Saturday, June 17, 2017

Shepherd Hill Running Back Kevin Mensah Set to Play at UConn

By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

It's been a long journey to Division 1 college football for Worcester native Kevin Mensah, but the star running back has finally found a home.

Next month, the former Holy Name and Shepherd Hill star will report to UConn to begin his career as a Husky, marking the end of one of the more eventful recruitments in recent memory.

After transferring from Holy Name to Shepherd Hill prior to the 2016 season, Mensah was declared ineligible by the MIAA, since Holy Name would not sign a transfer waver.

Then, even after the Naps did sign the waver to allow Mensah to play, the MIAA still refused to allow Central Mass' top running back on the field. After a lengthy legal battle, which forced Mensah to miss classes to appear in court, he was finally able to take the field for Shepherd Hill, and he hit the ground running, rushing for 1,255 yards (9.9 yards per carry) and 13 touchdowns in limited action.

Mensah earned SuiteSports All-State honors for his efforts, but was still struggling to become academically eligible through the NCAA Clearinghouse. To make up for some missing classes, Mensah was taking more than a full course load at Shepherd Hill, with the school's guidance department, as well as recruiting coordinator Nate Skermont doing everything in their power to help Mensah fill in the gaps.

Schools across the country, from Michigan to Boston College, showed interest in Mensah, but with his eligibility in question, many of them never extended full scholarship offers.

Before National Signing Day in mid-January, just after Randy Edsall returned to Storrs as the Huskies' head coach, UConn began showing serious interest in Mensah. Edsall's son Corey Edsall, the Huskies' tight ends coach, visited Kevin at Shepherd Hill.

At that point, Kevin knew he was going to qualify academically, but he and those around him thought it would be best to wait until after February's National Signing Day to weigh his options. Mensah then decided to attend St. Thomas Moore in Connecticut as a post grad, giving him a full extra year without an eligibility cloud hanging over his recruitment. But, when UConn offered earlier this week, he couldn't say no.

"UConn has just always been with me throughout, so when they offered me I committed right away," Mensah said. "UConn is just a great place academically, and that's what you have to look for in a school. Also, I love the coaching staff. They have history together at UConn, and I can't wait to be a part of that. They will bring me to my dream in the future, and I'm very excited for that."

Mensah will join the Huskies next month, and be a full scholarship member of the team in the fall. Locals can (perhaps) catch Mensah in action when UConn battles Boston College at Fenway Park on November 18th. That game will feature other former Shepherd Hill stars Chris Lindstrom, a starting guard for the Eagles, and his younger brother Alec Lindstrom, a freshman lineman who arrived at BC in time for spring practices.

"It will be a fun little Shepherd Hill reunion," Mensah said.

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