New York Athletes Harder To Recruit During Pandemic [AUDIO]
The University of Albany Football team is waiting for a Spring 2021 kickoff to a delayed 2020 season but Early Signing Day still happens. The Great Danes added 10 signees on Early Signing Day and even though it's a class full of Team Captains and impressive players there's only one New Yorker. Coach Greg Gattuso shared the challenges facing teams recruiting high school athletes during this COVID-19 pandemic.
"You know I think it did hurt a lot of our kids in state this year." Coach Gattuso said "Everyone is going to have scholarships available in the spring. It’s been a challenge. There have been no camps and we haven’t seen the kids we haven’t spent time with them which is tough. A lot of our recruiting has gone off of last year‘s tape which usually isn’t good enough. The one thing about this year is that a lot of these kids that we signed a really high up on our list when we first started and you don’t always get to pick from those guys in a normal recruiting cycle."
Gattuso went on to explain his excitement for this class and how tough this year's been on everyone "Several of these players were top of the list for us back in March. Many of the times in recruiting those guys end up at a higher level so we’re pretty excited about the group of guys we brought in and some of the talent level in them. I feel terrible for our kids, I hope they can play in the spring. The high school kids it’s tough when you miss your senior year like that. It’s been that way for everybody."
Earlier this year I spoke to two high school seniors about how hard it is to get recruited here in New York This year. You should check out their story HERE. Coach Gattuso offered the advice of Junior College or prep school to help the New York Athlete get noticed there. Don't be afraid to extend your football career by junior college or prep school. It's a crazy world and time and if that's the path you need to take then take it.
UAlbany introduced us to the Early Signing day class in a press release:
Joshua Gaffney | 6-3 | 310 | OL
Central York High School, Pa.
Gattuso on Gaffney
"We love Josh Gaffney's combination of size and agility. He is a physical player that will mesh well with our power run game. Josh was one of the top offensive linemen in the state of Pennsylvania."
Two-time YAIAA First Team All-County
All-Eastern Pennsylvania (2019)
Team offensive MVP (2019)
Michael Gecik | 6-3 | 265 | OL
Delaware Valley High School, Pa.
Gattuso on Gecik
"What we liked about Mike is his overall athletic ability. We felt that he really could run and bend for an offensive lineman and he will be able to compete at any of the offensive line spots. He is very intelligent and plays with strong technique."
First Team All-Lackawanna League
First Team All-District 2
First Team All-Pennsylvania Northern Region
Elijah Hills | 6-2 | 270 | DL
Delbarton School, N.J.
Gattuso on Hills
"Elijah comes from a great program and league. He is physical and tough, and plays with a great amount of energy. He will fit in nicely at the defensive tackle position."
First Team All-Conference
First Team All-County
Second Team All-Non-Public N.J.
Senior season: 35 tackles / 11 TFL / 5 sacks (five games)
Kristen McAdams | 6-3 | 185 | WR
Imhotep Institute, Pa.
Gattuso on McAdams
"Kris is an outstanding player who brings great size and speed to our wide receiver position. Kris was heavily recruited because of the nature of his big play potential. Kris is a natural wide receiver with outstanding hands, great ability to adjust to the ball, and big play-ability.
247 Sports Two-Star recruit
Junior year stats: 20 REC / 346 YDS / 5 TD
Ronnell McCorn | 6-2 | 215 | DL
Our Lady of Good Counsel High School, Md.
Gattuso on McCorn
"Ronnell comes from an elite program and will line up at our Dog position. Ronnell has the pass rushing skill that we look for to be an edge player in our defense. He shows good strength and bend on film."
Second Team All-WCAC
Career stats: 16 sacks / 21 TFL / 43 tackles / 3 TD / 2 blocked punts
Matthew Obiagu | 6-6 | 240 | DL
Caesar Rodney High School, Del.
Gattuso on Obiagu
"Matthew has just scratched the surface of his outstanding potential. He is new to football but showed great explosiveness and quickness on film. His progress from the first game to the last was fantastic."
First Team All-Henlopen Conference
Delaware State All-Star
Team defensive MVP
Senior season: Team leader in tackles (64) and sacks (9) / 3 FF
Denzel Patrick | 6-1 | 180 | DB
Bloomfield High School, Conn.
Gattuso on Patrick
"Denzel fits into our safety position perfectly. He possesses the speed and athleticism to cover, and the size to be a good tackler."
Football State Champion
Track & Field State Champion
Career stats: 7 INT / 117 tackles / 29 REC / 436 YDS
Sean Ralls 6-2 | 190 | K/P
Oldham County High School | Eastern Kentucky University, Ky.
Gattuso on Ralls
"We are pleased to add Sean to our team to battle for our punter job. He comes to us highly recommended with some game experience. Punter was an area of great need and Sean will be a strong fit."
Academic First Team All-State
Led 5A with seven field goals
Averaged 41 yards per punt
Tyler Szalkowski | 6-2 | 220 | QB
Aquinas Institute, N.Y.
Gattuso on Szalkowski
"Tyler is a big and strong-armed quarterback who will fit into our offensive system perfectly. We feel he will continue to progress at a rapid pace. He is very competitive and has been a strong leader in high school."
New York State Football Champion (2018)
Two-time All Greater Rochester Football (2018, 2019)
Section 5 Offensive Player of the Year (2019)
NYSSWA All-State Selection (2019)
AGR Honorable Mention for baseball (2018, 2019)
Career stats: 68% / 4,873 YDS / 54 TD (2 years)
Amara Yobouet | 6-1 | 255 | DL
Northeast High School, Pa.
Gattuso on Yobouet
"Amara was fun to watch on game film. He is an explosive and disruptive force on the interior of the defensive line. He plays with great leverage and will fit into our system perfectly."
First Team All-Public Schools Philadelphia
Defensive Player of the Year
Career stats: 86 tackles / 12 sacks / 6 caused fumbles / 1 fumble recovery