The inclement weather Wednesday delayed signing day festivities but it didn’t prevent intentions from reaching their destinations.
Ansonia running back Arkeel Newsome and West Haven running back Ervin Philips signed a national letter of intent to play football at UConn and Syracuse, respectively, Wednesday.
They were two of Connecticut’s most heralded signees.
Other big recruits included St. Joseph’s offensive lineman Steve Hashemi, who signed with UConn, Norwich Free Academy back Marcus Outlow, who signed with Boston College and Hillhouse’s Harold Cooper, who signed with Rhode Island.
Newsome rushed for 10,672 yards, scored 187 total touchdowns and tallied 1,162 points in his career, all-state records. Newsome was named the Register’s state most valuable player as a senior and led the Chargers to three straight state titles and 43 consecutive victories.
“He’s a great player, he brings so many intangibles to the table,” Ansonia coach Tom Brockett said. “First off, he’s going up there expecting to win football games; he’s a kid who’s won the last 43 games he’s played in. They’re getting a kid with a big-play ability.”
The 5-foot-8, 181-pound Newsome is the ninth player in national high school football history, and first in Connecticut, to go over 10,000 yards for his career. His career touchdown total ranks third all-time nationally.
“I’m not concerned about his size he’s a winner,” UConn coach Bob Diaco said at his press conference. “We’re going to ask him to do things that suit his traits. We really pride ourselves in not asking players to do things that we know they can’t already do but instead focusing on what they can do . He’s not the tallest guy in the world but he has stature. He has nice broad shoulders and big legs. This is not a diminutive guy. There are definitely things he could do that are better than the rest.”
Newsome kept his commitment to play at UConn despite a coaching change at the university this past season. Paul Pasqualoni, who recruited Newsome, was fired after starting the season at 0-4. T.J. Weist was named interim coach for the remainder of the season, in which the Huskies finished at 3-9. Diaco was then introduced as the new UConn head coach in December.
“With the coaching changes, there was a little of the unknown, a little bit of anxiety,” Brockett said. “But he (Newsome) met coach Diaco and (Newsome) really liked him.”
A signing day ceremony at Ansonia was postponed Wednesday and will now take place on Tuesday.
“He’s gotten so many accolades, but it’s a college scholarship,” Brockett said. “It’s still something special, you want to celebrate it.”
With schools closed on Wednesday, Brockett said Newsome signed his letter at home and then sent the letter via fax from a local office supply store. West Haven coach Ed McCarthy said Philips did the same.
Philips had his official visit to Syracuse this past weekend. He was in attendance at the Carrier Dome to watch the Orange men’s team defeat Duke in overtime on Saturday.
Philips rushed 257 times for 1,812 yards and finished with 35 total touchdowns in his senior year. Philips has career totals of 4,596 rushing yards, 88 touchdowns and 6,182 total yards, all school records.
“I sincerely think his best football is ahead of him,” McCarthy said. “I think he is going to be a very good college football player.”
West Haven will have a signing day ceremony for Philips on Thursday.
In his press conference, Syracuse coach Scott Shafer said his team’s stocked roster of tailbacks meant the Orange’s options were limited.
“These (recruits) knew we had kids stockpiled who could play,” he said. “So we needed a dynamic individual and we’d only take one. We needed a kid who could play both tailback and even get out and play slot and give us a chance to catch the ball out of the backfield. I think we found that guy.”
Cooper, who finished his career with 645 carries for 6,691 yards and 99 touchdowns, signed his letter of intent to play at Rhode Island Wednesday. A signing day ceremony for him and several other New Haven athletes will also take place on Thursday.
Outlow, a 6-foot, 190-pound tailback who led NFA to the Class LL final as a junior, signed with Boston College along with 6-0, 215-pound back Jon Hillman from St. Peter’s Prep (N.J.).
“We’re talking about two big-time backs and I anticipate them playing right away,” Boston College coach Steve Addazio said. “I told them we’ll get them in, get them playing, and build it for the future. …These guys are coming in to carry that rock and they’ll be able to do that.”
Sean Patrick Bowley contributed to this report
Connecticut NCAA FBS and FCS National Signing Day List
(Links provided for each player’s Hudl highlight reels)
Division I FBS signees
- Ervin Philips, RB, West Haven — Syracuse
- Marcus Outlow, RB, NFA — Boston College
- Arkeel Newsome, RB, Ansonia — UConn
- Steve Hashemi, OL, St. Joseph — UConn
- Trey Rutherford, OL, Kent School* — UConn
- Brice McAllister*, RB, Suffield Academy — UConn
- Jacob Largay, DE, Granby Memorial — UMass
- Jack Wynne, DE, Greenwich — UMass
- Norvel Stewart, DB, Bloomfield — UMass
- Da’Sean Downey, DE, Canterbury* — UMass
- Zach Maxwell, LB, Southington — Army
- Jaelin Robinson, OL, Wilbur Cross — Temple
- Alec Keener*, DE, Cheshire Academy* — Navy
- Allen Dawson, DB, Cheshire Academy* — Boston College
- Connor Dintino, DT, Choate* — Pitt
- Josh Smiley, LB, Pomfret School* — UMass
- Dre Boggs, Avon Old Farms* — Rutgers
- Ben Compton, DL, Monroe JC (N.Y.) / Windsor — Northern Illinois
- Kyle Jordan, RB, Hyde School*/McMahon — Central Connecticut State
Division I FCS signees
- Nick Crowle, LB, Fairfield Prep — Yale
- Stephen Barmore, QB, Southington — Yale
- Cal Daniels, TE, Bethel — Stony Brook
- Tony Fox, DT, Fairfield Prep — Fordham
- Connor Buck, DE, New Canaan — Colgate
- Harold Cooper, RB, Hillhouse — Rhode Island
- Matt Houpert, DE, Hall — Georgetown
- Dom Scarangella, OL, Newtown — Georgetown
- Pete Mestre, OL, St. Joseph — Byrant
- Cooper Gold, RB, Newtown — Bryant
- Michael Root, LB, New Canaan — Lafayette
- Michael Donnelly, New Canaan — Lafayette
- T.J. Linta*, QB, Hamden Hall — Brown
- Matthew Torrey, TE, Cheshire Academy* — New Hampshire
- Michael Whalen, WR, Hamden Hall* — Sacred Heart
- Brad Westmark, QB, Brookfield — Marist
- Tim Maher, QB/DB, Law — Wagner
- Nick Cascione, QB, New Canaan – Sacred Heart
- Jack Lago, DB, Newtown — Wagner
- Vincent Sansone, DB, Phillips Exeter Academy*/ Cheshire HS — Fordham
- Cole Harris, LB, New Canaan — Fordham
- Christian Montano, OT/DT, Hamden Hall* — Brown
- Mike McNally, P/K, Cromwell — Sacred Heart
- Joe Carbone, QB, Xavier — Stony Brook
- Joe Fraccaroli, OL, Wilton — Marist
- Ian Melvin, OL/DL, Bethel — Cornell
- Curtis Wickline, OL, Holy Cross — Bryant
- K.J. Smith, TE, Bristol Eastern