Excel Sports Academy Showcase notes


WESTFIELD — Over at the Roots Athletic Center Saturday, roughly 100 players from the 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023 classes took part in testing and drills in front of college coaches who were primarily from the Northeast.


Here are a few notes to pass along from the event:


— One player to keep an eye on going forward is Springfield Central 2020 linebacker Dante Bolden. The 6-foot-1, 221-pounder is in excellent shape, and clocked a 4.4 shuttle. He looked even better in drills, moving well and sticking with both running backs and receivers in coverage. It should not be long before a Football Championship Subdivision team offers him, and there is Football Bowl Subdivision interest there, as well.


— Fellow Central linebacker from the class of 2021, Tyson Thornton, ran a 4.56 shuttle at 6-0, 237 pounds. He also was as usual very physical and sticky in coverage during drills.


— The best offensive lineman in attendance might have been Joe LoChiatto of Agawam, who will repeat his sophomore year at Deerfield Academy this season. The 6-2, 292-pounder did not lose any reps in his one-on-one matchups with defensive linemen in drills.


— At 5-10, 165 pounds, class of 2023 quarterback William Watson of Springfield Central continues to show a strong, accurate arm, particularly on downfield throws. With experienced quarterbacks like Mahari Miller and Isaac Boston returning at that position for the Golden Eagles, he might not see the field right away, but Central has to feel good about its future at the position.


— Speaking of Miller, when asked about who stood out to him, one Western Mass. high school coach in attendance noted that the 5-10, 154-pounder impressed him when working with the defensive backs.


— The only 2019 player in attendance, Winthrop quarterback Jonathan Applebee, threw well at 5-11, 155.


— Although most of the times were on the slow side when the players ran indoors, there were some strong performances. Class of 2020 wide receiver Travis Kagan (5-9, 157) of Chicopee Comp clocked a 7.09-second 3-cone and had the best shuttle time of the day at 4.35 seconds.


Kevin Key, a 5-10, 164-pound 2020 receiver from Springfield Central, had the best 3-cone of the day at 6.98 to go along with a 4.37 shuttle.


Will Brewster (6-1, 166) of Westfield, a class of 2021 receiver, had the best 40 time of the day with a 4.55. He was strong in the 3-cone (7.13) and shuttle (4.56) as well.


— Joenel Aguero, a class of 2023 Lynn native who will attend St. John's Prep and likely play receiver and defensive back, checked in at 6-0, 161 pounds, and ran a 4.61 40, a 7.25 3 cone, and 4.65 shuttle.


— Another Springfield Central wide receiver to keep an eye on is Joseph Griffin (class of 2022), who measured in at 6-4, 180 pounds and ran a 4.53 shuttle.


— Speaking of big receivers, Taconic's Luke Hescock from the 2020 class measured in at 6-4, 185 and ran a 4.62 40 and 4.47 shuttle.


Ben Green, a 5-10.5, 173-pound 2020 wide receiver from West Springfield, also had a nice day with a 4.58 40.


— From the defensive backs, Trey Cavaan (5-10, 193), a class of 2020 Springfield Central player, ran a 4.59 40.


Brian Strange, a 6-0.5, 187-pound linebacker from Westfield, also tested well, as the class of 2021 player ran a 4.5 shuttle.


— Another Bombers teammate of Strange and Brewster, tight end Mason Collingwood, checked in at 6-0.5, 202 pounds, and ran a 4.81 40 and 4.75 shuttle.


— When it comes to running backs, Springfield Central's Marcus Crawford had a strong day. The 5-6.5, 160-pounder ran a 4.67 40 and 4.43 shuttle. The class of 2021 player will likely get a lot of carries for the Golden Eagles, as last year's starter, Kwame Kyles, has transferred to Kent.


Nico Mongeon, a running back/defensive back out of East Longmeadow, also tested well, as the 5-9, 176-pounder out of the 2021 class clocked a 4.78 40 and 4.68 shuttle.


— For the linemen, Holyoke's Kevin Jourdain is an impressive-looking player for the class of 2021. At 6-4,247 pounds, he ran a 5.15 40, a 4.85 shuttle, and was strong in one-on-ones.


— Amherst's Jack Nagy did not participate in drills, but measured in at 6-2, 273, and is one of the best linemen in Western Mass.


— Although he is small for a defensive lineman at 5-10, 198 pounds, Frankie Ferrentino of East Longmeadow is also a strong baseball player and one of the best in Western Mass. at getting into opposing backfields.


— Other linemen who did well were Gavin Eastman of Putnam (c/o 2020, 6-0, 264), Gavin Henshaw of Wahconah (2020, 6-4, 268), Jayson Quinones of Putnam (6-0, 225, 4.93 shuttle), Omar Wills of Putnam (2020, 5-10.5, 247, 5.03 shuttle), Dominic Vignato of Chicopee (2020, 6-2, 294), Ryan Delaney of East Longmeadow (2021, 6-6.5, 226, 5.1 40, 4.85 shuttle) and Travis Gause of Springfield Central (2022, 5-11, 247, 4.87 shuttle).

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