NCF On The Trail: Villanova Wildcats

Tom Rodrick commits to UConn

August, 8, 2013
Leicester High senior fullback/linebacker Tom Rodrick has verbally committed to UConn for the 2014 season, he announced Wednesday on Twitter.


The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Rodrick has been an integral part of the Wolverines these past two seasons, helping them capture a MIAA Division 5 Super Bowl title in 2011 and a return trip to the title game in 2012. This past season, he led the Wolverines in tackles (92) and led Central Mass. in sacks (14). Offensively, he recorded 437 yards and eight touchdowns from the fullback position. At camps this offseason, Rodrick has recorded 40-yard dash times as low as 4.57 seconds.

At the time of his commitment, Rodrick also had an offer from UMass, while Rhode Island and Villanova expressed varying degrees of interest. He visited UConn's practice on Wednesday, after which he made his pledge to the Huskies' 2014 recruiting class.

"It just felt right," Rodrick said. "I really liked practice, I like [head coach Paul] Pasqualoni and I like their linebackers coach [Jon Wholley], I like how the team is put together."

According to Wolverines head coach Tim Griffiths, the program has never sent a player to a Division 1 FBS program before Rodrick. To be the first, Rodrick said, "is an honor".

"We've got so many people who have gone through Leicester that we still talk about...We've had so many awesome players, it's an honor to be the first," Rodrick said.

At UConn, Rodrick will likely fit into a hybrid edge defensive player, playing mostly outside linebacker but potentially playing a five-technique defensive end on third downs. At Leicester, Rodrick rarely plays with his hand in the ground, but he would like to improve on his pass rush technique before arriving in Storrs.

"As a defensive end I'd like to put on a couple more pounds, up to 250," he said. "I have a few [moves], rip and swim, stuff like that, but I need to work on my hammer a little bit better. That was something I really liked about Coach Pasqualoni, he's coached so many great defensive ends."

Rodrick admits the decision between UConn and UMass was a tough one, as his brother currently attends the latter as a student.

"It was pretty big, to be honest," he said. "But with that said, UMass did a very good job recruiting me. They sent me 15 letters yesterday, from the whole coaching staff. ... It was definitely [a tough decision], especially because the coaches at UMass seemed like genuine guys. I've got nothing bad to say about UMass at all, it was actually kinda tough telling them I'm going to UConn."

Including resigns, the Huskies have 11 commitments for 2014.

OL Justin Herron says yes to Rutgers

May, 17, 2013
According to, Class of 2014 offensive lineman Justin Herron (Potomac, Md./Bullis) took an unofficial visit to Rutgers on Thursday, received an offer, and committed to the Scarlet Knights.

"I had an idea they were gonna offer me and I had an idea I was gonna commit today," he said. "I was talking to my high school coach about it, and he said it's a really good school and they have everything I want."

Boston College and Villanova also extended scholarship offers to the 6-foot-4, 275-pound prospect. Maryland showed interest.

Rutgers has 10 players on board for 2014. Herron is the third offensive lineman in the class.

OL Aaron Ruff says yes to Temple

April, 26, 2013
The Temple Owls picked up a commitment from 2014 offensive guard / tackle Aaron Ruff (Philadelphia/Imhotep Charter), multiple sources report.

Temple is Ruff's only scholarship offer at this time but other schools, including Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Villanova, expressed interest.

He is Temple's fifth pledge for 2014 and first along the offensive line.

Jayhawks nab Jersey receiver 

December, 14, 2012
High three-star wide receiver Ishmael Hyman (Holmdel, N.J./St. John Vianney) committed Friday to play in the Big 12 for head coach Charlie Weis and Kansas, multiple sources report.

Hyman, a 6-foot, 170-pound senior, made an official visit to campus last weekend. He was recruited by Kansas assistant Rob Ianello.

Boston College, UMass, Rutgers, Syracuse, Bowling Green, Temple, Villanova, James Madison, Old Dominion, Buffalo, Monmouth and Purdue were his other scholarship offers. Programs such as Georgia Tech, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Penn State showed interest.
The Yellow Jackets picked up commitments from Damon Mitchell (Egg Harbor, N.J./Cedar Creek), Antonio Messick (Fayetteville, Ga./Fayette County) and Tolando Cleveland (Powder Springs, Ga./Hillgrove) over the weekend, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The headliner of the group is Mitchell, a 6-foot-2, 199-pound dual-threat quarterback who picked Georgia Tech over scholarship offers from Arizona State, Boston College, UConn, Delaware, Iowa, James Madison, Old Dominion, Rutgers, Syracuse, Tulane, Central Florida, Villanova, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

“Georgia Tech was one of the first to offer at QB, and that really excited him early on,” Cedar Creek coach Tim Watson said. “Georgia Tech was on his shortlist, and when he got down there, he was blown away by the coaches, the campus and the academics. You could tell by his voice he was really feeling the place."

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Stacey Bedell (Mastic Beach, N.Y./Floyd), a high tw0-star running back prospect, has changed his commitment from FCS James Madison to UMass, reports. The Minutemen are in the process of jumping up to the FBS. He originally picked Villanova before James Madison.

Bedell, a 5-feet-10, 175-pounds, also received scholarship offers from New Hampshire, Army, Fordham and Stony Brook.

He's been one of the most productive players in the East Region since his junior year. In 2010, he was an all-state selection who rushed for 1,658 yards (8 average), scored 20 touchdowns, recorded over 100 tackles, and intercepted two passes. This season, Bedell rushed for 2,532 yards and scored 39 touchdowns.

His athleticism has also been on display along the combine circuit, where he posted a 4.56 40-yard dash, 4.38 20-yard shuttle and 34.5-inch vertical.

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Two-star safety Okezie Alozie (Bethlehem, Pa./Freedom) committed to play for the MAC Bulls Tuesday after making an official visit to campus, according to the Morning Call.

The 5-foot-11, 195-pound prospect also received scholarship offers from Army, Liberty, Navy, Stony Brook and Virginia Military. He took official visits to Villanova and Elon and planned to take another to Temple (no offer) this weekend.

Alozie rushed for 1,167 yards (7.0 average) and 18 touchdowns while also registering 60 tackles, five forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, two interceptions and two defensive touchdowns this season.

He's posted combine-verified figures including a 4.73 40-yard dash, 4.47 20-yard shuttle and impressive 34-inch vertical.

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Villanova has reached down into Florida for a commitment from two-star inside linebacker Cameron McCurry (Orange Park, Fla./Fleming Island), according to McCurry was on campus over the weekend for an official visit.

He selected the FCS Wildcats over scholarship offers from Harvard, Jacksonville, Penn and Wofford.

The 5-foot-11, 215-pound McCurry has posted some pretty impressive combine figures including a 4.84 40-yard dash, 4.35 20-yard shuttle and 30.5-inch vertical.

Villanova has six verbals.

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The Golden Flashes have received a verbal commitment from two-star wide receiver Tajae Sharpe (Piscataway, N.J.), reports.

Sharpe also had offers from Pittsburgh, Akron, Delaware, James Madison, Massachusetts, Temple, Towson and Villanova.

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James Madison has received a verbal commitment from Stacey Bedell (Mastic Beach, N.Y./William Floyd), ESPN's Roger Brown reports.

Army, Fordham, New Hampshire, Stony Brook and Villanova also offered Bedell.

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James Madison continue to build one of the top Football Championship Subdivision recruiting classes for 2012 with two more additions. reports that high two-star running back Stacey Bedell (Mastic Beach, N.Y./Floyd) and cornerback Xavier Crocker (Mechanicsville, Va./Hanover) have committed to play for the Dukes.

Bedell, a 5-foot-10, 175-pound prospect, also received scholarship offers from Army, New Hampshire, Villanova, Fordham and Stony Brook. He's posted a 4.56 40-yard dash, 4.38 20-yard shuttle and 34.5-inch vertical along the combine circuit.

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Andover's Coke commits to Brown 

November, 22, 2011
Andover running back/defensive back Andrew Coke confirmed to tonight that he has verbally committed to Brown University for the fall of 2012.

Coke, a member of ESPN Boston's inaugural MIAA All-State Team as a junior in 2010, was also considering a scholarship offer from Villanova as a safety.

"I've always been a running back, always been better at running back since I was a little kid," Coke said. "I wasn't used on defense until this year. Offense is just something I've always had my heart into, driven to the point that I'd like to play running back in college. I really love Brown, I love everything about it -- the campus, everything."

Headed into the Warriors' Thanksgiving matchup with rival Central Catholic, Coke has over 2,000 yards of total offense (including more than 1,200 on the ground and 400 receiving), with 15 touchdowns, and also has five interceptions on defense.

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Three-star prospect Bryan Osei (Abington, Pa.) is now set to play college ball for Temple, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. He originally picked Villanova in August.

"I re-evaluated things," he said. "I like that Temple's football program is on the rise and on the verge of doing big things. Also, it turns out that the school has a higher educational ranking for psychology [his intended major]."

The 6-foot-1, 220-pound senior also received scholarship offers from Kent State, Stony Brook and Old Dominion.

He's posted a 5.18 40-yard dash, 4.37 20-yard shuttle and 31.3-inch vertical on the combine circuit.

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