Know this about Exeter (N.H.) High School kicker Logan Laurent: He's dedicated to his craft.
Even when he was talking to a reporter on the phone Wednesday night, Laurent had a football in the other hand practicing the correct way to drop the ball before a punt.
“I walk around the house with a football in my hand all the time,” Laurent said. “Stuff like that has to be second nature.”
Laurent's dedication paid off this week when he gave a verbal commitment to play for the University of Massachusetts. Laurent said UMass recruited him primarily as a punter and that his scholarship money will kick in starting with the 2014 season.
“They want me to join the program as a walk-on and be a red-shirt next season, then I'll be on scholarship for the next four years,” Laurent said. “That's unless I earn a starting job.”
Laurent helped Exeter win New Hampshire's Division I championship in his junior and senior seasons. The Blue Hawks beat Pinkerton Academy of Derry each year.
"Everything heated up pretty quickly with UMass after the season," Laurent said. "I kind of figured out that I wanted to play close to home, and it's cool that UMass plays its home games at Gillette Stadium.
"(UMass head coach) Charley Molnar has been at some big schools and I loved his energy. I think the program has a lot of promise."
The University of New Hampshire was the only other school that offered Laurent a scholarship. He said Dartmouth, East Carolina, Elon, Minnesota and North Carolina are among the other schools that showed significant interest.
“A lot of the bigger schools wanted me to spend a year in prep school,” Laurent said. “I kind of figured out that I wanted to play close to home. UMass is a little more distance from home than UNH, which gives me some comfort. UNH did a great job recruiting me.”
Laurent, who played varsity soccer as a sophomore, made 41 of his 42 extra-point attempts and four of five field goal attempts last season. Thirty-six of his 54 kickoffs resulted in touchbacks.
"He really works at it," Exeter coach Bill Ball said. "He travels all over the place to attend camps. He's also really athletic. If we had a decathlon at the school he'd win it. His upside, down the road, could be huge."
Although Laurent was better known for his kickoffs and place-kicking in high school, he said he isn't surprised UMass wants to bring him in as a punter.
“I have the build (6-foot-4, 210 pounds) of someone who will punt and handle kickoffs,” he said. “The smaller, quicker guys are better suited for field goals, because they can get the ball in the air in a hurry.
“They said I'd have the chance to compete for the placekicking job, but I'm just looking forward to playing college football at the highest level.”
COGGINS STILL UNDECIDED
With less than a month remaining before national signing day (Feb. 6), Sacred Hart (Waterbury, Conn.) wide receiver David Coggins is the highest-rated uncommitted New England recruit.
Coggins committed to Boston College in July, but de-committed in September. Coggins missed all of his junior season with an ankle injury, and was suspended for four games last season after his legal guardian received money from former Naugatuck High School coach Rob Plasky. Coggins had announced his intention to transfer to Naugatuck, but remained at Sacred Heart
Everett's John Montelus, a four-star offensive lineman, suffered an injury to his left shoulder during practice last week and played a limited role in the East's 15-8 victory over the West in Saturday's U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
“I didn't really recover that well, but I did get in there a little bit,” Montelus said. “I was basically blocking with one shoulder. There were a lot of Division I guys and it felt great to play against them. I liked the challenge.”
Montelus, the top-rated recruit in Massachusetts, has committed to Notre Dame.
Recruiting information regarding high school or prep school players in New England can be sent to Roger Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.