Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Cole McCubrey Fulfills D1 Dream, Signs With UMass

By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

Winter weather tore through Central Massachusetts Tuesday night, canceling and postponing a number of sporting events across the Heart of the Commonwealth, but there was a silver lining.

Thanks to the West Boylston at Tahanto basketball game getting pushed back to Wednesday, Cole McCubrey, the star of the West Boylston/Tahanto co-op football team, was able to celebrate his commitment to play football at UMass in front of students from both schools he's represented the last four years.

"100 percent, (getting a Division 1 scholarship) has been the goal since playing youth football in 1st grade," McCubrey said. "It was like, 'I wanna go Division 1, I wanna play big-time football,' and now I'm gonna have the opportunity to do that."

Not only did McCubrey realize his dream of playing Division 1 football this season, he also helped West Boylston capture a D4 Central Mass championship, something he's been working toward his entire high school career. As a Tahanto student, McCubrey becomes the first athlete in his school's history to earn a full scholarship at the Division 1 level, and is proud to be representing his home state in college.

"First of all, it means the world to be able to play for my home state's football team," McCubrey said. "Along with the football program, the school is great. I'll be studying finance at the Isenberg School, so I'm excited for that, and really the people (all around UMass) sold me on it."

While he's mostly known as a running back (he did set the Central Mass career rushing record with 6,352 yards, and the single-season CMass touchdown record with 34 last year), UMass recruited McCubrey as a linebacker. West Boylston coach Mike Ross, who has coached some pretty good defenders in his day, including current NFL draft prospect Obi Melifonwu, thinks McCubrey's skills as a linebacker are not to be underestimated.

"He's probably better on defense," Ross said with a smile. "He's so good at running, so people see that, but he's a great defensive player. He's gonna be great up there."

McCubrey is now set to begin the UMass strength program, and is anxiously awaiting the arrival of his playbook. He'll head to Amherst looking to become another small-school success story.

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