ORONO, Maine – Since the season ended in late November, University of Maine football coaches have been spending several days a week on the road.
Their quest was to identify young men who are talented and motivated enough to become productive student-athletes for the Black Bears.
The fruits of those labors were revealed Wednesday, when UMaine announced its 2013 recruiting class.
“We are very pleased to announce the signing of our 2013 Black Bear football recruiting class,” said UMaine head coach Jack Cosgrove. “This is a group we are excited about getting the opportunity to work with and grow into outstanding Black Bear student-athletes.”
UMaine is bringing in a group of 22 players who signed National Letters of Intent. That includes four offensive linemen and four defensive backs.
Also on the list are three tight ends and three defensive linemen, two recruits apiece at quarterback, linebacker and wide receiver, and one each at defensive end and punter/place-kicker.
“With [Chris] Howley, [Garet] Williamson and Josh Spearin all graduating, we obviously needed to build that [offensive line] up from the bottom,” Cosgrove said.
He admitted there were a lot of outstanding safeties and cornerbacks available this year.
“There was a good available crop of guys there and we might have overextended ourselves there a little more than we thought about doing,” Cosgrove said. “This is all about projecting what they’ll be able to do a few years down the road.”
Three Maine players also signed National Letters of Intent. That group includes defensive back Spencer Carey of Fairfield, tight end Dakota Tarbox of Dayton and Matt Cosgrove of Bangor, coach Cosgrove’s son.
Carey, a 6-foot-2, 205-pounder, was the Pine Tree Conference Co-Player of the Year and an all-state selection after helping Lawrence High claim back-to-back regional championships.
Tarbox (6-3, 220) was instrumental in Thornton Academy of Saco’s run to the 2012 Class A state title. He was an All-Southern Maine Activities Association defensive player and was an all-state wide receiver for the Golden Trojans.
Cosgrove (6-1, 185) was an All-PTC first-team pick at wide receiver and earned all-league second-team recognition as a defensive back last fall for coach Mark Hackett’s Rams.
Jack Cosgrove isn’t the least bit hesitant about having Matt join the program.
“It’s exciting, I think, for both of us,” the coach said. “It’s something we talked about up front. Matt gets it, he knows what we’re all about. He’s seen it growing up with big eyes as a little boy and with small eyes as a big boy.”
Cosgrove pointed out Matt needs time to develop his strength, conditioning and experience to start working his way up the ladder.
He said his son will receive “short money,” as opposed to a full athletic scholarship or a partial award, but would not divulge the amount.
Jack Cosgrove pointed out Mike DeVito was in the short money category when he signed for $1,000 in 2003. Now a millionaire, DeVito has played with the NFL’s New York Jets since 2007.
In addition, UMaine will welcome student-athletes from seven states, including six from Pennsylvania and four from Massachusetts, along with New York (3), New Jersey (3), Connecticut (2) and Maryland (1).
The Black Bears have landed two quarterbacks in Daniel Hoffer of Yonkers, N.Y., and Kellen Croce of Middlebury, Conn. Hoffer (6-2, 210) led Archbishop Stepinac to a spot in its league championship game, earning offensive player of the year accolades.
Croce, a left-handed thrower, played his junior and senior seasons at The Gunnery School, where he was a two-time all-conference pick and an All-New England choice in 2012.
Here is a quick look at the rest of the class, in alphabetical order:
Defensive back Marquise Adams (6-1, 175), Newark, N.J., first-team all-state; offensive lineman Isaiah Brooks (6-6, 265), Bloomfield, Conn., all-state honoree; linebacker Austin Brown (6-0, 230), Easton, Pa., Lehigh Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year; OL Daniel Burrows (6-4, 285), Haverhill, Mass., first-team All-Merrimack Valley Conference; DL Malike Dorsey (6-1, 270), Hanover, Md., first-team all-state; defensive back Tayvon Hall (5-9, 165), West Hempstead, N.Y., all-conference, all-county, All-Long Island; LB Zachary Hume (6-2, 230), Lancaster, Mass., Worcester Telegram Defensive Player of the Year, Super 26 All-State; DL Schuyler Huntington (6-3, 257), Cohoes, N.Y., Section 2 AA Liberty League Defensive Player of the Year, second-team all-state; P/K Sam Lenson (6-0, 170), Natick, Mass., led state in points by a kicker with 51; WR Jaleel Reed (6-1, 195), East Lansdowne, Pa., first-team All-Colonial League and All-New England at St. Thomas More; OL John Reddington (6-5, 275), Milton, Mass., first-team All-New England; TE Jeremy Salmon (6-3, 245), Mechanicsburg, Pa., second-team All-State at running back; and DE Jason Simonovich (6-3, 240), Dallas, Pa., two-way all-conference.
Cosgrove praised the members of his coaching staff, whose efforts made this recruiting class possible.
“I’d be remiss in not mentioning how hard our guys work here and how they meet the challenges in regard to recruiting, especially. They cover a lot of miles [in the car],” Cosgrove said.
The eligibility of all student-athletes is contingent upon admission to the University of Maine and compliance with NCAA initial eligibility guidelines.