Q&A With Myer Krah ’16

By Gary Lambrecht

With Navy’s football season in front of us, Myer Krah ’16 has been eagerly anticipating his chance to be a key contributor to the Mids this fall. Krah, who lettered the past two years as a productive special teams performer and backup cornerback, was moved to outside linebacker last spring. The son of Joanna Smith and Myer Krah—a former player on the Liberian national soccer team who fled his native, war-ravaged country years ago and immigrated to America—Krah is from Durham, NC, where he continues to leave a positive mark. After being a senior co-captain on the Hillside High School team that won a state championship in 2010, Krah and a former teammate, James Madison quarterback Vad Lee, created the All-In Scholarship Fund to assist Hillside graduates. Writer Gary Lambrecht recently chatted with Krah.

Q: What is the biggest adjustment you have had to make with your move from cornerback to linebacker?

A: The idea of playing the run first instead of the pass first is strange to me. Even though I got a chance to play linebacker last year a bit and played it throughout the spring, it still felt new coming into camp. Instead of covering a wide receiver a lot, you’re looking out for a 300-pound [blocker] coming after you.

Q: Is that a thought that causes serious concern?

A: I love being down in the trenches and getting physical with that type of attitude. I played a lot of linebacker in high school. I’m excited to get back in there, with the couple of pounds I’ve put on. I already feel like a more well-rounded player.

Q: How much weight did you put on?

A: I used to come into camp weighing between 190 and 195. This year, I came in at about 212. This feels good to me. I’m going to enjoy being able to use my strength as well as my speed.

Q: You come from a large family with its share of athletes, starting with your father, who played for the Liberian national soccer team before immigrating to America. Have the two of you discussed the terrible civil war that he fled before coming to the States?

A: The war is a touchy subject. There are some questions I just don’t ask yet, although the more I study and read up on the history of Liberia, the more I will slowly get to ask questions about the people I never got to meet. My Dad lost brothers and sisters and a parent in the war. I remember when I was about eight—I didn’t know what was going on—we were sitting in the kitchen eating dinner. My Dad was standing at the counter staring into space, and he was crying. I found out from my Mom that he was crying tears of happiness, because he was finally able to bring some of his family over here.

Q: What was it like growing up in Durham?

A: When you’re around Duke, Durham looks really good. As soon as you step out from there, it changes. You go across the street near North Carolina Central [University], and there are [housing] projects, a lot of rough areas around there. It’s nothing like [nearby] Chapel Hill. My neighborhood wasn’t too bad. There were an enormous amount of children. Some of them were bad. Some are in jail now. I probably never saw how bad things might have been.

Q: Can you appreciate how your parents dealt with some of those conditions?

A: My family did a really good job of making sure we were disciplined. We couldn’t go outside until the house was clean and our homework was done, and we had to be home before the street lights went on. Sports became a really big thing for all of us. Besides my three siblings, I had a big family. I see a lot of my friends as brothers and sisters. We were the one house on the block where the doors didn’t lock. So many kids came in and out. My Mom and Dad gave lots of loving comfort—something to eat, money for the grocery store if they had it, or just a place to hang out. They’ve always been giving people.

Q: Does their example help to explain the effort by you and Vad Lee to create the All-In Scholarship Fund? How did you guys come up with the idea?

A: My parents have always been all about helping people, and I’m right there with them. Vad and I competed against each other all through Pop Warner [football] and middle school. In high school, we really clicked. When I was at NAPS and he was at Georgia Tech, we probably talked nearly every day. We got so much out of Hillside that we started thinking about a lot of the guys whom we played with that were as good or better than us, but they weren’t prepared like we were for college. How could we help them to do that?

Q: As two college football players, how did you go about setting up the fund?

A: At first, we just thought about saving $5 or $10 a month to get started. But after we asked some people in our community to contribute, they gave $10 here, $20 there. We started getting a lot of responses through social media, which is awesome. All of a sudden, we’re up to $500, and we’re thinking, whoa, that’s a lot of money! We also came up with this idea to have a fundraising event [All-In Reunion] on Mother’s Day weekend in Durham, and it got up to $1,000, then $2,000. The event is getting larger. We’re bringing in DJs and food trucks now. Whatever money is left [after expenses] goes into the fund.

Q: How many students have benefitted from All-In?

A: We awarded our first in 2013 to Quianti Cherry. He used a $500 scholarship to attend Elizabeth City State University. It doubled to $1,000 the next year. This year, we hit $2,000 and decided to split it into two, $1,000 scholarships. We just want it to keep growing.

Q: You obviously got a lot out of your time at Hillside. Did winning the state championship as a senior with Vad help to inspire this idea?

A: I think it definitely helped to make us want to give something back. It still feels like it happened yesterday. Our high school hadn’t won a state title since 1943. We went undefeated that season. That felt powerful.

 

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