By John Sarianides
National Signing day is on Wednesday and several local prospects have already committed to schools. Here are our top 25 prospects in Massachusetts and how we think they’ll fit into the programs they’ve committed to.
1. Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Grafton (Syracuse): I talked a lot about Ifeatu’s brother Obi this weekend. Obi played for UConn and he played in the Senior Bowl this past weekend. Just like Obi, Ifeatu is long and athletic and could play either corner or safety for the Orange.
I think Melifonwu will get every opportunity to play right away at Syracuse and don’t be surprised if he is in some of the Orange’s sub packages this year.
2. A.J Dillon, RB, Lawrence Academy (Boston College): The 6-1 240 running back switched his commitment from Michigan to Boston College. It was a smart move. Dillon will have an opportunity to play sooner at B.C and he will get a chance to play tailback.
Boston College and Michigan both utilize two back, power running game offenses so the Eagles should be a good fit for Dillon.
3. Noah Gray, WR, Leoninister (Duke): Gray may end up red shirting but when he does get on the field at Duke, he will have every opportunity to make plays in David Cutcliffe’s multiple spread offense. Cutcliffe likes big receivers who run precise routes. Gray needs some work in terms of fundamentals but the potential is there for him to be productive at Duke. He is a terrific athlete.
4. Blake Gallagher, ILB, St. Sebastian’s (Northwestern): I think Gallagher will be a great fit in Northerstern’s 4-3 defense. He is smart, athletic and moves well laterally. He fits the bill in terms of playing MIKE linebacker. Just like Xaverian’s Joe Gaziano, Gallagher may play sooner than later for the Wildcats.
5. Jordan McAfee, QB, Everett (UConn): McAfee will more than likely red shirt but the physical tools are there for him to potentially develop into an effective dual threat spread quarterback in two years. New Huskies coach Randy Edsall and his staff are getting a talented young man with a lot of upside.
6. Allan Rappleyea, OT, Milton Academy (Wake Forest): Rappleyea is a physical run blocker who gets movement at the point of attack. He is also an athletic pass blocker that could hold up against speed rushers if he plays inside at guard. Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson and his staff don’t mind playing young guys along the offensive line so Rappleyea could get an opportunity to play as a freshmen.
7. Alec Lindstrom, OT, Shepherd Hill (Boston College): I don’t see Alec following in the foot steps of his brother Chris and playing as a freshmen.Steve Addazio and offensive line coach Justin Frye are not opposed to playing young guys but Alec could benefit from a learning and development year. Lindstrom is athletic and he has been well coached by his father but he will need time to develop physically.
8. Kevin Mensah, RB, Shepherd Hill (Undecided): Mensah has received interest from several big time programs. He recently spoke with UConn but he has not received an offer. Holy Cross and Bryant are two programs that are rumored to have offered Mensah.
The 5-9 190 running back should get an offer on Wednesday. It’ll come down to where he wants to play and if the school will give him an opportunity to play right away.
9. Cole McCubrey, LB, West Boylston (UMass): The 6-0 225 McCubrey is a bit undersized but he has a nose for the ball, he’s tough and he’s physical. All traits that UMass coach Mark Whipple and defensive coordinator Tom Masella want in their players defensively.
Whipple isn’t afraid to play young players so McCubrey could get some snaps this fall.
10. E.J Perry IV, QB, Andover (Boston College): Perry needs time to develop physically but don’t be surprised if he gets a chance to compete for the starting quarterback job as a redshirt freshmen or sophomore. The arm strength and intangibles are good enough for Perry to play at B.C but he will need time to bulk up and get bigger.
11. Jake Byczko, DE, Lawrence Academy (UMass): Byczko was committed to UConn for a period of time but then decommittted and signed with UMass. Byczko is a big time get for Mark Whipple and his staff. At 6-3 240, he can play either tight end or defensive end.
12. Ryan Reagan, WR, Duxbury (Harvard): Reagan will be a great fit as an X receiver in offensive coordinator Joel Lamb’s spread pistol offense. Reagan can create match up advantages with his size and he has a deceptive second gear after the catch. Reagan was a great pick up for the Harvard staff.
13. Michael Silva, RB, Milton Academy (Harvard): The shifty Silva will fit in nicely in the Crimson Tide’s spread pistol offense. He is low to the ground, runs with great balance and vision and can make one cut and go. Silva is the ideal fit in a zone blocking scheme.
14. A.J Ryan, ILB, Xaverian (Undecided): I really enjoyed watching Ryan play at Xaverian. He is a physical, gap to gap Mike linebacker who fills and finishes against the run and can drop back and pick up crossers in zone coverage. Ryan visited Colgate this past weekend.
15. Mekhi Henderson, CB, Xaverian (Undecided): Henderson was a four year starter at Xaverian at both safety and corner back. At 5-10 180, he is versatile and can play anywhere in the secondary. Henderson currently has offers from Central Connecticut State, Sacred Heart and Bryant on the table.
16. Cory Ryder, C, Nantucket (William &Mary): Ryder flew under the radar last fall at Nantucket but he was a man among boys. He was dominate. After committing to Holy Cross, Ryder decommitted and is going to William & Mary. He will an opportunity to get some early playing time with the Tribe.
17. Cal Flanders, DE, Xaverian (Brown): A great get for Phil Estes and his staff at Brown. Flanders had a walk on offer at Michigan but chose to stay closer to home and play for the Bears. He projects as a five technique defensive end in the 4-3. He could get some rotational snaps for the Bears this fall.
18. Jack McGowan, OLB, Catholic Memorial (Harvard): McGowan is a bit undersized at 5-11 210. He played linebacker at CM but could move to strong safety at the next level. The vertical quickness is certainly there for him to make the move.
19. Scott Murphy, DE, Billerica (Army): Murphy announced on twitter that he will be attending West Point last week. The 6-3 240 pound defensive end is ideally suited to play the five technique spot in the 4-3 defense.
20. Tank Walker, ATH, Springfield Central (Undecided): Walker has several local offers on the table but he is still undecided. At 6-3 180, he can play either receiver, corner or safety. Walker is dynamic with the ball in his hands so he will more than likely play receiver at the next level.
21. Sasha Hoban, TE Newton South (Yale): Hoban is a big target who can stretch the field vertically down the seam and be a real difference maker in the Bulldogs passing game. Hoban could see time as a freshmen.
22. Sherron Dailey-Harris, CB Lawrence Academy (UNH): Harris is a great get for UNH coach Sean McDonnell and his staff. He is a terrific athlete who could also return kicks for the Wildcats. Harris could potentially see time as a freshmen.
23. Bobby Maimaron, QB Duxbury (Undecided): Maiamaron is still undecided as of this time. He did receive an offer from Appalachian State in May but that is the last we heard of him receiving an offer.
Maimaron may have to PG to have any chance of getting offered in 2018. The body of work is there but college coaches might want to see more before they commit.
24. Duval Paul, DE, Everett (Georgetown): Paul put together a solid 2016 campaign and parlayed that into an offer from Georgetown. He will play defensive end and possibly outside linebacker for the Hoyas.
25. Connor Degenhardt, QB, Westford Academy (Holy Cross); Degenhardt put up big numbers in the Grey Ghosts spread offense and he will take his talents to Holy Cross where he could compete for the starting job in 2017. The Crusaders struggled at quarterback last season.