A Look back from 2016 with some updates.
With UConn having just played Boston College this past weekend, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at the rosters of the three FBS schools (Boston College, UConn and UMass) that play football in New England and see how many players from Massachusetts are on their rosters. Not too surprisingly, UMass has the most players from Massachusetts with a total of 31 while Boston College comes in with 22 and UConn has only 6 (Just for comparison Syracuse has 17 players and Buffalo has 35 players from the state of New York on their roster and Michigan has 51 players from the state of Michigan on their roster). So there are currently a total of 59 Massachusetts high school athletes playing at the FBS level in New England. We looked around at the rosters of other FBS schools that one would think kids from Massachusetts might attend and there really are not that many kids playing outside of New England. Two Mass kids are on the Syracuse roster (Shyheim Cullen and Otto Zaccarado), two at Northwestern (Joe Gaziano and Eric Olson), two at Michigan (Maurice Hurst and Sean McKeon), two at Penn State (Danny Dalton and Jonathan Thomas), three at Army (Ryan Grady III, Liam McCarthy and Colby Enegren), one at Clemson (Christian Wilkins) and two at Virginia (Joe Spaziani and Jack McDonald). Some of the other Northeast schools like Rutgers and Temple have no kids from Massachusetts on their rosters. The kids that did get recruited out of state are also some of the better overall players from Massachusetts and would include high end athletes such as DL Christian Wilkins at Clemson, DL Joe Gaziano at Northwestern and DL Maurice Hurst at Michigan. All of these are elite players who will likely play in the NFL. One of last year’s top recruits was TE Danny Dalton from Marshfield HS and he left New England to play down at Penn State. This year the exodus of top recruits is even worse with TE Alex Marshall heading south to Florida State, LB Blake Gallagher going to Northwestern, TE Noah Gray going to Duke, DB Ifeatu Melifonwu going to Syracuse, QB Austin Burton going to UCLA and OL Allan Rappleyea going to Wake Forest. As we discussed previously, it is also likely that WR/DB Coby Tippett (Towson) and RB/LB Kevin Mensah (UConn) could also play at a school outside of New England. There are a number of top kids that are staying in New England with RB AJ Dillon, QB EJ Perry and TE Hunter Long going to Boston College, QB Jordan McAfee heading to UConn, and LB Cole McCubrey and DE Jake Byczko going to UMass. Some of these kids leaving can be attributed to the BC, UConn and UMass programs all having down years and some can be attributed to kids who think they have a shot at the NFL wanting a bigger stage on which to show their talents. Clearly Alex Marshall will have a huge opportunity to stand out at Florida State as that program regularly competes for national championships. All this being said, however, the fact is pretty clear that the VAST majority of Massachusetts high school football players competing at the FBS level don’t go very far and largely stay to play their college ball in New England and especially in Massachusetts at Boston College and UMass. So if you are not an elite level football recruit in Massachusetts, and you want to play at the FBS level, you should focus on being recruited by Boston College or UMass. Obviously the overall number of FBS type talents in Massachusetts is small (usually less than 20 players per high school class) and the number of Massachusetts kids who will play at FCS schools in New England is far larger, with schools like Bryant having 26 players from Massachusetts on their roster and a school like Bentley having 46 Massachusetts players on their roster. So Massachusetts does produce FBS caliber football players but the numbers are small and most end up staying right here in Massachusetts for their college careers with some of the top talent leaving to play at bigger national programs.