Former ESPN Boston All-State quarterback Drew Belcher of Reading High gave a verbal commitment to the University of Maine last night, ending a long period of recruitment that at times was an exercise in patience.
The 6-foot-3, 214-pound Belcher had a smattering of interest across the Division 1 FCS landscape, with offers from Albany, Lafayette and Bryant, as well as varying interest from Delaware and Villanova. After totaling 2,200 yards of offense and 21 touchdowns this season for the 8-2 Rockets, he graduates as the school's all-time winningest quarterback, going 29-6 with an unbeaten Super Bowl run in 2012.
Belcher took a visit to the Orono, Maine campus this past weekend, and it only took a few days before he made up his mind. He is the first Bay Stater to commit to the Black Bears for the 2014 recruiting class, and there could be more coming -- sources told ESPNBoston.com over the weekend that All-State BC High linebacker Connor Walsh was also on campus at the same time as Belcher.
Relieved that the recruiting process is over, Belcher shared some thoughts with ESPNBoston.com this afternoon:
Deciding factors in his decision: "Overall, they have a really strong football program. I really like the coaches, they definitely have good academics on campus, and I really like the kids on the team there, those were the main things."
On if Maine's strong history of player development factored in: "Absolutely, [especially] after I got to meet with coach [Kevin] Bourgoin, who's the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. They really preach how they can get everything, all of the potential out of their players. They really push to get the max out of you, and that was something that was important."
On how his Tebow-ish playing style will translate: "From their offense, it is extremely similar to ours. I was able to see that kind of stuff on my visit up there. Coach Bourgoin said they have similar concepts, that the only real thing I'll have to adjust to is the terminology. He showed me some of their stuff and it's so similar, so that played a big part."
What the Black Bears like best about him: "Coach Bourgoin was saying they really love how I have a strong arm, I'm able to stay in the pocket and make all the throws, but also get out of the pocket and throw on the run. Being able to run from the quarterback position pretty effectively is another big thing on offense."
On the rumors he might have to switch to tight end in college: "I don’t think any college approached me to switch positions at all. Quarterback is really the position I love."
On leaving Reading as one of its all-time winningest quarterbacks: "It's definitely one of the greatest honors to have, but then it also speaks to the great players I've been around. There's been a lot of great quarterbacks at Reading, and to be among them is definitely a great honor."
On the relief of the recruiting process finally ending: "It's definitely huge. Obviously I don't have to be taking any more visits, or having to call coaches. I know where I'm going now, so the focus is to get ready for next season at Maine."