Lucas Bavaro called it the toughest decision he's ever made, but in the days leading up to the deadline the choice became clear: He was going to play college football at Dartmouth.
Bavaro, a senior at St. John's Prep, received an offer from Dartmouth after attending a football camp there last summer. An offer from Colgate was also on the table, but the Dartmouth coaches asked Bavaro to give them a decision no later than early November.
“It really came down to Colgate and Dartmouth,” Bavaro said. “They wanted me to go early decision, so I think they needed an answer by November 5, but I didn't even need the deadline. Every day I became more and more confident with my decision.”
Bavaro, who plays tight end and an outside linebacker/strong safety hybrid position for St. John's Prep, committed to the Big Green earlier this month. He will play safety in college.
Several other Ivy League schools showed interest in Bavaro, as did FBS schools like Boston College and Connecticut. Bavaro said BC asked him to attend prep school for a year before enrolling, but he had no interest in going that route. He said Ivy League football – and an Ivy League education – had a special appeal.
“My dad [former NFL tight end Mark Bavaro] said football is not forever,” Bavaro said. “I was also thinking about life after football.”
Bavaro, an 18-year-old Boxford resident, will join former Everett High School quarterback Jonathan DiBiaso at Dartmouth next season. DiBiaso is currently attending Phillips Exeter Academy.
“When [Dartmouth] made the offer I was ecstatic,” Bavaro said. “Location was one of the factors. It's like a six-hour ride to Colgate. Dartmouth is about two hours.
“I thought about this decision every day. It feels great to get it over with.”
PINKERTON'S RISING STAR
Pinkerton Academy (Derry, N.H.) running back Manny Latimore will likely be the top-rated recruit in New Hampshire next season.
Latimore ran for 177 yards and scored two touchdowns – one on a 78-yard punt return – in Saturday's 31-21 loss to Exeter in New Hampshire's Division I championship game. Latimore rushed for 1,477 yards and 27 touchdowns during his junior season.
Latimore also starts in the defensive backfield for a Pinkerton team that has reached the Division I title game in each of the last three seasons.
“I think I've been around this long enough to know if a kid can play in college, and football is in Manny's future,” Pinkerton Academy coach Brian O'Reilly said. “I think he'll be a running back. He can run inside and he can run outside. He can also catch the ball.”
Matt Jordan (UMass), Ryan Mihalko (Notre Dame) and Joe Segreti (Holy Cross) are among the Pinkerton Academy running backs who have played in college.
“Manny has track speed and he has football speed,” O'Reilly said. “Sometimes that track speed doesn't always translate. A lot will depend on what camps he attends this summer.”
As reported on ESPN Boston earlier this week, Tabor Academy quarterback Miles Wright received a scholarship offer from UMass last weekend.
Wright transferred to Tabor Academy from Boston Latin, and is repeating his junior year. UMass has one QB in its current recruiting class: Todd Stafford of The Brunswick School in Greenwich, Conn. Stafford, a three-star recruit, committed in March.
Wright is a dual-threat quarterback who scored 23 touchdowns (12 passing) in eight games for Tabor this season.
Information regarding high school or prep school players in New England can be sent to Roger Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.