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Thursday, June 22, 2017: Nottingham star lands late football scholarship

   Leading off today: Jaleel Berry may not have been participating in a television game show, but he landed himself a heck of a parting gift.

   After sweating out SAT scores this semester, the Nottingham senior has landed a football scholarship from Boston College. reported that BC assistant coach Paul Pasqualoni (yes, the former Syracuse head coach) visited the school recently to make the offer official and Berry signed during a ceremony Tuesday.

   The fifth-team all-state defensive lineman (see full team here) will report to campus Sunday following Nottingham's graduation a day earlier. He'll play defensive tackle for the Eagles.

   "It was like a dream come true," Berry said. "Signing on the dotted line, it was like everything was in front of me. Being able to experience a full higher education is just amazing. Everything I've done and worked to be in this position all paid off."

   More football: A couple of very large players managed to sneak past me in recent days with college commitment announcements. Erasmus Hall offensive tackle Matt Jones picked Ohio State and Tottenville linebacker Zihir Lacewell selected Rutgers.

   I'm probably missing someone, but I think the list of New York Class of 2018 commitments to FBS programs looks like this at the moment:

  • Antonio Colclough, Cardinal Hayes, DL, Temple.
  • Gabe Horan, Baldwinsville, TE, Syracuse.
  • Elijah Jones, Cardinal Hayes, WR, Boston College.
  • Matt Jones, Erasmus Hall, OL, Ohio State.
  • Zihir Lacewell, Tottenville, LB, Rutgers.
  • Matt Valecce, Fordham Prep, QB, Boston College.
  • Trill Williams, Archbishop Stepinac, DB, Syracuse.
   For what it's worth, early indications are that we're heading for one of the state's better crops of Division I signees in recent memories.

   Shocker: We're sure to hear more about this in coming days, but Mike Oliva has been ousted as the football and baseball coach at Pearl River. Kevin Devaney Jr. of News 12 Varsity tweeted extensively about it Wednesday night.

   Oliva told Devaney he was stunned at the news, which came less than a month after he guided the school to its first sectional baseball championship since 1984.

   Oliva also said he did not believe the firing was related to him interviewing for the Nyack football job this week, though I wouldn't be too quick to dismiss that as at least a factor.

   Statewide honors: Daniel Claxton and Sammy Watson have been named New York's track athletes of the year by Gatorade.

   Claxton, a Smithtown East senior bound for UConn in the fall, just won the high jump at the New Balance Nationals as a follow-up to his NYSPHSAA championship. His season-best leap was 7-1.75.

   He's the first vertical jumps specialist to win the New York boys honor since Centereach's Joe Galeano (also an exceptional hurdler) in 1987.


  • NYSPHSAA boys lacrosse brackets
  • 2017 statewide boys lacrosse playoff summary
  • NYSPHSAA girls lacrosse brackets
  • NYSPHSAA baseball brackets
  • NYSPHSAA softball brackets
  • Past years' brackets

  •    Watson recently capped an extraordinary career at Rush-Henrietta by signing a Letter of Intent with Texas A&M and winning the 800 meters at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor unchallenged in 2:05.7. Her season-best time of 2:00.78 in the 800 was the nation's fastest this spring.

       Watson and Sachem basketball great Nicole Kaczmarski (1997, '98, '99) are the only New York girls ever to three-peat as a Gatorade award winner.

       Girls hoops commitments: Eastern Michigan has taken a liking to girls basketball prospects from New York.

       Cardinal O'Hara junior forward Kiara Johnson announced her commitment to the Mid-American Conference school this week after attracting the attention of several mid-majors with a strong start to her AAU season.

       Jenna Annecchiarico, Baldwin's outstanding rising senior guard, committed to Eastern Michigan last month.

       Why the sudden interest in New York by the Eagles, who had no New York graduates on the roster last season? That's a good question. There are New York connections on the staff, but no deep roots to the state.

       Head coach Fred Castro was briefly an assistant at Albany, where assistant Cassandra Callaway played. Another assistant, Adam Call, was previously on the staff at Stony Brook.

       Maybe the biggest name in the Eastern Michigan basketball department is assistant coach Abi Olajuwan, the daughter of the NBA great.

        • Binghamton Seton Catholic point guard Hanna Strawn, second-team all-state as a junior after helping her team romp to NYSPHSAA and Federation Class B championships, has committed to Brown.

       Strawn had previously committed to St. Bonaventure but reopened her recruitment after the departure of coach Jim Crowley to Providence.

        • Carly Reynolds of Clarence has committed to Central Connecticut State.

       HOF inductee dies: Wendy Herm, a distinguished three-sport athlete during her days at Minisink Valley, died June 7 at the age of 40.

       Herm, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor three years ago, was inducted into the New York State Softball Hall of Fame in 2014.

       Herm was the 1995 Times Herald-Record Player of the Year in softball and carried a .408 career batting average. She also racked up 64 career goals in soccer and 1,227 points in basketball. She went on to play softball for Princeton.

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