Matt Vezza is ready to take on the next challenge.
The York senior quarterback closed out his career with a dominating two-year run to lift the 100-plus-year-old program to new heights.
Now, after earning several postseason individual honors, Vezza takes on a bigger challenge at New Hampshire. The Suburban Life Player of the Year committed to play for UNH last week after sifting through offers from Drake and Dayton, a preferred walk-on from Northwestern and offers from a few Division II and III schools.
Vezza said he’s excited to prove himself in college.
“It felt great to finally commit and be done with the process,” he said. “It’s a very gruesome process, but I think I did everything right and it ended up working out for me.
“I’ve never really been the favorite to do big things. I’ve been overlooked quite a bit. That’s why I’ve always had a huge chip on my shoulder to get better every day and prove how great I can be. This mindset only continues from here on out.”
Vezza wrapped up his stellar career by passing for 2,028 yards and 21 touchdowns with only five interceptions to lead York to the first 9-0 regular season in the 102-year history of the program and the Class 8A semifinals. He rushed for 637 yards and scored six touchdowns. His athleticism, toughness, leadership and intelligence are all traits the UNH staff liked that prompted them to offer him a full scholarship.
Vezza said he visited the UNH campus in the summer and made an official visit a few weekends ago.
“The coaching staff is incredible and I could really see myself building a strong relationship with my head coach and position coach,” Vezza said.
A fast learner
Fenwick senior Joep Engbers started playing football in his freshman year.
On Feb. 1, the standout offensive/defensive lineman signed with Illinois.
In between, he attended the prestigious IMG Academy in Florida.
Engbers said he’s experienced a whirlwind ride in his short career.
“My [parents] are from Europe, so moving to Texas in my freshman year was the first time [football] was really brought to our attention to play sports in college,” Engbers said. “I got into football my freshman year, then made varsity. But I then wanted something bigger, so I went to IMG Academy to get my name out there but also to work on myself as an athlete. That helped me out a lot because my footwork wasn’t the best and then I came to Fenwick for my last year, where I learned the most.”
The 6-foot-4, 320-pounder said Illinois checked a lot of boxes for him. Engbers said he had five offers.
“I really could see myself becoming the best version of myself there with their top-notch facilities and coaching,” he said. “I realized it after my official visit. It was an eye-opener meeting with the coaching staff and sitting with them to see what my role would be. They’ve talked about using me at nose tackle.”
Not ready to pick a sport
Wheaton Warrenville South’s Braylen Meredith spent Feb. 1 on the sidelines. At one point in his career, Meredith’s future plans included playing football in college. In the midst of a breakout season in basketball, Meredith is weighing his options for college.
A first-team All-DuKane Conference selection at wide receiver, the 6-6 Meredith surely will add all-conference basketball honors this season.
“Both sports are drawing interest for me,” Meredith said. “Recently, I’ve spoken to Dominican University for basketball and Roosevelt University for football. I’ve started leaning toward basketball with interest from Division III schools such as Elmhurst, North Park, Illinois Wesleyan and Waubonsee College.”
Glenbard West senior Joey Pope made a verbal commitment to Western Michigan. ... IC Catholic Prep junior wide receiver/defensive back KJ Parker recently added offers from Northern Illinois and Marshall. ... Nazareth sophomore defensive lineman Gabe Kaminski has added an offer from Northwestern.