— Xavier Athletics (@athleticsXHS) December 20, 2017
MIDDLETOWN — For Will Levis, Penn State was love at first sight.
Levis, who signed a National Letter of Intent to play football at Penn State in a signing ceremony at Xavier High School Wednesday morning in front of 75 coaches, administrators, faculty members, teammates, alumni and friends, said the entire recruitment process was “crazy” but that his favorite place was Penn State all along.
“It’s hard to get noticed when you’re from Connecticut,” he said. “And you have to work harder. You have to call coaches, which I did, then phone calls come back and there are showcases and camps to attend to they can see you.
“The showcases in both my junior and senior years played a huge role. I had to work very hard at those events because the best quarterbacks are there.”
— CT Sports Now (@CT_Sports_Now) December 21, 2017
He talked of traveling to Chicago and other places and of working to get noticed.
He got noticed.
“Last summer I got offers from Iowa, the University of North Carolina, Florida and others, but I saved Penn State for last because that’s where I really wanted to go,” he said. “It was a mix of a lot of things — academics, the social life and great football. I also felt a sense of family there.”
But the process didn’t start with the Power Five conferences. Because he is a 4.0 student [Translation: All As] the original offers were the Ivy League, then the MAC, then came Syracuse, Ole Miss and the rest.
Then Penn State.
“I have some family connections there and once I decided on Penn State, I didn’t care what offers came after that,” said Levis. “It was going to be Penn State no matter what.”
In the meantime, there was a high school football season to be played and while Levis threw for over 2,700 yards and 27 touchdowns, the season was frustrating.
“The season was tough,” he said. “We lost a lot of close games and made some mistakes that cost us. That’s the difference in making the playoffs.”
The games that stuck were the 40-37 loss to Norwich Free Academy, the 14-7 loss to Wilbur Cross and the 50-49 overtime loss to North Haven. Flip those and the Falcons, instead of being 4-6, would have been 7-3 and right in the playoff hunt.
Nobody wanted to face Levis in the playoffs. Indeed, North Haven coach Anthony Sagnella, after successfully going for a two-point conversion in overtime for sudden victory, said, “There was no way I was going for a tie and getting into a shootout with that kid [Levis]. He’s too good.”
“But even though we didn’t have a great won-lost record, it was a fun season,” said Levis. “I can’t do anything about it; it happened.”
Among the alumni in attendance were Tim Boyle, who just completed his senior season at the University of Eastern Kentucky, Parker Rowley, who plays at Stonehill College and Kevin Lawrence who plays at the University of Rhode Island.
Headmaster David Eustis called Levis, “An exceptional leader on the field and a great student, whose 4.0 average attracted offers from great schools with both great academic and football traditions.”
In prepared remarks, Levis thanked his family, coaches, trainers and teammates.
“Today is really exciting and the emotions I’m feeling today are amazing,” he said. “To have all these people come and show support is overwhelming. It hasn’t hit me yet, but maybe when I get home it will. I just think I’m leaving here a better person than when I came.”