For football fans suffering New England Patriots and college football withdrawals, Wednesday brought a brief respite. Wednesday was the first day that college recruits could sign on to play with certain colleges, and the Wildcats announced the signing of 15 new players.
“I’m very excited about the 15 young men we have signed to a national letter of intent,” UNH head coach Sean McDonnell said via a press release. “These guys fit the needs of the University of New Hampshire football program. I think they’re very athletic and have great potential to carry on the UNH football tradition. It’s a great day for the Wildcats.”
The players announced on Wednesday represented a variety of linemen and skill positions, and hail from as far north as Ontario to as far south and west as Houston, Texas.
One of the most notable additions was Christian Lupoli, a 6-foot-2-inch, 190 pound quarterback prospect, who played football for Notre Dame High School in Connecticut—the same Notre Dame High School that this year’s starting quarterback Sean Goldrich and last year’s captain Rob Bowman played for.
“Christian fits the mold of the dual-threat quarterbacks we’ve had here at UNH,” McDonnell said. According to the Notre Dame website, Lupoli guided the Green Knights to a 23-13 record during his three full years as a starter, including back-to-back nine-win seasons as a junior and senior. He passed for 4,545 yards, adding another 1,789 on the ground, en route to 39 aerial touchdowns and 16 using his legs.
UNH added a trio of projected offensive linemen to protect its new quarterback prospect. At 6-feet-4-inches tall and 275 pounds, Sam Kowal will likely man one of the tackle positions for the Wildcats, while future classmates Colin Maguire and Matt Mascia will likely find spots in the interior offensive line.
Maguire is an intriguing prospect for UNH. At 6-foot-3-inches, he has the height to play either guard spot or center—and his versatility included playing all five offensive line spots, plus tight end, throughout high school. But at 255 pounds, Maguire’s potential will likely be tied to his ability to cultivate mass.
McDonnell and his staff have also added a number of quality defensive players up front, adding depth to a unit that entered this season as a question mark, but ended as one of the more effective pass-rushing units in the Colonial Athletic Association conference.
Jacob Bradshaw, of Damascus, Maryland, and Elijah Lewis, of New Castle, Delaware, will likely spend much of their time battling Mascia and Maguire in the interior trenches, while Brian Carter will provide an edge presence.
Behind the trio will be a pair of new linebacking prospects, DeUnte Chatman and Steven Harper. Both are listed at 6-feet tall, though Chatman is a bit bulkier than Harper at 220 pounds.
“This kid is a powerful linebacker,” McDonnell said of Chatman, who also saw time as a running back in prep school. “A strong, physical player who has a great nose for the football and can tackle well.” Harper, he said, runs well to the ball and is also a solid tackler.
The position that may have seen the most depth sign is the Wildcats’ secondary, which added Alonzo Addae, Evan Horn, Emmanuel Lacey and Prince Smith, Jr. Lacey, nicknamed “Pop” projects a safety, while Smith, Jr.’s length will likely have him cover wide receivers as a cornerback. Addae is a player that McDonnell feels can cover receivers or play deep as a safety, but the head coach’s highest praise was reserved for Horn.
“Evan Horn might be the best all-around athlete that we’ve recruited,” McDonnell said of the Lebanon, Pennsylvania native, who was league MVP for the Cedar Crest High School Falcons’ basketball team, as well as an accomplished javelin thrower. “His athleticism and his instincts, especially his football IQ, are very good.”
The Wildcats also added two specialty players on the offensive side of the ball. Jelani Greene made the Blue-Grey All America Bowl and, in addition to being an accomplished wide receiver and defensive back, returned five kicks and punts for touchdowns in his senior season.
The Wildcats’ final addition is Nick Lorden, a local wide receiver prospect from Milford, New Hampshire, who played his football at Bishop Guertin. Lorden caught 41 passes for 840 yards as a senior, with 17 touchdowns, and was also the 2015 NHIAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships’ runner-up in the high jump.
For more information about the incoming class of Wildcat recruits, visit unhwildcats.com.