St. Luke seniors Reiph and Archey commit to college teams
Zaire Reiph and Jake Archey were all smiles Tuesday afternoon in the St. Luke's gymnasium, as the two St. Luke's seniors officially signed on to play college sports.
Reiph will be playing football for Division-II Stonehill, and Archey will be playing baseball for Division-I SUNY Binghamton.
An audience of about 40 students, teachers, parents and coaches was on hand to witness Reiph and Archey sign on with their respective colleges and pose for a few snapshots with their parents and coaches.
"Right now I'm very excited. You dream of this as a little kid growing up and going through the recruiting process, and to have it happen is still kind of surreal," Reiph said.
"This is really nice, what the school's doing for me. It's definitely a nice little celebration," Archey said.
During the fall of 2010, Reiph's final season as a member of the St. Luke's football team, the senior running back carried the ball 121 times for 1,080 yards and 14 touchdowns, an average of 8.93 yards per carry and 135 yards per game during his team's 6-2 campaign. Reiph also registered 59 tackles on the defensive side of the ball, good for second most on the team.
Even so, Reiph is expecting an array of new challenges at the college football level.
"The speed is going to be a lot different. Mainly it's going to be about knowing the game plan," Reiph said. "There's going to be a lot of mental aspects to the game now. There's going to be a lot of going to meetings, going through the playbook, learning the schemes."
Reiph had several offers to consider before choosing Stonehill.
"It mainly came down to choosing between Sacred Heart or Stonehill," Reiph said "I felt that I had to weight at the pros and cons, and it came out that Stonehill was the place that I wanted really bad. Their coach told me that I was their number one recruit, and I felt at home there."
Reiph also runs track and plays on the St. Luke's lacrosse team, though he is unsure if he will play this season due to his commitment to the Stonehill football team.
Archey, who also played football and basketball while attending St. Luke's, indicated that he had no reservations in picking baseball as his college sport. Like Reiph, his former teammate on the football team, Archey also got to choose between several schools.
"What it really came down to was I just felt like Binghamton really liked me," Archey said. "What I really liked about my visit up there was just meeting the guys after going to dinner with them. In the morning they get up into the [batting] cages ready to hit. Just non-stop working. That's what I'm nervous for, anxious for, ready to get going with that because it's a lot of hard work."
Archey and the rest of the St. Luke's baseball squad will have their first practice in about a week, and he indicated that he intends for his last season at St. Luke's to be a special one.
"Last year we had kind of an up and down season," Archey said. "We've got practice coming up, and this year I'm definitely going to enjoy myself."
Archey, who was recruited to SUNY Binghamton as a catcher, was actually new to the position as a sophomore in high school. According to baseball coach Jonathan Lord, it was Archey's willingness and desire to learn a demanding new position which enabled him to be successful.
"Having never caught before, he had a lot of learning to do. But he put so much preparation and interest into the role of catching," Lord said.
As far as their college prospects are concerned, both Lord and football coach Ryan Brown sounded quite confident in their players' ability to adapt to their sports at the college level. Each also indicated that it didn't take long for them to realize how much talent each player possessed.
"He's a difference-maker. I knew right away [that Reiph could play Division-I]" Brown said. "The kid has the speed to do it, he's a physical player and he's a smart player. He's the best player I've coached here. He's going to be very, very successful [in college]."
"I'm thrilled first and foremost for Jake. He's a very deserving student-athlete for this honor," Lord said. "His junior year was probably the first year when he really relaxed and you saw all the ability that was there."
Even though Reiph and Archey will be continuing their athletic careers in college, each one of them was quick to recognize that St. Luke's enabled them to achieve their goals.
"It's definitely a little bittersweet to be leaving, but it's pretty cool [to be playing baseball in college]. It's something that I've been working my whole life for," Archey said.
"I'm very excited, very happy. I couldn't be more happy with my teammates and with the school that I'm leaving," Reiph said. "I love this school. St. Luke's made me into the person that I am today."