Leominster High head football coach Dave Palazzi told ESPNBoston.com tonight that Class of 2014 free safety Jarell Addo received his first Division 1 scholarship offer today, from UMass.
The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Addo, a two-way athlete for the two-time Division 1 Central Super Bowl champion Blue Devils, was offered a scholarship by the Minutemen on an unofficial visit to the Amherst campus today. In his first full season of varsity action last fall, he developed a reputation as a violent downhill player who was among the region's hardest hitters.
He has received minimal Division 1 interest so far, and perhaps that is due in part to his 40-yard dash time, which has generally measured in the 4.7-4.8 range this spring. But there are also several measurables that have some college coaches believing he could be a hidden gem. At the Nike SPARQ combine last month in New York, Addo measured a 41.8-inch vertical leap and a 4.28-second 20-yard shuttle time.
Addo also lines up as a flex tight end on offense, but generally projects as a safety at the next level.
"He's a great tackler, he drives through players," Palazzi said. "That’s on his film. You want to see the difference between a Division 1 prospect and a kid that's not a Division 1 prospect, just watch the way he arrives at tackling. He's only been playing the position for one year...his 41-inch vertical jump definitely helps, that’s unbelievable.
"He's smart. The biggest thing Jarell is, he is coachable, asks questions, takes it in, goes out and does it 110 percent. Whether he's making the right decision or the wrong decision, he's gonna finish strong. He's not one of those in-between players that's decisive...the biggest thing is his intelligence."
Over the weekend, Addo told ESPNBoston.com he also plans on attending camps this summer at Yale and Boston College.
It's worth noting UMass historically has had a solid recruiting pipeline with the Blue Devils program, going back decades. Palazzi graduated in 1989 as the school's all-time leader in passing yards, a record since broken twice. Leominster's defensive line coach, Kevin Murphy, played fullback and defensive line for the Minutemen -- and roomed with Palazzi -- before injuries cut his career short. The Blue Devils' best export in recent years, running back Jonathan Hernandez, walked-on at UMass and ran for nearly 1,100 yards in 2011.