Eighth grader who’ll play for New Canaan already offered scholarship to Florida State
Published 1:03 pm, Wednesday, April 6, 2016
NEW CANAAN — It’s no secret the world of college recruiting is getting crazier by the year and as of Tuesday New Canaan gets a local taste of just how strange it could be.
Current eighth grader Drew Pyne, who just moved to the town, was offered a scholarship to play football at Florida State University.
Pyne, a 6-foot-1, 170-pound, 15 year-old, made the announcement through his Twitter account Sunday. Pyne took his Pop Warner team, the New Fairfield Falcons, to the national semifinals a season ago and will be enrolled as a freshman at New Canaan this coming fall.
“This is like what the lacrosse people do, it’s just kind of crazy,” said New Canaan coach Lou Marinelli, who has led the Rams to three straight Class L championships. “I haven’t spoken to anybody from Florida State, but I guess they see something that they like.”
In just watching Pyne’s YouTube highlights there is a lot to like. Pyne showed the ability to make plays with his feet both in extending plays and taking off downfield. His arm is way ahead of the typical eighth grader in terms of strength and accuracy, but as Marinelli quickly pointed out, varsity high school football is a different world.
“He seems like a wonderful kid, seems like a hard worker, loves football, is also a basketball player, so we’ll see,” said Marinelli, who met with Pyne and his father, George, last year. “You never know, but it’s hard to judge because he’s playing against Pop Warner kids. There’s a big jump between youth football and high school football.”
No one understands playing against top competition better than the Pyne family. Drew’s great-grandfather, grandfather, father and uncle all played football at the professional level. Drew’s brother, Brendan, is playing at Brown in the fall after suiting up for IMG Academy in Florida during his high school career.
“I think he wants the high school experience,” Marinelli said of Pyne, who was also offered a scholarship by South Alabama this past week. “At IMG they fly around and play a national schedule, but to me that’s really not high school football.”
On the field New Canaan has a void to fill at quarterback with the graduation of record-setting star Michael Collins, and Marinelli isn’t ruling out Pyne, who repeated the eighth grade after attending a private school.
“It is a weird situation,” Marinelli said. “If I have a kid that’s been offered by Florida State and he’s the best quarterback in the school, it’d be kind of silly not to play him. But I don’t know how good he is, he’s playing against eighth graders. I have two seniors, a couple juniors and two freshmen, so in total six kids that he’s going to have to beat out if he’s good enough to play.”
Marinelli doesn’t mind that impending quarterback competition as opposed to the alternative.
“We’ll have to see,” said Marinelli, which was the theme of his opinion on the situation. “I’d rather him come to us than go someplace else.”
George Pyne could not be reached for comment.