CASTLETON, Vt. – Castleton University head football coach Tony Volpone has announced the group of student-athletes who have committed to joining the Spartan football program starting in the fall of 2017. This page will be continually updated as more players make the commitment to attend Castleton University and play on the football team.
A native of Hope, R.I., Dylan Allhusen will be joining the football team as a defensive back. As a team captain, Allhusen led the team with 158 tackles and earned First Team All-Division recognition. Just as impressively, he was a member of the All-Academic Team, earning the honor of being a Silver Scholar Athlete.
"We are overjoyed to hear Dylan Allhusen has committed to Castleton University's football program. There is no doubt that he will bring his enthusiasm and work ethic to every workout this off-season and practice during preseason," said Mark Reed, head coach at Scituate High School. "The Scituate family could not be more proud and excited to see Dylan get this opportunity to prove himself."
Mitchell Austin will head southwest from Newport, Vt., to join the Castleton football program as a wide receiver. At North Country Union, he was a team captain as he led the squad in touchdown receptions. A Second Team All-Division selection, he participated in the North/South All-Star Game.
"I'm very happy for Mitchell. I can say a lot of things about Mitchell, but what sticks out most in my mind is that he was a game-changer for us who made the big catch when we needed it," said Lonnie Wade, coach at North Country Union.
A native of Hudson, N.Y., Jahmir Barnett-Williams will be joining the football team as a running back. His time at Hudson High School was very successful as a two-year captain, leading Hudson to a 9-1 record in his senior season. He had a career total of 82 tackles, three interceptions, three fumble recoveries, and seven touchdowns.
"As a fullback, Jahmir truly was the 'Thunder' in our Thunder and Lightning backfield set," said Jahmir's coach at Hudson, Terry Harcleroad. "He has such natural lower body power and ability I actually confiscated him on a few occasions to fill in at defensive tackle when needed, which he did (and did well) with no reservation. I'm sure Jahmir will be a great asset to the Spartans!"
Ryan Bartenstein will stay close to home to play collegiate football, as the Rutland, Vt., native has committed to attend Castleton University and join the Spartan football team as a defensive lineman. Bartenstein helped Rutland High School win the 2015 Vermont Division I state championship.
"Ryan is a great kid who will be an asset to the Castleton football program," said Mike Norman, head football coach at Rutland High School.
Mike Bonavolonta will come to Castleton from Stanhope, N.J., and will join the linebacker group for the Spartans. At Lenape Valley High School, he was the team's leading tackler and a second team all-conference selection as the team won the 2016 conference championship. He is also a three-time scholar-athlete honoree.
"Michael is a wonderful young man. He was a leader for Lenape Valley both on and off the field, always putting the needs of the team ahead of any personal gain. If we had 22 players like Michael, we would never lose a game! He is a terrific competitor and an even better person," said Don Smolyn, head football coach at Lenape Valley High School.
A native of Kennebunk, Maine, Andrew Bouchard Jr. will be joining the football team as a defensive tackle. As a member of the Kennebunk High School program, Bouchard was a four-year starter, earning two Class B Conference titles and an All-Conference nod at defensive tackle. He was a team captain in his senior year as well.
"I am sure Andrew will be a welcome addition to the Spartans as he brings good energy and is a great 'team guy'. He loves the game, prepares well and brings a positive attitude daily," said Andrew's head coach at Kennebunk, Joe Rafferty, "I spend a ton of time with the D-line and was impressed how much Andrew improved this season earning All-Conference status. I anticipate he will continue to work hard and contribute much during his career."
Jared Brockway is a wide receiver from Framingham, Mass., who will join the Spartans after a stellar career at Framingham High School. He led the team in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. Jared was selected as a captain of the varsity football team.
"Jared Brockway is among the finest young men I have coached in the past twenty years," said Gary Doherty, Jared's high school coach. "Jared's character and love of the sport is infectious and he is a leader by example. One of Jared's greatest attributes is his willingness to do the little things. On the football field, Jared has outstanding hands and directional quickness that make it difficult to bring him down in the open field."
Alex Cook is a native of Auburn, Maine, who will head across New England to play for Castleton as a linebacker. At Edward Little High School, he led the team in sacks and was a first team all-conference selection.
"I have known Alex all four years that he has been at Edward Little, and I couldn't be prouder and happier for him to fulfill a lifelong dream of playing college football. He plays with a high motor, has an outstanding football IQ, and plays like a coach when he is on the field," said Dave Sterling, head football coach at Edward Little High School.
A native of Deerfield, Mass., Seth Gewanter will be joining the Spartan football team as a linebacker. A two-year captain at Frontier Regional High School, Gewanter was the 2016 Franklin County Player of the Year as well as a three-time First Team All-Western Massachusetts.
"Seth has been the epitome of sound character and leadership in our school, and certainly on the field. In Seth, you will get a young man who is committed to his team and will bring a lunch pail work ethic to the field. Above all, he will represent himself, and your institution, as a responsible and positive citizen in your community," said Scott Dredge, head football coach at Frontier Regional.
Luis Gonzalez will make the short trip from his hometown of South Burlington, Vt., to join the Castleton football program as an offensive lineman. At South Burlington High School, he was a team captain and a First Team All-Conference selection. He participated in both the North/South All-Star Game and the Shrine Game.
"I had the privilege to coach Luis for the past two years. He is an outstanding lineman, but more importantly he is a great team player. He will do well at the collegiate level. He has excellent size and moves well for a big man," said Joe McDonald, coach at South Burlington High School.
Justin Gray will make the short trip from Nashua, N.H., to Castleton, joining the Spartan football program as a defensive lineman. A three-year starter at Nashua South High School, Gray was a 2017 NHIAA Scholar-Athlete.
"Justin was a hard-working, self-made player who was always willing to do a little extra when needed. He was also very reliable and a very good teammate. He played for us for four years and will really be missed," said Scott Knight, coach at Nashua South High School.
A native of Groton, Mass., Justin Griffin will join the Castleton football program as a linebacker. He was a four-year varsity player at Groton-Dunstable High School, leading the team in tackles twice. He was named team MVP as well as a Midland Wachusett League All-Star.
"Justin is not the biggest or the fastest player, but his intelligence and commitment allowed him to be a key performer for our team. I am sure that the commitment, intelligence, and resiliency he displayed as a Crusader will be positive factors as he joins the Spartan program," said Tom Sousa, coach at Groton-Dunstable High School.
Matt Hesford will join the Castleton football program as a running back after a stellar career at Colchester High School in Colchester, Vt. He was the team's offensive MVP twice and also earned All-State recognition two times. A team captain, he received the Team Leader Award as he finished with 22 touchdowns.
"Matt is a strong leader with a work ethic like no player I have ever coached. He will outwork anyone and sell out on every play for his team to be successful. His unselfish, hardworking attitude is contagious. He raises the level of those around him, and I wish him all the luck in the world," said Tom Perry, coach at Colchester High School.
Another Vermont student-athlete commits to Castleton, as Reading, Vt., native Luc Issa will join the football program as a defensive back. Issa was a senior captain at Woodstock Union High School.
"Luc is a great, hard-working young man, I am very excited for his future at the next level," said Ramsey Worrell, head football coach at Woodstock Union. "He will be a great example to the teammates that he leaves behind about what hard work can do for someone."
Jake Ives heads northwest from his hometown of Stafford, Conn., to join the Castleton football program as a tight end. He was a team captain for Stafford High School and won the sportsmanship award in 2015.
"Jake is the type of student-athlete that most coaches wish all of their players would emulate. He was singularly one of our hardest workers, both on and off the field. He certainly has the physical attributes to be a great football player, but his character and work ethic separated him from his peers," said Kevin Slater, coach at Stafford High School.
Another native of Nashua, N.H., has committed to come to Castleton, as Myles Johnson will join the Spartan program as a running back. At Nashua South High School, he was a two-time First Team All-Conference selection, leading the team in rushing yards twice during his varsity career. In his senior season, he rushed for over 1,000 yards.
"Myles was a very versatile player for us at Nashua South. He played with a great combination of toughness and athleticism. We are going to really miss him this year, and we are excited to see him play at the next level," said Scott Knight, coach at Nashua South High School.
Nick Kazandjian has committed to Castleton University and will join the Spartan football program as a linebacker. The native of Warwick, R.I., was a team captain and three-year starter at Toll Gate High School.
"Nick is absolutely an outstanding kid. He always gives 110 percent both on and off the field," said Jim Stringfellow, head football coach at Toll Gate High School.
From Helmetta, N.J., Jack Keenan heads north to Castleton, with the coaching staff planning on using him as a running back. He was a captain at Spotswood High School during his senior season, earning Middlesex County and Blue Division All-Conference honors.
"Jack is a tough, versatile football player, a true throwback. Hands down, he is one of the toughest players I have ever coached. Jack is a leader, has a great football mind, and is as clutch as they come, punching it in to put away offensive drives, or catching a play-action pass for the go-ahead score. Jack will make an impact wherever he plays," said Andrew Cammarano, head football coach at Spotswood High School.
Devon Kimball is another local player choosing to stay close to his home of New Haven, Vt., and he will join the Spartan program as a linebacker. He was the defensive MVP at Vergennes High School, leading the team in tackles. He is a two-time honorable mention all-state selection and was nominated for the Vermont North-South Game.
"Devon is a great kid and a great athlete. He always gave 100% both in practice and in games. I absolutely loved him as a player," said Lee Hodsen, head football coach at Vergennes High School.
A native of Agawam, Mass., Spencer Kozlak is another new signee who will shore up the linebacking group at Castleton. He was a captain of the Agawam High School squad during his senior season, earning second team all-conference honors as his team was the runner-up in Western Massachusetts.
"During his four years, we have not had a more versatile, unselfish player in our program. His dedication to the offseason program and quiet leadership caused his teammates to elect him captain for the 2016 season. I know Spencer will be a great contributor to your program," said John Benjamin, head football coach at Agawam High School.
Jake Lacasse hails from Orange, Mass., and will join the Castleton football program as a wide receiver. At Ralph C. Mahar High School, he led the team in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns. He was an honorable mention all-league selection.
"I am really happy for Jake, and he is excited to join the Spartans. Jake is hard-working and extremely coachable. He is a true student of the game, always seeking to improve," said Chris Bailey, coach at Ralph C. Mahar High School.
Adam Lennon comes to Castleton from Palmyra, N.Y., and will add depth to the team's defensive line unit. At Palmyra Macedon High School, he was a two-time First Team All-League selection as well as the team's Defensive MVP.
"Having been Adam's defensive coordinator, I have seen many examples of his talent and have long been impressed by his diiligence and work ethic. Adam has outstanding leadership qualities. He is able to successfully juggle the pressures of being a varsity football player and a strong student. Adam ensures success by demonstrating leadership abilities that his classmates and teammates both admired and respected," said Edward Burse, coach at Palmyra Macedon Hig School.
Caleb Lisai will stay close to his hometown, as the quarterback hails from Bellows Falls, Vt. Lisai recently led the Bellows Falls Union football team to a Vermont Division II state championship, completing 60 percent of his pass attempts and throwing for 15 touchdowns during the year.
"Caleb did exactly what you want from a senior," said Bob Lockerby, Caleb's high school coach. "He put in the time in the weight room, prepared himself by knowing the playbook, and understood his role. He was always willing to help the team in any way. He will be a good addition to the (Castleton) program with his team-first attitude."
A native of Westminster, Vt., Jake Lober will be joining the football team as a linebacker. Lober had a very successful career at Bellows Falls Union High School. As a four-year starter on both sides of the football, he is a three-time Marble Valley League All-Star, a two-time Burlington Free Press First Team selection and a three-time Eagle Times First Team All-Star.
"Jake will be greatly missed at BFUHS. He is a hard-nosed defensive linebacker who plays one way and that is to win. We wish him the very best as he takes his game to a higher level," said Bob Lockerby, Lober's coach at Bellows Falls.
Thomas Long comes to Castleton as a linebacker after completing his high school career at Newtown High School. He was rated one of the top 50 players in Connecticut, led the team in tackles and forced turnovers to earn team defensive MVP honors, and was a varsity captain. Thomas was an All-State and two-time All-Conference selection.
"Tom is one of the hardest working kids I have ever coached. He is a strong leader, as he was voted captain of both the football and wrestling teams. He has volunteered many hours for charity events and is always supportive of the younger kids in town," said Steve George, coach at Newtown High School.
Scott MacMillan is a native of Andover, N.J., who will join the Castleton football program as a linebacker. At Lenape Valley Regional High School, he was the "Lifter of the Year" and a Second Team All-Conference selection as his squad won the conference title and advanced to the state championship game. In the classroom, he was named an Academic Scholar four times.
"Scott was one of the true leaders on our conference champion and state finalist football team. He led by his own personal work ethic and by encouraging his teammates. In addition, Scott is one of those individuals you can count on to do the right thing on the field, in the classroom, and around campus. He is a true gentleman and student-athlete in every way," said Don Smolyn, coach at LVRHS.
A native of Uxbridge, Massachusetts, Alex Martellio will be joining the football team as a defensive lineman. Martellio has contributed to the success of the Uxbridge High program, leading to recognition as a Central Massachusetts All-Star as well as a Division 3A All-Star.
"Alex is one of the most dedicated and hardworking players we have coached. His commitment to the weight program and continuous improvement made him an essential player on our team. Alex's love of the game and willingness to do whatever it takes to progress made him a better player on and off the field," said Alex's head coach at Uxbridge, Bob Martellio.
Lucas Morse will cross the state border from his hometown of Whitehall, N.Y., and join the Spartan football program as a running back. At Whitehall High School, he was a three-year starter and a team captain, helping his squad to two Class D titles as well as a Section 2 championship.
"I am excited that Lucas will be joining the Castleton program. He is a young man who will excel for the Spartans both on and off the field. He is a hard worker who will give you everything he has. He is one of those guys who is willing to do whatever is best for the team," said Richard Gould, coach at Whitehall High School.
A native of Colchester, Vt., Alex O'Connell will be joining the football team as a quarterback. During his time at Colchester High School, O'Connell earned himself All-State Honorable Mention recognition as well as Vermont Athlete of the Week honors. He will be reuniting with former Colchester teammates Grant Cummings and Bobby Hamlin in the Spartan uniform.
"Alex is a hard working kid of the highest character. He is willing to do whatever he can to help his team be successful," said Colchester High head coach Tom Perry.
Colin Paddock will make the move from Meriden, Conn., to join the Castleton football program as a kicker/punter. He was the special teams MVP at Francis T. Maloney High School, making 100 percent of his field goal attempts in 2016.
"Colin has played an important role as our placekicker for the past two seasons. He handled both the placekicking and kickoff duties for us. He was extremely accurate and worked hard to improve on his craft every day," said Kevin Frederick, coach at Francis T. Maloney High School.
Caelan Pelletier will come to Castleton from Auburn, Maine, with the coaching staff planning to use him as a linebacker. At Edward Little High School, he was a three-year starter and a member of the All-Academic Team.
"Caelan has worked very hard to earn a starting role with our program, especially in the weight room. He has a great attitude that carries over onto the field. His teammates are always encouraged to see his energy," said Dave Sterling, coach at Edward Little High School.
A native of Trumbull, Conn., Jared Platt will be joining the football team as an offensive lineman. Platt had a successful tenure at Trumbull High School, helping the team post a 7-3 record his senior year. He was pivotal in the offense's success with 1,468 team rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns, as well as 2,327 passing yards and 29 passing touchdowns.
"Jared Platt was a contributing member to the Trumbull High School football program. He will be a valuable asset and will excel at the collegiate level of play at Castleton University," said Bob Maffei, Jared's head coach at Trumbull High School.
Zak Pollicino was a top two-way player for Smithtown West High School in Smithtown, N.Y., leading the team in interceptions, pass breakups, receptions, and special teams touchdowns. The player was a captain during his senior season and received All-Division recognition. The Castleton coaching staff plan to use Zak as a defensive back.
"Zak demonstrated tremendous leadership his senior season in spearheading our off-season workouts, getting other teammates to buy in, and holding them and himself accountable in that process," said Steve Fasciani, Zak's head coach at Smithtown West High School. "Additionally, Zak always demonstrated toughness and a willingness to put in the work required to be the best at what he does on and off the football field."
Cole Preavy-Carrier will remain close to his hometown of Richmond, Vt., as he joins the Castleton football program as a defensive back. At Mount Mansfield Union, he was a team captain and a First Team All-Division selection. He set the school records for interceptions in a game (three) and in a season (seven). He played in the Senior Bowl All-Star Game.
"Cole was one of the hardest workers and most coachable kids that we have had in our program. His love for football pushed him to strive for excellence, which showed on the field every week. His presence at MMU will be sorely missed, but we are very excited that he plans on following his passion for football at Castleton," said Marty Richards, coach at Mount Mansfield Union.
Defensive lineman Chris Rice will join his high school teammate Will Mossop as a member of the Spartan football team. From Bethel, Conn., Rice was a captain at Bethel High School, earning team MVP honors as well as First Team All-State and All-Conference recognition.
"Chris was a hardworking player at Bethel and I am sure he will be the same at Castleton. He pushes himself in every aspect of life. While he was a player at Bethel, he played offense, defense and special teams, so I am sure he will find a way to make it on the field," said Jason Gill, head football coach at Bethel High School.
Dustin Rock has decided to remain close to his hometown of Milton, Vt., joining the Spartan football program as a defensive lineman. At Milton High School, he was a team captain, the offensive MVP, and a First Team All-Division II honoree. He was also selected to the Shrine Bowl and an honorable mention member of the Free Press All-State Team.
"Dustin was a three-year starter, but beyond his football abilities, he was a tremendous leader on and off the field. He was a well-respected member of our school learning community and has been an absolute joy to coach and teach over the past four years," said Drew Gordon, coach at Milton High School.
Steven Roe hails from Edison, N.J., and will join the defensive backfield at Castleton. While at Edison High School, Roe was in the top five for most tackles within the Greater Middlesex Conference and was named to the defensive top performer list five times. He was nominated for the MaxPreps Northeast Player of the Week award.
"Steven will be a great addition to Castleton University. He is one of the toughest and hardest-working kids I have ever coached here," said Matt Fulham, head football coach at Edison High School.
A native of New Hartford, Conn., Jake Roth will be joining the football team as a linebacker. While at Gilbert-Northwestern, Roth was able to lead the team in tackles for three straight years, earn All-Conference recognition twice, and be voted as team Defensive MVP. His efforts both on the field and off helped earn him a captain role in his senior season. He will be joining former Gilbert-Northwestern teammate Tucker Kreh in the Castleton green.
"It makes us proud to see that Jake will be continuing his football career at Castleton University. I am sure he will take what he has done at GN, continue to improve, and have an excellent career for the Spartans," said Gilbert-Northwestern head coach Scott Salius.
A native of Vermontville, N.Y., David Sullivan will be joining the football team as an offensive lineman. As a member of the Saranac Lake High School football program, Sullivan was a three-year starter, earning Second Team All-Conference recognition as well as a selection as team captain.
"David has an outstanding work ethic and is the consummate teammate and leader," said David's high school coach Eric Bennett. "He was always the first to volunteer for any team needs. He had a rock solid understanding of scheme and technique, and his side of the line was more often than not our 'go to' when we needed that tough yard."
Ryan Szatkowski, a native of Spotswood, N.J., has committed to attend Castleton University and join the Spartan football program as a kicker and punter. In his senior season at Spotswood High School, he was a team captain and earned team MVP honors as well as First Team All-Conference and All-Division and Second Team All-Area.
"Ryan excelled as a receiver, defensive back, safety, kicker, and punter for the past three years at the varsity level. As a kicker, he was the best in our division for two seasons. Castleton is not only getting a good player, but a terrific young man as well," said Spotswood High School head coach Andrew Cammarano.
Justin Tinker, a native of Center Harbor, N.H., will join the Castleton football program as a defensive lineman. At Inter-Lakes High School, he earned Second Team All-State honors and was a two-time All-Conference performer.
"Justin will be a great addition to the team. Justin is a very kind and funny individual who embodies the phrase 'hard work beats talent'. Justin will always put the team first and will do whatever is needed of him to help the team achieve its goals," said Inter-Lakes head football coach Jon Francis.
Jake Wood hails from Fitzwilliam, N.H., and is slotted to play linebacker at Castleton. At Monadnock High School, he received first team all-state recognition and the team defensive player award. He participated in the CHaD Game.
"Jake is as complete a player as we've had at Monadnock. He has the physical size, the heart, and the savvy to be a great player, and he used all those attributes to lead the team. He's a wonderful practice player, a dream to coach, and a fun person to play with. He was a real gentleman to me and one heck of a player for me," said Linwood Patnode, head football coach at Monadnock High School.
A native of Hopatcong, N.J., Bart Yarosz will join the Castleton football program as a quarterback. At Hopatcong High School, Yarosz was named First Team All-Conference once and Second Team All-Conference twice. He was a team captain in his senior season.
"Bart is an intelligent and tireless worker with an uncanny competitive fire. His great energy made him a pleasure to coach, and he will undoubtedly be a great addition to the Castleton football program. Bart will find a way to make an impact in some manner in a hurry," said Brian Meeney, coach at Hopatcong High School.
These players join a Castleton program that has posted a winning record in ECFC play in three straight seasons.