DURHAM, N.H.-- The University of New Hampshire football program has received 12 commitments from high school student-athletes who have signed national letters of intent to play for the school.
The list includes many outstanding athletic players who will help the Wildcats at multiple positions on the football field. In an effort to fill the needs of the squad, fifth-year head football coach Sean McDonnell and his staff have addressed needs at nearly all positions on the football team, but especially the offensive and defensive lines.
McDonnell has also signed one player from the Granite State in 6-2, 220-pound TE/LB Sean Lynch, a resident of Salem who played at Salem High School and then went on to compete at Bridgton Academy.
"This class with its caliber of athlete will add greater depth to our football program here a the University of New Hampshire said McDonnell. "We have fulfilled our need for more offensive and defensive linemen and have brought in some very talented skill position players as well."
2003 UNH FOOTBALL RECRUITS
Name P H W Hometown/Last School
John Belko OL 6-6 250 North Andover, Mass./St. John's Prep
Aaron Brown WR/FS 6-3 190 Central Square, N.Y./Central Square HS
Nick Diana OL 6-2 275 Bellmore, N.Y./Mepham HS
Skyler Dugger OL/DL 6-0 290 Princeton, N.J./The Hun School
Brandon Graham OL/DL 6-4 270 Teaneck, N.J./St. Mary's HS
Corey Graham RB/WR/DB 5-11 190 Buffalo, N.Y./Turner Carroll HS
Sean Lynch TE/LB 6-2 220 Salem, N.H./Salem HS/Bridgton Academy
Matt Martorelli OL/DL 6-3 285 W. Hartford, Conn./Northwest Catholic HS
Ricky Santos QB 6-2 195 Bellingham, Mass./Bellingham HS
Danny Sullivan TE/DE 6-2 230 Everett, Mass./Everett HS
Chris Ward RB/DB 6-1 205 Waltham, Mass./Waltham HS
Justin Wright RB/DB 5-10 185 Providence, R.I./St. Raphael's Academy
John Belko, a 6-6, 250-pound OL from North Andover, Mass., enters UNH as the tallest of the new recruits and is an athletic lineman who possesses good speed and quick feet. A two-year starter for Jim O'Leary at St. John's Prep, Belko played for a team that won two consecutive Catholic Conference Championships. He was also a first-team All-Conference selection and will add size and speed to the offensive line.
Aaron Brown, a 6-3, 190-pound WR/FS out of Central Square, N.Y., who played under Bert Conklin at Central Square HS, caught 21 passes for 381 yards for an average of 18.1 yards per reception and also grabbed three TDS last season. He led Oswego County in both receptions and yards, while also rushing the football 33 times for 179 yards (5.4 yards per carry) and four touchdowns. On the defensive side of the ball, Brown registered 51 tackles and two interceptions. Brown was a three-year starter at CSHS and was named first-team all-league, He was also selected team MVP in 2002 and was a three-sport standout in football, basketball and track.
Nick Diana, a 6-2, 275-pound OL from Bellmore, N.Y., enjoyed an outstanding career as a two-way lineman at Mepham HS. Expected to play at OC or OG for the Wildcats, Nick earned numerous honors and awards, including being named all-conference during his sophomore and senior campaigns. He was also voted all-county and was the runner up for the Martone Award, which is given to the top lineman in Nassau County. Head coach Kevin McElroy has said that "Nick is the best lineman he has ever coached at MHS." Nick was also an outstanding baseball player during his freshman and sophomore years, but gave up the sport to concentrate on football.
Skyler Dugger, a 6-0, 290-pound OL/DL from Princeton, N.J., was a leader in the trenches at The Hun School as a two-way lineman. He possesses a very quick first step and did a tremendous job at penetrating the line of scrimmage and putting pressure on the quarterback. He had 62 total tackles,18 for a loss, as a senior and was tremendous in the quarterback sack department with 12. As a result of his strong efforts, Dugger was named first team all-prep, first-team all-state and first-team all-conference. His former head coach Dave Dudeck said that "Dugger's combination of strength and quickness made him a dominant player on the offensive and defensive lines this year."
Brandon Graham, a 6-4, 270-pound OL/DL from Teaneck, N.J., is a young player who developed into a great player in his last two years under head coach Mike Sheridan at St. Mary's HS. Brandon showed great athletic ability as a big man and was capable of running, pulling and delivering a tremendous punch at the point of attack on the line. He dominated the competition on both sides of the football. As a result of his efforts, Brandon was named a two-time All-Bergen County selection, while also being named the team's Offensive Lineman of the Year. He was also a team captain. Sheriden said of Graham, "He has demonstrated a tremendous work ethic both on and off the field and he has pushed his teammates and himself to get better every day."
Corey Graham, a 5-11, 190-pound RB/WR/DB skill position player from Buffalo, N.Y., rushed for 1,406 yards on 157 carries during his senior season, while also scoring 22 touchdowns in nine games played at Turner Carroll HS. An outstanding all-purpose player, he compiled an average of 245 all-purpose yards per contest. On the defensive side of the ball as a defensive back, Graham recorded an impressive total of 99 tackles, while also coming up with two interceptions. One of the top players in his area, Graham was a finalist in the Connelly Cup selection, which is awarded to the top player in Western, N.Y. He is a three-sport athlete and a captain in both basketball and track.
Sean Lynch, a 6-2, 220-pound TE/LB from Salem, N.H. is another of several Granite Staters who will be on the UNH roster this coming season. While playing football at Salem HS, Lynch played on both sides of the football as a tight end and defensive back and was named second-team all-state as a TE his junior year and first-team all-state at the same position as a senior. He was also named team MVP in his final season at SHS, was a team captain and went on to play in the annual Shrine Game. While at Bridgton Academy, Lynch played linebacker in a 4-3 defense and was the team's defensive captain. He is currently enrolled for the spring semester at UNH and will be able to take part in spring football practice this year.
Matt Martorelli, a 6-3, 285-pound OL/DL from West Hartford, Conn., played football for only two seasons but developed into a first-team all-state selection at Northwest Catholic HS. He started as an offensive guard during his junior campaign and then went on to start on both sides of the football at guard and defensive tackle during his senior year. Named the team MVP as a senior, Martorelli was a very aggressive defensive lineman and recorded an impressive 12 sacks on the season.
Ricky Santos, a 6-2, 195-pound QB from Bellingham, Mass., is considered one of the top quarterbacks in Massachusetts as evidenced by his 35 touchdown passes last season and 77 career TDs, both good for second-best ever in state history. The Division 5 Player Of the Year for the past two seasons at Bellingham HS, Santos rushed for over 1,000 yards and passed for over 1,000 two consecutive times. This past fall, he threw for 2,402 yards and for his career he moved the football 5,750 yards through the air. On the ground in 2002, he rushed125 times for 1,145 yards and 10 TDs. His career rushing stats are 337 attempts for 2,842 yards and 42 TDs as a four-year starter. On the defensive side of the football, Santos recorded 48 tackles, six interceptions and four fumble recoveries as a safety. As a result of his strong play, Santos was named all-state as a senior, was a Metro West Player of the Year during his junior and senior seasons and he was a two-time Tri-Valley League MVP.
Danny Sullivan, a 6-2, 230-pound TE/DE, from Everett, Mass., was an outstanding two-way player at Everett HS. As a TE, he recorded three touchdown receptions in 2001 and six in 2002. As a defensive end, he spent a lot of time in the offensive backfield with 18 sacks as a junior and an impressive mark of 23 as a senior. A two-time Greater Boston League All-Star, Sullivan was a Boston Globe All-Scholastic selection, a Boston Herald All-Scholastic, team MVP, all-state and he was selected to play in the Shriner's All-Star game.
Chris Ward, a 6-1, 205-pound RB/DB, from Waltham, Mass., was injured during preseason camp but ran for 1,036 yards in just five games last season. He also rushed for 1,005 yards during his junior campaign as a starter. Ward was a Greater Boston League All-Star in his junior and senior seasons, was named the News Tribune Player Of The Year in 2002, and a Boston Globe All-Scholastic in his junior and senior seasons. An outstanding track performer as well, Ward recorded a mark of 6-2 in the high jump and a 4.50 in the 40-yard dash. His top vertical jump is 34.5.
Justin Wright, a 5-10, 185-pound RB/DB from Providence, R.I., was an outstanding two-way player for head coach Mike Sassy at St. Raphael's Academy in Pawtucket, R.I. Justin was named a first-team all-state running back after rushing for over 1,700 yards and 16 touchdowns. Wright was also a very physical player on defense and led the Saint's defense with 92 tackles on his way to earning team MVP honors.