May 27 MVP: MassVarsity Pre-and-Post

This past week, PFF (Pro Football Focus) College tweeted out its rating for Isaiah Likely from last season as the best for his position in the Sun Belt.

Likely, a tight end from Malden who went to Everett High, caught 12 passes for 108 yards and five touchdowns as a true freshman in 2018. The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder turned down an offer from UMass to play with the Chanticleers, who came to Amherst and beat the Minutemen in October.

Players like that are the type that new UMass coach Walt Bell needs to keep in-state, and so far, he's doing a good job of that.

But on another note, Likely's success continues to highlight just how good that 2017 Everett team was, because the key members of it continue to have great success both at the next level and how they were and continue to be recruited by scholarship-level institutions.

Let's start with the 2018 class. Wide receiver/defensive back Jason Maitre redshirted last season with the Eagles, and as a cornerback is in the mix to make contributions in the return game and more in 2019.

If we shoot back over to UMass, Helber Fagundes should be in the two-deep on the offensive line there, and Kevin Brown might be the most physically-imposing running back on the roster already.

Dropping down to the Football Championship Subdivision level, David Zorilla had a successful true freshman season at Bryant, catching 16 passes for 146 yards and a touchdown. Linebacker Duane Binns is at the University of Rhode Island and will be hard to keep off the field there.

In the Northeast-10, wide receiver Anthony Norcia got on the field quickly for Merrimack and made an impact, as he caught 15 passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns. Jordan Riggs appeared in three games for New Haven along the defensive line, and Jacob and Josh Miller are both at American International, Jacob as a running back and Josh as a linebacker.

That's 10 FBS, FCS, and Division 2 players alone from the 2018 class, but that's just the beginning.

In the 2019 class, even with most of it not on college campuses, those that are have made their mark already.

We've made note several times about the buzz around Mike Sainristil as an early enrollee at Michigan. The wide receiver is so talented that reportedly the defensive coaches in Ann Arbor wish they had him on that side of the ball, too. Coach Jim Harbaugh has hinted at using the speedy playmaker at cornerback "down the line."

With safety Lewis Cine, an early enrollee at Georgia, he is fighting to get on the field on a team with an experienced secondary. In the Bulldogs' spring game, Cine led the team in tackles, and one would assume his athleticism could be an asset on special teams right away.

As for the other 2019 signees, Wilson Frederic will be a defensive lineman and UMass, and fellow linemen Gilbert Kabamba (Merrimack) and Jalen Iles Smith (Assumption) are off to scholarship institutions. Ditto defensive back Robby Riobe, who will be at Maine.

That's another six, and there is one more coming in the 2020 class. Quarterback Jake Willcox, who reclassified at Milton Academy, has multiple FCS offers heading into his senior season.

That makes 17 FBS, FCS, or Division 2 players from that 2017 Everett team, including at least one from every positional unit on offense or defense.

That's nutty.

The further and further away we get from that squad's win over Xaverian at Gillette Stadium to claim the Division 1 crown, the more it looks that — while certainly heralded locally — the Tide may have been underrated on a nationally.

Smart moves

Bell revealed over Twitter this past week that the Minutemen posted a team record GPA for a single semester this spring.

That may not resonate with people who only look at wins and losses, but this is no insignificant accomplishment.

When a team is so across-the-board strong in the classroom, it shows a level of discipline that oftentimes carries onto the field. It shows that the promises Bell made at his opening press conference to prepare his players for more than just the game was not just lip service.

It also helps recruiting. A parent that knows his or her son will be taking care of business as a student will want him to give that program an extra look.

That doesn't mean it's the deciding factor, but it certainly doesn't hurt.

Caught up

The most recent additions for both Boston College and UMass are pass-catchers.

The latest commitment for the Eagles is for the 2020 class, Luke Floriea, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound wide receiver from Mentor (Ohio). Floriea hails from one of the most consistent passing offenses in Ohio. Mentor is a legitimate Division 1 state title contender in that state basically every season.

BC already has three receivers committed to its 2020 class.

UMass brought in Jacob Orlando, a 6-6, 230-pound tight end from Williamsville North (Buffalo, N.Y.) for the 2019 class.

The Minutemen are relatively low on numbers at the position, and Orlando still has plenty of room to add good weight and keep his speed.

ISL offers piling up

The evaluation period has brought some well-deserved offers to a handful of Independent School League players.

One of the most electric skill players in the league, Belmont Hill's Greg Desrosiers, picked up offers from Georgetown, Holy Cross, and UNH. The 5-11, 177-pounder from the 2020 class should have a big senior year.

His teammate, class of 2021 defensive tackle Ikenna Ugbaja of Hyde Park, has offers from Michigan, UMass and BC already.

Jackson Phinney of Nobles, a 2020 athlete who can play a number of positions at the next level, earned one from Georgetown, as well. His younger brother, Casey, a 2021 linebacker who also plays running back at Nobles, already owns offers from the likes of Michigan, UMass, and Michigan.

Groton's Caleb King Coleman, a 6-2, 211-pound 2020 athlete who starred at tailback this past season, grabbed a Lehigh offer.

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