College recruiters love their pipelines.
And lately, those seeking defensive backs will make their way up Revere Beach Parkway to Everett High. And at the congruence of Memorial Drive and Soldiers Field Road, it’s OK to start calling Buckingham, Browne & Nichols “tight end U”.
With his national letter of intent signing on Wednesday to Stanford University — the first day of the inaugural “early signing period” — Jay Symonds is the latest in a line of jack-of-all-trades offensive edge talent to go on to play college football programs.
First under John Papas and now under current coach Mike Willey, the Knights have produced their fair share of fullback/tight end types, from Blake Barker (Harvard) and Brendan O’Neil (Wake Forest) to Gerry Nvule (Colby) and Adam Buchanan (Princeton).
The 6-foot-4, 257-pound Symonds scored four touchdowns and averaged 17.5 yards per catch in an injury-shortened 2017 campaign. He lined up detached from the formation on roughly half the plays over his career in Cambridge, playing every position but quarterback or offensive line. That should make him a nice fit in coach David Shaw’s offense, which often uses players of Symonds’s skill set in a garden-variety “H-back” role.
The Melrose resident also held offers from Pitt, Wisconsin and Boston College at the time of his commitment to the Cardinal.
“He’s one of those guys that’s so multi-faceted, so big and strong, but he’s got such great hands coming in and out of routes,” Willey said. “He’s developed a lot of different skills. It’s been kind of nice for him to play so many different positions for us.”
It’s been a stellar overall for Independent School League talent, with three Lawrence Academy players signing with Boston College. In addition, Brooks tight end Pat Freiermuth (Penn State), Belmont Hill wide receiver Jake Bobo (Duke) and St. Sebastian’s lineman Jonathan Duke (UConn) are all going D1.
And in recent years, small-school sensations have routinely popped up to be among the region’s most coveted.
This year, that honor belongs to former Matignon High standout Badara Traore, once a barely-recruited tackle out of the small Cambridge-based parochial school who rose to become one of the nation’s most sought-after junior college linemen after two years at Brooklyn, N.Y.’s A.S.A. College.
The massive Hyde Park teen, measuring 6-feet-8, 315 pounds, signed with LSU on Wednesday after committing to the Tigers earlier this month over the likes of Texas, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Georgia and Florida, among others.
A list of high school/prep football players that signed national letters of intent on Wednesday:
QBAlex Beesmer, Milton Academy (Lehigh)
OL Ryan Betro, Lawrence Academy (Boston College)
WR Jake Bobo, Belmont Hill (Duke)
TE Jerrod Clark, Brighton (Coastal Carolina)
OL Finn Dirstine, Lawrence Academy (Boston College)
QB Bret Edwards, Central Catholic (New Hampshire)
RB Max Faro, Central Catholic (Brown)
TE Pat Freiermuth, Brooks (Penn State)
OL Payton Heidtke, Andover (Bryant)
QB Elijah Jeffreys, Somerville (UConn)
TE Joey Luchetti, Lawrence Academy (Boston College)
DB Jason Maitre, Everett (Boston College)
OL Osho Omoyeni, Central Catholic (New Hampshire)
WR Jarrett Martin, Catholic Memorial (Bryant)
RB Jack McNeil, Marshfield (Bryant)
OL Jonathan Pace, St. Sebastian’s (UConn)
WR Jiovanny Pierre, Somerville (Central Connecticut)
LB Bryce Shaw, Bridgewater-Raynham (Navy)
FB Jay Symonds, BB&N (Stanford)
WR David Zorrilla, Everett (Bryant)