New England prospects take in UMass practice

We were over in Amherst Saturday at UMass’ first padded practice of the spring, and we were far from the only visitors on hand to watch the Minutemen.

UMass had a pretty significant presence of prospects, from class of 2027 to class of 2024. Most of the ones we saw on hand were from New England programs, but there were some from other states mixed in.

We are going to concentrate on the New England players on hand, though. Specifically, we wanted to look at c/o 2025 Springfield Central (Mass.) wide receiver Dwayne Early and 2024 Methuen (Mass.) quarterback Drew Eason.

Each player is one of the top prospects in his respective class, although to the best of our knowledge neither holds a UMass offer as of yet. That does not mean neither will going forward. It is still relatively early in the process.

Early recently earned a Pitt offer, and that is expected to be the first of many for him. At 6-foot-4, 192 pounds, Early has the type of college recruiters covet, and he has the speed to match. Early seemed to like what he saw from the Minutemen.

“It felt good (to get the Pitt offer),” Early said. “I know I have to keep working if I want to keep it up.”

Early had his eyes on his position group on Saturday.

“Just looking at the wide receivers, seeing the energy of the practice, the coaches. All that stuff,” Early said of what he was watching the closest.

Of his goals of the fall, Early said, “We’re just trying to get back (to the state title game) and win it.”

Eason is one of the top quarterbacks in New England and has plenty of interest from basically every FCS and FBS program in New England. He has started at Methuen since his sophomore year, and is poised for another deep playoff run with the Rangers.

We asked Eason what he’s looking for in a school.

“Honestly, I’m looking for a place where I can call home, where I feel everyone around me only wants the best out of me and just helps me elevate to the next part of my game, but also in life,” Eason said. “Help me get to where I want to be in life. I’m trying to look toward a medical field in a major. I’m kind of undecided yet. Anything that can help me get to the next step, whether it’s I play professionally, or if it’s a doctor. We’ll see. Who knows? We’ll see. And play a high level of football, of course.”

It was an interesting mix of prospects. One school that had a heavy presence was NEPSAC outfit Williston Northampton. Williston brought at least eight players that we could count. This is a program that is loaded right now, led by coach Tom Beaton.

On Saturday, Williston brought Malik Diaby (CB, 2024), James Elliott (WR, 2024), Nate Ellis (ATH, 2026), Rowan Martin (ATH, 2027), Carmelo N’Kumbu (DE, 2026), Dean Ruksnaitis (OL, 2026), Joshua Schuetzmann (OL, 2024), and Rylan Shibley (DE, 2025).

Other prospects on hand included:

JJ Bright, RB, Souhegan (NH), 2024
Preston Dzuibina, TE, Ansonia (Conn.), 2024
Jett Elllis, OL, Shrewsbury (Mass.), 2025
Romy Jain, QB, Souhegan (NH), 2025
Caidan Martin, DE, East Longmeadow (Mass.), 2026
AJ Mihalak, DE, St. Paul’s (NH), 2024
Ben Mulcahy, DL, Longmeadow (Mass.), 2024
Jacob Romanowski, OL, Ansonia (Conn.), 2026
Dominic Rijos, OL, Springfield Central (Mass.), 2025
Jayden White, OL, Springfield Central (Mass.), 2025
Dante Snoonian, DE, BB&N (Mass.), 2027
Vince Snoonian, WR, BB&N (Mass.), 2027
Marcus Sukkar, DL, Bishop Hendricken (RI), 2024