch). He was also first on the team with nine receiving touchdowns.
Current Richmond wide receivers coach Andy Shuler, who is both a Raider and App State football alumni, could hardly contain his excitement when he heard of Stroman’s decision.
“I am super excited for him,” Shuler commented, who played wide receiver at App from 2011-2014. “The dude has gotten a ton better the last two years. Dalton was in a little bit of a shell, but he’s really come out of it since the start of his sophomore year.
“At 6-4 with a lot of speed, he has the capabilities to become App State’s No. 1 guy,” he added. “Dalton has all the intangibles colleges are looking for, especially the fact he can make the big catch for you when the game in on the line. I’m excited to watch him play at my old stomping grounds.”
Voluntary football workouts got underway Thursday, the first time in almost five months since the Raiders were able to work out as a team. While the uncertainty looms of if and when the Raiders will play football this school year, Stroman is remaining hopeful.
“I’m just going to continue working out to get back in shape,” he said. “Hopefully we have a season this fall or spring. But it was very good to see all the guys again, and hopefully we’ll be working toward a state championship.
“I think the fact that we have five players going to play Division I football says a lot about our program,” he closed. “It shows we have really good coaches and a lot of talent in this year’s senior class.”
When Stroman reports to App State next summer, he’ll join Clark’s program after his first season as the Mountaineers’ head coach. In 2019, under former coach Eliah Drinkwitz, App State went 13-1 overall and picked up a 7-1 record in the Sun Belt Conference.
Clark came on to coach the Mountaineers to a 31-17 win over UAB in the New Orleans Bowl.