He had what New Canaan football coach Lou Marinelli describes as the “toughest high school career I’ve seen” during his time with the Rams.
But for David Siegel, the story has an upbeat ending.
Siegel, who is starting a post graduate year at The Hun School in Princeton, N.J., has committed to play football at Vanderbilt University starting in 2022. He made the announcement via Twitter on Wednesday.
“I wanted to spend the next stage of my life in a place where I would grow as an athlete,” Siegel tweeted. “With that being said, I am excited to announce that I have committed to Vanderbilt University.”
— David Siegel (@DavidSiegel79) June 30, 2021
The 6-foot-6, 260-pound offensive tackle had several offers from Div. I schools, including Duke, Illinois, UConn and UMass. He visited Duke, Illinois and Vanderbilt in June before deciding on the Commodores.
“My dream school is a place where I can get the best mix of academics and athletics,” Siegel said. “To get to play SEC football while still being able to go to a top (academic) institution in the country is amazing for me.”
Vanderbilt has undergone a change at the top, as alum Clark Lea, Notre Dame’s defensive coordinator from 2018-20, was named the Commodores’ coach in December.
After talking with the coaches, Siegel said he felt they cared about him and that made him feel comfortable with his decision and the future.
Siegel is joining an impressive line of New Canaan players who have gone on to play in Div. I programs.
He grew up watching current NFL players Zach Allen and Lucas Niang play for the Rams, and has seen former teammates Jack Stewart (Michigan), Jack Conley (Boston College), Garrett Braden (Rice) and Drew Pyne (Notre Dame) go on to play in college.
“To see those guys go big time and for me to make it now is great,” Siegel said. “I’’ve got to give credit to them. All of them helped make me a better player, especially Garrett, Jack and Jack. They really helped make me the player I am today.
“And Drew has always been with me and he still calls me all the time. He’s a great friend and a great quarterback and he’s always supported me as well.
Siegel didn’t get to play in many official games while at New Canaan. He subbed in for an injured player as a sophomore and did so well, he remained on the line for the rest of that season, according to Marinelli.
Siegel suffered a torn labrum during a summer football camp in 2019 and was forced to sit out his entire junior season. He was a captain as a senior, but lost that season when the CIAC cancelled fall football.
Siegel was able to play in four games in a private league last fall and Marinelli said he did well in those games, which also allowed the team to compile game film for the senior.
That film, along with clips of him working out, was sent to various college teams and “a lot of people were impressed,” according to Marinelli.
“That (film) could’ve been the difference in me getting the Vanderbilt offer in the first place, Siegel said. “So I’m really thankful for all the coaches and parents who helped us get the season going. Even though we only got four games in, I’m still very grateful.”
“(Siegel is) very athletic,” Marinelli said during the fall. “He’s tall, he’s got good range and he’s a wonderful kid. (And) he’s a tremendous teammate. He probably got the most recognition when the kids were voting for captains.”
In his tweet, Siegel thanked his coaches at New Canaan and The Hun School.
“To all who have spent tireless hours training and pushing me to be a better person and athlete, I thank you,” Siegel said.
As far as Marinelli is concerned, it’s a great ending for a player who didn’t get much time on the field for the Rams.
“It’s all worked out for him,” Marinelli said. “He wanted to be at a Power 5 school and here he is.”
For Siegel, there’s still work to do as he gets ready to play at The Hun School.
“The Hun School has great talent all across the board,” he said. “So I’m excited to get to play against some really good guys, play in a competitive league, and work on myself. Vanderbilt is an SEC school and they have freaks of nature all over the board, so I’ve got to work and continue to better myself so I’m prepared for when I do get there.”