DURHAM, N.H.-- The University of New Hampshire football program has received commitments from 13 high school student-athletes who have signed national letters of intent to play for the school.
The list includes many athletic and outstanding players who will help the Wildcats at multiple positions on the football field. In an effort to fill the needs of the squad, fourth-year head football coach Sean McDonnell and his staff have addressed needs at nearly all positions on the football team.
McDonnell has signed three Granite State players, including: Brent Barbato (Exeter, N.H.), Mike Grella (Derry, N.H.) out of Pinkerton Academy and quarterback Matt Skoby (Concord, N.H.).
"I'm very excited with the caliber of the athletes who have committed to play for the University of New Hampshire," said McDonnell. "We have filled our needs all across the board, starting at the quarterback position with Matt Skoby to help replace the graduation loss of starter Ryan Day. We feel that the size and speed of the offensive and defensive linemen will add much depth on both sides of the ball. Speed and productivity are evident at the skill positions with the addition of Grella, Chris Callison and Terrell Lewis, all who are outstanding track performers."
2002 UNH FOOTBALL RECRUITS
Barbato, Brent LB/FB 6-1 215 Exeter, N.H./Salisbury School
Chesterman, Ryan OL/DL 6-3 275 Bloomfield, N.J./Bloomfield
Callison, Chris WR/DB 5-10 175 Andover, Mass./Andover
Grella, Mike RB/WR 5-8 175 Derry, N.H./Pinkerton Academy
Lewis, Terrell DB/WR 6-1 190 New Haven, Conn./Wilber Cross
McCormick, Connor PK 5-8 160 Forty Fort, Pa./Wyoming Seminery
Peterson, Tucker OL/DL 6-2 285 Mill River, Vt./Mill River
Skoby, Matt QB 6-4 215 Concord, N.H./Concord
Smart, Jeffrey WR/DB 6-0 175 Chelmsford, Mass./Chelmsford
St. Peter, Brendan LB/TE 6-2 220 Marshfield, Mass/Marshfield
Tolene, Tony WR/DB 6-1 185 Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin
Wagner, Dan DL/OL 6-3 240 Pittsburgh, Pa./Pine-Richland
Yarborough, Will DL/OL 6-4 250 Fayetteville, N.C./Tabor Academy
Brent Barbato, a 6-1, 215-pound LB/FB out of Exeter, N.H.., is a very physical player who brings both speed and toughness to the UNH football program. As a linebacker, he has a great nose for the football and he is a sure tackler. At Exeter HS, he helped his team to a 31-2 record and a 1998 state championship. Barbato, who led his team in tackles during both his junior and senior seasons, was named All-State in Division 2 and participated in the Shrine Game. A captain of the football and baseball teams, he led his prep school in rushing and tackles and was named an All-New England Prep All-Star.
Ryan Chesterman, a 6-3, 275-pound OL/DL from Bloomfield, N.J. was a team captain and lineman of the year at Bloomfield High School this past season. He has outstanding feet and the ability to stay on blocks. His athleticism helped him dominate in Essex County during his senior year and he adds talented depth to the UNH offensive line. Chesterman was named First-Team All-League in Essex County and was a Third-Team All-State selection. An outstanding baseball player, he also started at first base and was a pitcher on the baseball team.
Chris Callison, a 5-10, 175-pound WR/DB from Andover, Mass., is an exciting all-purpose player who was a three-year starter at Andover High School. He has outstanding gut instincts on the field and is a great all-around player with a knack for making great plays. In his senior year, he was named the Merrimack Valley League Most Valuable Player after scoring 15 touchdowns and six extra points for a total of 96 points. He rushed 113 times for 821 yards, good for an impressive average of 7.9 yards per carry. As a receiver he grabbed 23 catches for a total of 449 yards giving him an average of 19.5 yards per reception. On defense, he recorded 63 tackles and four interceptions. The team's MVP, he also returned kickoffs for 75 yards and 93 yards. For his outstanding efforts, Callison was named a Boston Herald All-Scholastic and a Lawrence Eagle Tribune All-Scholastic selection. He presently owns the Andover High School record in the 50-yard dash with a time of 5.41 seconds.
Mike Grella, a 5-8, 175-pound RB/WR out of Derry, N.H., has tremendous speed and quickness and will contribute a great deal to the UNH offense. He has the ability to catch the football and can run well after the catch. His athletic ability will also be utilized on special teams, as he is an outstanding kick returner. He has been timed at 4.4 in the 40-yard dash. A three-year all-state selection, he was named the Lawrence Eagle Tribune Player of the Year in football his junior year. Looking at his statistics, he carried the ball 164 times for 1,303 yards in his junior season, giving him an average of 7.9 yards per carry and 17 touchdowns. Last season, he had 900 yards in eight games for an average of 112 yards and 15 touchdowns. He was also selected to the New Hampshire Shrine team. He missed three games due to injury his senior year.
Terrell Lewis, a 6-1, 190-pound DB/WR from New Haven, Conn., brings size and speed to the secondary and he has tremendous range and hitting ability and will bring much-needed depth at the safety position in the upcoming years. As a wide receiver, Lewis was named All-Area and All-Division and he was voted the team's MVP. A captain on the football and track teams, he was named defensive MVP of the Elm City Bowl. On the track, he excelled as well as an all-state performer in the 4x400 relay. He was named both All-Division and All-Conference in the 300-meter hurdles.
Connor McCormick, a 5-8, 160-pound placekicker from Forty Fort, Pa., is an outstanding kicking prospect with a very strong leg. He has been kicking for two years after competing as an All-Star soccer player. Last season, he was 5x9 in field goals with a long of 46 yards. He also connected on 26x28 extra points. He is especially impressive with his kickoffs, as 80 percent of his kicks last season were not returned. He is expected to take over the field goal and kickoff duties at UNH.
Tucker Peterson, a 6-2, 285-pound OL/DL from Mill River, Vt., was a four-year starter at Mill River High School where he recorded over 200 tackles, 22 sacks and 50 pancake blocks during his career. He also has blocked seven kicks over the past four seasons. For his efforts, he was voted All-State on both offense and defense over the past two seasons. Peterson, who is the brother of UNH linebacker George Peterson, has shown great athleticism and explosiveness on both sides of the ball. He will also represent Vermont in the Maple Sugar Shrine Game this summer. Peterson was also a standout in basketball at MRHS.
Matt Skoby, a 6-4, 215-pound quarterback out of Concord, N.H., will provide the Wildcats with another outstanding Granite Stater to help fill in for the loss of Manchester's Ryan Day. An oustanding quarterback prospect for this level, he is a prototypical UNH quarterback. He possesses outstanding size and he has shown tremendous speed after being clocked at 4.65 in the 40-yard dash. His arm is also very strong, as evidenced by the fact that he is a major league pitching prospect. His all-around athleticism allowed him to lead his team to a state title as a junior. For his three-year career at Concord High School, he threw 45 touchdown passes and ran for 18 more. On the defensive side of the ball, Skoby also led his team with six interceptions and returned one for paydirt. In baseball, he was an All-State pitcher and was a captain of the squad.
Jeffrey Smart, a 6-0, 175-pound WR/DB from Chelmsford, Mass., is an outstanding playmaker who will add punch to the potent UNH passing attack. He brings with him outstanding hands and leaping ability. As a wide receiver, Smart was a first-team All-Scholastic pick by the Boston Globe (twice), The Boston Herald (once), and the Lowell Sun (twice). Smart recorded 40 receptions for 650 yards as a senior at Chelmsford High School and over his career had 100 catches for 1,926 yards. The team MVP in his junior and senior seasons, he was named the Merrimack Valley Offensive Player of the Year. He presently holds CHS records in season receptions (49), career receptions (100), receiving yards in a game (199), receiving yards in a career (1,926), receptions in a single game (10 twice) and receiving yards in a season (926). Smart also was a letterwinner in basketball and track.
Brendan St. Peter, a 6-2, 220-pound LB/TE from Marshfield, Mass., adds high intensity and physical ability to the UNH linebacking corps and he is already the perfect size to play the position. A versatile linebacker, he can play all three linebacker positions. A three-year starter on both sides of the ball, he compiled 120 tackles, three sacks, three fumble recoveries and one interception during his senior campaign. He was named the team MVP on defense and was named to the Quincy Patriot Ledger All-Scholastic Squad. He was first-team All-Mariner and was an Old Colony League All-Star on offense and defense. He also lettered in wrestling and baseball at Marshfield High School.
Tony Tolene, a 6-1, 185-pound WR/DB from Harrisburg, Pa., is a tough, hard-nosed competitor who has the ability to catch the ball and make big plays after the catch. He also possesses a great mixture of speed and strength. He could contribute on either side of the football for UNH. During his senior year, he recorded 36 receptions for 788 yards and an average of 21.9 yards per game. He also grabbed nine TD receptions. As a rusher, he recorded 23 carries for 171 yards and six touchdowns, while averaging 7.4 yards per carry. Tolene was named First-Team All-Conference in the Mid-Penn Conference and was named defensive conference MVP his senior year. A team captain, he was also a Second-Team All-Conference return specialist and was Second-Team All-State as a wide receiver.
Dan Wagner, a 6-3, 240-pound DL/OL from Pittsburgh, Pa., was named a first-team Greater Allegheny All-Star. An athletic player with good speed for a defensive lineman, he recorded 13 sacks and 25 tackles for a loss in his senior season at Pine Richland High School. A hard-nosed player with tremendous work ethic on and off the field, Wagner has the ability to play a number of positions on either side of the football. The coaching staff is especially excited to see him utilize his athletic ability as a pass-rusher.
Will Yarborough, a 6-4, 250-pound DL/OL from Fayetteville, N.C., gives UNH yet another athletic prospect who possesses a great body frame to build upon in the weight room. He runs very well for a big man and adds speed and agility to the UNH defensive front. In his nine games played as a senior, Will registered 49 tackles (33 solo), nine deflected passes and had 13 sacks. A two-way starter as an offense and defensive tackle, he was voted the team MVP. He was a First-Team All-New England Prep as a defensive tackle .