Hockey is very different from other sports as it looks at recruits based on their year of birth and not based on their class year. This is largely due to prospects often playing at multiple places before ever entering college. Some will play at their public or private high school and others will play for leagues outside of high school run by private club teams with kids all looking for that best route to earning a college scholarship. Players often find their way to a school in the New England Prep School ranks, to a club team in the United States Premier Hockey League and eventually many will play in the USHL before ever stepping foot on a college campus.
- Nolan Hayes – Thayer Academy – D – A very mobile defenseman who is competing at a high level as a freshman. Hayes is one of the top defenseman in the country for his birth year and should contribute at a high level college program. http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=201744
- Philip Tresca – Rivers – F – A small but elite skating forward who previously played at St. Sebastian’s but followed in his brother’s footsteps to now play at Rivers. Played for the national Boston Jr. Eagles team and his sister is a Harvard hockey commit. http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=201753
- Gavin Fitzpatrick – Buckingham, Browne and Nichols – G – An extremely high end goalie prospect, Fitzpatrick is regarded as a can’t miss prospect. Fitzpatrick played last year as an eighth grader and should see more playing time in net as a freshman. Fitzpatrick’s time in Cambridge could be short lived as he is on the short list for the US National Development team. http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=445522
- Drew Commesso – St. Sebastian’s – G – Commesso is the second elite Massachusetts goaltender in the 2002 class and is competing for playing time as a freshman at St. Sebastian’s this season. Commesso recently committed to play at the University of New Hampshire and is another candidate for the US National Development team. http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=201741
- Matt Beniers – South Shore Kings – C – Beniers is a left shot center who plays well and excels due to his skating ability. Beniers is also very good at carrying the puck and distributing it in the offensive zone. Beniers older brother Bobby plays for Milton Academy so he may end up playing there in the future. http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=201739
In recent memory Maurice Hurst Jr. is one of the biggest college football names to come out of the Bay State as he played for legendary coach Charlie Stevenson at Xaverian Brothers High School. Hurst excelled on the football field as a junior at Xaverian Brothers and many colleges coaches took notice. Hurst had numerous schools to choose from and he ultimately chose to attend the University of Michigan to further his academic and athletic career. Hurst has received a “first round” grade by Pro Football Focus and is considered to be one of the most impactful interior defensive linemen in the country but it was not certain where he would go if he entered this year’s NFL Draft. Hurst just announced today that he will return to Michigan as a fifth year senior (he will pursue a Master’s degree in either social work or business) and with increased playing time next season he will look to lock up being a top round pick in next year’s NFL Draft. Next season at Michigan, Hurst will be on the field for more snaps (with the likely early departure of Chris Wormley) and he will play alongside another elite defensive tackle in phenom Rashan Gary. More playing time with other top talent should definitely help his overall draft prospects. Hurst is a tremendous talent at 6′-2″ and 282 pounds and he has elite speed and quickness. He even carried the ball as a featured running back while at Xaverian Brothers High School. (http://www.hudl.com/video/3/336860/5721a96e0dcb0d12f830650c). With such an athletic skill set Hurst will, without a doubt, play on Sundays in the NFL but that will have to wait a year as he has decided to return to Michigan and this will allow him to compete for a National Championship and get a Master’s degree. Hurst’s father also played in the NFL for a number of years and Hurst will look to become the second pro athlete from the Xaverian Brothers HS Class of 2013 as he would join right-handed pitcher Austin DeCarr who signed a million dollar contract with the New York Yankees upon graduating from the school in June 2013.
Bobby Denaro – Nashoba Regional HS – Denaro picked up his first offer from power five school Iowa State. A two way tackle, Denaro is very physical in the trenches often driving and pancaking his defenders. Denaro has also received interest from other schools including U Mass and you could see the Minuetmen deliver his next offer.
Matt Donovan – Worcester Academy / Deerfield Academy – Donovan is a physical offensive tackle who played in the NEPSAC A Division at Deerfield this year and recently picked up his first offer from Fordham. Donovan could see some more FCS offers come his way in the next few weeks.
Sam Laurent – Xaverian Brothers HS – Laurent waited his turn to see the field at Xaverian and made the most of it in his senior season and a lot of college coaches have taken notice. Laurent has picked up recent offers from Holy Cross, U Conn, Colgate, Dartmouth and Columbia. Laurent might not be done receiving offers as Brown, CCSU, Sacred Heart and other schools have shown interest.
Spencer Kendall – Lexington HS – Kendall is a lanky 6’5″ wide receiver and basketball forward who recently committed to Hamilton to play basketball at the next level in the NESCAC league.
Carlins Platel – Everett HS – Platel led the Everett defensive backfield and helped the Tide win the Division 1 state title. Platel recently received an offer from the University of Rhode Island after his stellar senior season.
Marvens Fedna – Everett HS – The Everett running back played a key roll in the Tide’s offense as one of their featured backs. Just like his teammate Carlins Platel, Fedna won a state championship and subsequently has picked up an offer from the University of Rhode Island.
The recent evolution of the tight end position in football largely has its roots in Massachusetts and the state has recently been producing numerous top tight end high school prospects with many of them finding their way to top college programs. Starting around 2009 Massachusetts began producing a number of great tight ends and this would be about a year before the New England Patriots revolutionized the tight end in the NFL as they drafted athletic playmakers like Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. The Patriots revolutionized a position that was traditionally used almost exclusively for blocking by focusing in on the few athletic tight ends that had the physicality to block but could also run routes and catch balls more in the role of an additional wide receiver. The key was to find the handful of players that could work in both roles and this has ultimately led to the tight end position being filled by some of the best athletes on the field at all levels of football. For those reading this thinking about Mark Bavaro as being the first tight end in this mold, it should be noted that he played his football at Danvers High School in Massachusetts before going off to Notre Dame and a great professional career (his son Lucas Bavaro went to St. John’s Prep and just finished his senior season as a defensive back at Dartmouth College). In 2009 Arthur Lynch of Dartmouth, Mass was a 4 star tight end who chose Georgia over several top programs and since that time Massachusetts has become a great place to find versatile tight end playmakers. Blake Barker became the next big name with a very interesting case as he held offers from elite programs such as Florida where Urban Meyer was recruiting him but he instead chose to commit to Stanford before de-committing and going to Harvard. This sent a shockwave through college recruiting as a top flight 4 star recruit chose an Ivy League school education over top FBS football offers. Barker started a trend with some very good Mass tight ends that ended up choosing an elite education over Division 1 FBS football.
In 2011 Massachusetts was continuing with very good tight end prospects as Brian Miller was a four star recruit out of Andover and chose BC over several elite Division 1 schools. The best tight end to come out of Mass up to this point was Richard Rogers who played at St. John’s Shrewsbury before going to play college football at his father’s alma-mater Cal Berkeley. Rodgers currently plays for the Green Bay Packers in the NFL. By 2013 Brendan O’Neill chose to play at Wake Forest and helped keep the BB&N pipeline of TEs going. In 2015 the tight end craze was in full effect as Chris Garrison of Lawrence Academy and Jake Burt of St. John’s Prep both chose to play at Boston College. Xaverian Brothers defensive end Joe Gaziano was a key player in the Xaverian offense as an athletic tight end who could cause defenses match-up problems and he has gone on to play very well on the defensive side of the ball at Northwestern.
In 2016 we saw a huge increase in interest for tight ends as Danny Dalton, a one time BC commit, received an offer from Nick Saban and Alabama. Dalton re-opened his recruitment before eventually deciding to become a Penn State Nittany Lion in Happy Valley. Sean McKeon is another tight end who blew up and is part of the Michigan offense where he is contributing as a freshman at a top 5 program. 2017 is another huge year for Mass tight ends as blue chip Alexander Marshall is going to Florida State while he also held offers from Alabama, Florida and Ohio State. Noah Gray is another prospect with very high potential as he is a great athlete and up until this season had been playing QB for Leominster and will transition to a TE/WR at Duke next year. Cal Flanders and AJ Ryan followed in the footsteps of Joe Gaziano at Xaverian Brothers by playing TE on offense but will likely translate to only playing defense at the next level. Jake Byczko is a U Conn defensive end commit who played tight end in high school at Lawrence Academy. Ryan Reagan is another great player who turned down multiple Division 1 offers to play at Harvard next year and should be able to play TE/WR at a very high level in the Ivy League. Sasha Hoban was the first Newton South Lion offered by Boston College (prior to Austin Burton being offered by BC and Burton has since committed to UCLA) and Hoban ultimately turned down this Power 5 offer to instead play at Yale as a tight end next season. Hunter Long is a tight end from Exeter who then did a post-grad year at Deerfield and has accepted an offer to play at Boston College. Adam Buchanan is another BB&N tight end who turned down offers from multiple schools to accept an offer to play at Princeton next year. Declan Burt of St. John’s Prep will most likely play football somewhere next year as he holds offers from Columbia and Bryant and will follow in his brother Jake’s footsteps as a college tight end. Rounding out the 2017 tight ends is Noble’s Pete Kendall who turned down an FBS offer to go and play at U Penn next season. The class of 2018 Is already looking like it will be another big year for local tight ends as Pat Freiermuth of the Brooks School is already committed to Penn State, BB&N’s Jay Symonds is drawing a lot of interest from schools and also Hunter Gorgas of St. John’s Shrewsbury looks like another solid tight end prospect. Massachusetts has quietly helped revolutionize the tight end position at all levels of football and in doing so finds itself producing numerous top prospects at the position that are finding great success in high school, college and in the NFL.
We thought it would be very interesting to look at the recruiting process of four of the top wide receiver prospects in the state and see how each has played out. All four are very talented and similar type players yet two are receiving multiple D1 scholarship offers while two others have not received any that we know of. Let’s take a look at each player’s top line information:
Spencer Kendall (2017) – Lexington HS – 6’5″ and 175 pounds – This season he had 31 receptions for 640 yards and 11 TDs (and 4 interceptions on defense). Do yourself a favor and watch this Hudl for the first play on his tape where Kendall makes an unreal one-handed interception catch.
Jake Bobo – Belmont Hill HS (2018) – 6’4″ and 185 pounds – In nine games he had 31 Receptions for 632 yards and 10 TDs.
Sam Laurent (2017) – Xaverian Brothers HS – 6’3″ and 175 pounds – Missed four games due to injury but he had 9 catches for 255 yards and 2 TDs (statistics as of November 21, 2016).
Daniel Rymer (2017) – Cambridge Rindge & Latin HS – 6’5″ and 210 pounds – 4 TDs (season statistics could not be located).
All four of the players listed above are tall wide receivers that were very productive on the field this season but it has been Bobo (a 2018 recruit) and Laurent who have been receiving more interest from colleges. Bobo has offers in hand from Boston College, Wake Forest, Brown and Duke while Laurent has picked up recent offers from U Conn, Columbia, Holy Cross and Colgate. Kendall and Rymer, who are just as productive when on the field, have not received offers that we are aware of as of this posting (they are both also 2017 basketball prospects so they may be interested in pursuing that route to college as well). We have included links to each of the player’s Hudls for viewers to watch their highlights from this past football season. Forty-yard dash times, which are a big factor in recruitment, can not be truly verified from afar but you can get a feel for the game speed of each player by watching their Hudl tape (we actually saw three play in person). It should also be noted that Bobo plays at a private school in the ISL, Laurent plays at a private school in the MIAA Catholic Conference and Kendall and Rymer both play at their public high schools. It is also hard to judge if public school prospects are more overlooked and if playing multiple sports hurts their chance of being recruited for football. Does playing at particular private schools such as Belmont Hill or Xaverian provide more exposure and better name recognition than a player gets playing at a public high school? Recruiting services and certain high school coaches also have connections to colleges that help get their players noticed and recruited. That being said, we find it striking that excellent athletes and top wide receivers such as Kendall and Rymer have not been offered college scholarships to date. Things could very easily change in short order but it will be interesting to see how this all shakes out for four of the top wide receiver prospects in the state.
The senior class at D1 Super Bowl Champion Everett High School went out on top on the football field and now many of these seniors are seeing a flurry of scholarship offers from college coaches. Just today defensive back Carlins Platel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUb8KQk8j24) and running back Marvens Fedna (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3gCOgqxUow) announced that they had received offers from the University of Rhode Island. Their teammate and defensive tackle Duval Paul (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nw640LpndY4&t=38s) has received recent offers from Lafayette and the University of Albany and QB Jordan McAffee (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evNQiLvat-Y&t=57s)is a long-standing U Conn commit. Keep an eye on senior defensive end Gerell Boyce (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9B9S1tLwzLM) and senior TE/WR Theo Zidor (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZwUkNGlGWI&t=437s) as two other seniors who should get looks from schools as the recruiting season heats up. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see some of Everett’s very talented underclassmen also receive college interest this off-season.