DURHAM, N.H.-- The University of New Hampshire football program has received commitments from 15 high school student-athletes who have signed national letters of intent to play for the school.
The list includes many versatile 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, third-year head football coach Sean McDonnell has addressed the graduation losses at wide receiver and defensive back, while also bolstering the roster in nearly all areas of the football field.
McDonnell has also added another local player to the roster in running back/linebacker Lee Stevens (Hampton, N.H.) out of Winnacunnet H.S.
"I'm very, very pleased with the caliber of the athletes who have committed to play for the University of New Hampshire," said McDonnell. "In continuing with last year, we feel that we have improved speed and athleticism across the board at all positions."
2001 UNH FOOTBALL RECRUITS
Name P H W Hometown/Last School
Bailey, David WR/DB 5-9 165 Bronx, N.Y./Fordham Prep.
Balestrino, Chris OL/DL 6-2 265 New Canaan, Conn./New Canaan H.S.
Beckett, Tim DL/OL 6-1 235 Gloversville, N.Y./Gloversville H.S.
Benson, Giovanni DB/RB 5-9 175 Hyde Park, Mass./Xaverian Brothers H.S.
Flenory, B.J. DB/WR 6-0 170 Pittsburgh, Pa./Valley H.S.
Harvey, R.J. RB/DB 5-9 170 Albany, N.Y./Colonie H.S.
Kokas, Jim OL/DL 6-2 270 Pineville, Pa./Central Bucks East H.S.
Kreider, Joe FB/LB 6-0 226 Mount Joy, Pa./Manheim Central H.S.
McCoy, John RB/DB 5-11 185 Groton, Conn./Northfield Mt. Hermon
Orihel, Mike QB 6-4 190 New Hope, Pa./Central Bucks West H.S.
Sundberg, Dave DL/TE 6-4 240 Erie, Pa./Fairview H.S.
Stank, Derek DE/OT 6-5 220 Etters, Pa./Red Land H.S.
Stevens, Lee RB/LB 6-0 175 Hampton, N.H./Winnacunnet H.S.
Tallman, Alan LB/FB 6-1 215 Carthage, N.Y./Carthage H.S.
Williams, Jonathan WR/LB 6-3 205 Rochester, N.Y./Irondequoit H.S.
David Bailey, a fleet 5-9, 165-pound wide receiver/defensive back from Bronx, N.Y., is an outstanding a three-sport athlete from Fordham Prep, lettering in football, basketball and track. On the oval, he was a sprinter and competed in the 100, 200 and 4x100 meter relay. As a wide receiver, Bailey had a tremendously productive senior campaign in which he caught 42 passes for 798 yards and 14 touchdowns. His career numbers feature 79 catches for 1,427 yards with a total of 26 grabs for paydirt. Named the team MVP, Bailey was named both All-City and All-Conference in his junior and senior seasons and was a second-team All-State selection.
Chris Balestrino, a 6-2, 265-pound offensive lineman/defensive lineman from New Canaan, Conn., is an explosive and athletic player who is a highly-regarded two-way starter out of New Canaan High School. For his outstanding efforts on the field, Balestrino was named a "New Haven Register" All-State selection, first-team All-State by the "Connecticut Post", first-team All-State by the state coaches and he was first-team All-Fairfield County. A tri-captain of his high school football team, he was a force on defense, leading his team in sacks.
Tim Beckett, a 6-1, 235-pound defensive lineman/offensive lineman from Gloversville, N.Y., is a tenacious effort player who experienced early success in his career by being named first-team All-Foothills County as a sophomore. From his position as a defensive end, he averaged 10.0 tackles per contest during his senior campaign. As a result of his performances, he was named second-team All-State, first-team All-Conference and was honored as a "Times Union" and "Amsterdam Record" All-Star defensive end.
Giovanni Benson, a 5-9, 175-pound defensive back/running back from Hyde Park, Mass., is a quick and explosive player with great speed. He has been timed with a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash and a 4.1 shuttle run. His
athletic ability will help the Wildcats on either side of the football. His athleticism helped him to become a "Boston Herald" All-Scholastic selection. He was also a two-time Catholic Conference and Neponset Valley All-Star and was named a "Super Prep All-New England" choice this year. During his career at Xaverian, he compiled over 2,500 all-purpose yards and scored 28 touchdowns. Benson will also help UNH with the return game.
B.J. Flenory, a 6-0, 170-pound defensive back/wide receiver from Pittsburgh, Pa., proved to be a huge play-maker at Valley H.S. where he recorded nine rushing touchdowns, one receiving touchdown and one kickoff return for paydirt, all during his senior season. On the defensive side of the ball, he also checked in with five interceptions and was named first-team All-Greater Allegheny Conference. He was also named to the "East Tribune" Top 25 and he received Pittsburgh East Terrific 22 honors as a DB. Named a captain of the team during his senior season, Flenory has been a captain of the special teams since the 10th grade.
R.J. Harvey, a 5-9, 170-pound running back/defensive back from Albany, N.Y., possesses outstanding speed with a 4.45 in the forty and 10.6 in the 100 meters on the track. He has great vision and quickness, which helped him to gain 1,200 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns in his senior year, good enough to earn him first-team All-Suburban Council and first-team All-Capital District. He was also named a "Times Union" All-Star tailback and first-team All-Conference. In addition to football and track, Harvey was a three-sport athlete, also excelling on the basketball team.
Jim Kokas, a 6-2, 270-pound offensive lineman/defensive lineman from Pineville, Pa., is a strong and physical two-way lineman. His mobility will allow him to play either guard or center for the Wildcats. He was named All-League on the offensive line at Central Bucks East H.S. A two-sport athlete, Kokas recorded a throw of 52-7 in the shot put as a member of the track and field team. For his efforts on the football field, Kokas was also named a "Philadelphia Inquirer" All-Area selection and he was named Most Valuable Lineman at CBEHS.
Joe Kreider, a 6-0, 226-pound fullback/linebacker out of Mount Joy, Pa., is a physical force carrying on the tradition from Manheim Central. He is the brother of former Wildcat fullback Dan Kreider and was a teammate of present Wildcat linebacker Tanner Strickler. Kreider, who played on a 13-1 team as a senior and was 39-3 in his high school career, carried the football 112 times for 862 yards as a fullback and recorded 154 tackles as a linebacker. An outstanding player on both sides of the ball, Kreider was first-team All-Section and first-team All-District at both positions, and he was first-team All-State as a linebacker. He was also named the Section 2 Linebacker of the Year.
John McCoy, a 5-11, 185-pound running back/defensive back from Groton, Conn., was an outstanding and versatile athlete out of the backfield at Northfield Mt. Hermon. Not only is he a powerful runner with great speed, but he also possesses good hands as a receiver. John also has outstanding kick return ability. During the 2000 season, he recorded 14 rushing touchdowns, three punt returns for touchdowns, one kickoff return for six points and he made two catches for paydirt. In eight games played, he rushed for 800 yards. He received several honors for his efforts on the gridiron, including All-New England Prep and twice being named All-State after compiling over 2,700 rushing yards during his career at Fitch H.S.
Mike Orihel, a 6-4, 190-pound quarterback from New Hope, Pa., comes to UNH from the highly-regarded Central Bucks West football program. During his senior campaign, he completed 96x157 passes for 1,523 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also carried the football 36 times for 298 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 8.03 yards per carry. Over his career at CBWHS, Orihel completed 222 of 395 passes for 3,659 yards and 44 touchdowns. His overall record as a starting quarterback was 41-1. Orihel was a "PrepStar Magazine" All-Regional selection, first-team All-Intelligence as a senior, first-team All-League as a senior and he was the first sophomore quarterback to start at CBWHS in 32 years. His team was ranked in the top 10 in the nation every year he competed, and as high as third in the nation in 1999 by the "Fox Sports Network" and fourth by "USA Today".
Dave Sundberg, a 6-4, 240-pound defensive lineman/tight end from Erie, Pa., is a two-way athlete who will give the Wildcats athletic ability on either side of the ball. He led the Fairview H.S. squad in tackles with 48 assists and 35 solos in 10 games played during his senior season. As a tight end, he recorded 12 catches for 136 yards, including one touchdown. A first-team All-Erie County selection, he also averaged 15.0 ppg. and 8.0 rpg. as a basketball player at Fairview.
Derek Stank, a 6-5, 220-pound defensive end/offensive tackle out of Etters, Pa., was first-team All-Conference at Red Land H.S. and played in the Mid-Penn All-Star Game. Derek has tremendous speed and quickness and has run a 4.8 forty. He also has a vertical jump of 31 inches. His athleticism and speed will help improve the Wildcat pass rush. A recipient of the Red Land Scholar Athlete Award, Stank also competed on the track and field team as a thrower and triple-jumper.
Lee Stevens, a 6-0, 175-pound running back/linebacker out of Hampton, N.H., adds another Granite-Stater to the UNH football roster as a player out of Winnacunnet H.S. An outstanding two-way competitor, he helped to lead the squad to a Division II state title. He led the team in both rushing and total tackles and was named the team MVP. As a result of his efforts, he was named All-State at linebacker. He was also named to the "Foster's Daily Democra" Seacoast Dream Team, the "Boston Globe's" All-Scholastic squad, and he was honored as the "Portsmouth Herald" Fall Athlete of the Year.
Alan Tallman, a 6-1, 215-pound linebacker/fullback from Carthage, N.Y., is another outstanding all-around athlete. Tallman registered 175 tackles, four forced fumbles, two blocked kicks and one interception as a linebacker at Carthage H.S. He is a ferocious hitter and has a knack for making the big plays. On the offensive side of the ball, Tallman carried the football 120 times for 508 yards and notched nine receptions for 144 yards and eight touchdowns. As a result of his efforts on the field, he was named first-team All-North Country, All-Central New York and All-State.
Jonathan Williams, a 6-3, 205-pound wide receiver/linebacker from Rochester, N.Y., will help fill the void for a big, physical wide receiver. He was named the Monroe County Division III Player of the Year. As a receiver, he grabbed 31 receptions for 505 yards and three touchdowns during his senior campaign. Williams holds the Irondequoit H.S. all-time record for receiving yards with 1,157 yards. On defense, he averaged eight tackles per contest from his outside linebacker position. As a gridder, he was named an All-Greater Rochester All-Star as a senior. An outstanding all-around athlete, he excells on the hoop court where he was also named a touchdown.