Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Top Massachusetts Football Prospects See Unique Opportunity in the Ivy League

King Phillip senior Shane Frommer helped lead the Warriors to a Division 1A state title in 2016, and will head to Yale next fall.
By Matt Feld (@mattyfeld612)

When the high school football season officially gets underway on September 8th, a number of the top players in all of Massachusetts will take the field under the Friday night lights, looking to showcase their full potential for all in attendance.

Some of the state's most dynamic play makers have already decided where their collegiate careers will take place and, while a number of high profile offers were thrown their way, the chance to play at an Ivy League school was too difficult to turn down for several players across the Commonwealth.

It’s followed a pattern that has developed over the last handful of seasons, as Massachusetts has seen some of its most highly-regarded talents turn down larger programs and schools for the chance to play competitively, while receiving a top-tier education.

Two of the most coveted running backs in the state - BC High’s Danny Abraham and King Philip’s Shane Frommer - will both join the Ivy League next fall.

Abraham, who raised eyebrows in his varsity debut last September when he rushed for 385 yards and four touchdowns, received interest from across the college football landscape. One day after his jaw-dropping performance, Abraham received an offer from Boston College.

Soon, others followed, including the likes of Coastal Carolina, Navy, Fordham, Army, and Rhode Island before the Eagles’ running back finally settled on the Harvard Crimson this past summer.

“Massachusetts kids understand that the education up here is the best that you’re going to get,” said Abraham. “At an FBS school, not everything is guaranteed. There is a lot of behind the scenes talk that does not present itself to the players. The Ivy League recruits up front and is very straight forward.”

Yale, meanwhile, has become a seemingly never-ending pipeline for Massachusetts’ products.

Frommer headlines that list. The rising senior was a focal point of a 2016 King Philip team that went undefeated en route to it’s first ever state championship. Now, the Warriors will ride Frommer once again as they look to repeat as the kings of Division 2 (formerly Division 1A).

The versatile back is heading to Yale in the fall of 2018, where he will join John Dean (Xaverian, 2016), Sasha Hoban (Newton South, 2017), and Blake Hill (Milford, 2017).

Frommer also received an offer from Bryant, but in his eyes Yale offered the best opportunity to evolve in the two fields he prioritized – education and athletics.

“As soon as (Yale) showed interest me, I could tell it was special,” said Frommer. “Education is the main factor. You get the best of both worlds between the classes you get to take, and the athletics to participate in.”

The Warrior’s standout won’t have to look far to find a fellow senior who will become a Bulldog in the fall.

Xaverian’s Brian Abraham put himself firmly on the recruiting map after a big junior season with the Hawks, and committed to Yale this past summer.

Abraham becomes just one of a handful of recent Hawks to take their talents to the Ivy League.

Last season, SuiteSports Defensive Player of the Year A.J. Ryan turned down potential roster spots at Colgate, Navy and Army for Yale, while classmate Cal Flaners took his defensive prowess to Brown. Xaverian wide receiver Sam Laurent also went the Ivy League route, continuing his football career at Dartmouth.

Ryan noted following his commitment that at a school like Yale, he simply felt at home.

“Coming from New England and a school like Xaverian, it just felt right,” said Ryan. “It gives me the opportunity to play Division 1 football while going to a terrific school. As soon as I got a feel for everything, that was all I needed to make up my mind.”

Yet the list of standouts does not come close to stopping there.

Danny Abraham’s teammate back at BC High, offensive tackle Tommy Aicardi, is also headed to Harvard. The two will join recent Eagles Luke Catarius (Princeton), Will Johnson (Princeton), and Phil Lynch (Brown) as former BC High stars to choose an Ivy.

Aicardi will man the offensive line, alongside Marlboro product Liam Shanahan, while also teaming up with former Duxbury standout wide receiver Ryan Regan, and stud Catholic Memorial class of 2017 linebacker Jack McGowan.

BC High coach Jon Bartlett said he thinks players are starting to realize that the level of play in the Ivy League is improving.

“Players have a chance to play football at an FBS quality level while receiving that terrific level of education,” said Bartlett. “It’s hard to beat that. The quality of the play is just continuing to go up, so it’s great to see two of our guys going there.”

The Ivy League is no stranger to sending players to the National Football League either. In two of the last five years, a pair of Ivy Leaguers have been selected in the NFL draft. Six former Ivy League standouts currently reside in Canton in the NFL’s Hall of Fame.

So, while the dream to one day be a professional football player is alive and well for this year’s Ivy League class, they are sure to be prepared should their careers take them down a different path.

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