Boston High School: Todd Stafford

Recruiting Notes: Prep's Bavaro set for Dartmouth

November, 23, 2012
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Lucas Bavaro called it the toughest decision he's ever made, but in the days leading up to the deadline the choice became clear: He was going to play college football at Dartmouth.

Recruiting NotebookBavaro, a senior at St. John's Prep, received an offer from Dartmouth after attending a football camp there last summer. An offer from Colgate was also on the table, but the Dartmouth coaches asked Bavaro to give them a decision no later than early November.

“It really came down to Colgate and Dartmouth,” Bavaro said. “They wanted me to go early decision, so I think they needed an answer by November 5, but I didn't even need the deadline. Every day I became more and more confident with my decision.”

Bavaro, who plays tight end and an outside linebacker/strong safety hybrid position for St. John's Prep, committed to the Big Green earlier this month. He will play safety in college.

Several other Ivy League schools showed interest in Bavaro, as did FBS schools like Boston College and Connecticut. Bavaro said BC asked him to attend prep school for a year before enrolling, but he had no interest in going that route. He said Ivy League football – and an Ivy League education – had a special appeal.

“My dad [former NFL tight end Mark Bavaro] said football is not forever,” Bavaro said. “I was also thinking about life after football.”

Bavaro, an 18-year-old Boxford resident, will join former Everett High School quarterback Jonathan DiBiaso at Dartmouth next season. DiBiaso is currently attending Phillips Exeter Academy.

“When [Dartmouth] made the offer I was ecstatic,” Bavaro said. “Location was one of the factors. It's like a six-hour ride to Colgate. Dartmouth is about two hours.

“I thought about this decision every day. It feels great to get it over with.”

PINKERTON'S RISING STAR
Pinkerton Academy (Derry, N.H.) running back Manny Latimore will likely be the top-rated recruit in New Hampshire next season.

Latimore ran for 177 yards and scored two touchdowns – one on a 78-yard punt return – in Saturday's 31-21 loss to Exeter in New Hampshire's Division I championship game. Latimore rushed for 1,477 yards and 27 touchdowns during his junior season.

Latimore also starts in the defensive backfield for a Pinkerton team that has reached the Division I title game in each of the last three seasons.

“I think I've been around this long enough to know if a kid can play in college, and football is in Manny's future,” Pinkerton Academy coach Brian O'Reilly said. “I think he'll be a running back. He can run inside and he can run outside. He can also catch the ball.”

Matt Jordan (UMass), Ryan Mihalko (Notre Dame) and Joe Segreti (Holy Cross) are among the Pinkerton Academy running backs who have played in college.

“Manny has track speed and he has football speed,” O'Reilly said. “Sometimes that track speed doesn't always translate. A lot will depend on what camps he attends this summer.”

QUARTERBACK OPTIONS
As reported on ESPN Boston earlier this week, Tabor Academy quarterback Miles Wright received a scholarship offer from UMass last weekend.

Wright transferred to Tabor Academy from Boston Latin, and is repeating his junior year. UMass has one QB in its current recruiting class: Todd Stafford of The Brunswick School in Greenwich, Conn. Stafford, a three-star recruit, committed in March.

Wright is a dual-threat quarterback who scored 23 touchdowns (12 passing) in eight games for Tabor this season.

Information regarding high school or prep school players in New England can be sent to Roger Brown at rbrown@nhfootballreport.com.

Stafford: UMass 'a perfect fit for me'

March, 19, 2012
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The University of Massachusetts football program has never landed a recruit like quarterback Todd Stafford before.

When Stafford told UMass coach Charley Molnar that he wanted to be a Minuteman last Thursday he became the first player to commit to UMass during his junior season in high school.

“I really liked the coaching staff and the more I researched UMass the more I liked it,” Stafford said. “My dad grew up in Massachusetts [Somerset] and he likes it there. I really felt like it was a perfect fit for me.”

Stafford, who plays for the Brunswick School in Greenwich, Conn., received a scholarship offer from UMass after he attended a UMass junior day in February. He also received early interest from Boston College, Duke and Miami, but UMass was his only offer.

Stafford is a pro-style quarterback with good size (6-foot-6, 245 pounds), but suffered season-ending knee injuries during his sophomore and junior seasons. He missed almost all of the 2011 season after being injured during the second quarter of Brunswick's opener against Taft.

“I was planting and got my foot stuck in the turf, then I got hit,” Stafford explained. “The rehab went well. The doctor told me my knees right now are as strong as they've ever been.

“I'm more of a drop-back quarterback. I prefer to throw it more than run it. Their style of offense fits me pretty well.”

Stafford said he first heard from UMass about two months after his junior season. The UMass coaches were watching film of Brunswick wide receiver Donqutae Robinson and saw something from Stafford's sophomore season that they liked.

“I had some solid film from my sophomore year,” Stafford said. “They told me they liked what they saw. They were debating about offering me because of the injuries, but they made the offer at the first junior day. I've been thinking about UMass since then.”

UMass is transitioning from the FCS level (Colonial Athletic Association) to the FBS (Mid-American Conference). The Minutemen will begin play in the MAC this year.

Stafford, who also plays lacrosse for Brunswick, said he would have committed to UMass even if the program wasn't moving to the MAC.

“If they had remained at the I-AA level (FCS) the appeal would have still been there,” he said. “It just seemed like the right place for me.

“I'm glad I made the decision early. Now I don't have to go to all of those one-day camps. I can focus on my team.”

UMass making splash in NE recruiting

March, 16, 2012
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Shortly after University of Massachusetts football coach Charley Molnar secured his first recruiting class in February, he talked about how he wanted New England players to form the foundation of his program. Apparently that was more than just talk.

UMass has clearly made New England –- and Massachusetts in particular –- the focus of much of its recruiting efforts.

BC High offensive lineman Jack McDonald, Everett offensive lineman John Montelus, Xaverian defensive lineman Maurice Hurst Jr., Tabor Academy defensive lineman Tevin Montgomery, BB&N tight end Brendan O'Neil and Catholic Memorial defensive end Peter Ngobidi have each received a scholarship offer from UMass, which held two junior days last month.

In addition, Todd Stafford, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound quarterback from the Brunswick School in Greenwich, Conn., committed to UMass on Thursday. He became UMass' first commitment from the class of 2013.

“I went to the first junior day and [Molnar] said with the move to the MAC they want to start with the local kids,” McDonald said. “He talked about how good the talent is around here, and they want to bring in as many local kids as they can.”

UMass has been competing at the FCS level in the Colonial Athletic Association, but will move up to the FBS level when it begins play in the MAC next season. The Minutemen won't play on campus, but will use Gillette Stadium as their home field.

“It's a little bit of a drive from the campus, but I got to play at Gillette in last year's Super Bowl and it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” McDonald said. “They'll have their own locker room there. I think the positives will outweigh the negatives.”

McDonald also has offers from Boston College and Maryland, and has received significant interest from Duke and Temple.

“Right now I'm considering everything,” he said.

Montelus and Hurst each have at least 10 Division 1 scholarship offers. Hurst received his offer from UMass while at one of the junior days last month.

“I'll definitely consider UMass,” Hurst said. “I really like the coaching staff and a lot of Mass. kids seem to be going there.”

There were six players from New England in Molnar's first recruiting class: wide receiver Khary Bailey Smith (Weymouth), tight end Nevin Cyr (Pelham, N.H.), quarterback A.J. Doyle (Lakeville), linebacker Vondell Langston (Everett), linebacker John Robinson (Springfield) and linebacker Jovan Santos-Knox (Middletown, Conn.).

Wide receiver Derek Beck, a New Jersey native who played at Bridgton Academy in North Bridgton, Maine, signed with UMass as well.

Jake Kennedy, who is perhaps the best offensive lineman from New Hampshire in the Class of 2013, also has a UMass offer. Kennedy plays for Souhegan High School in Amherst.

Kennedy received his offer from UMass defensive line coach Dave Sollazzo earlier this week. He's also receiving interest from Boston College, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Brown and Harvard.

Kennedy said UMass is a school he'll strongly consider.

“Most definitely,” he said. “I could see myself there.”

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