CASTLETON, Vt. – Tony Volpone, head coach of the Castleton University football team, is happy to announce that 10 more student-athletes have committed to attending the school and joining the football program starting in the fall of 2018 by making a deposit to secure their spot.
"We are very excited about this next group of commitments. We have some very good players that can impact the game at the line of scrimmage who will push to play early. In addition, we were able to secure some solid players at the defensive back position. We are also very pleased with the character and the academic capability of this group which should make them great future leaders of our program," Volpone said.
Grant DiBenedetto, a native of Stratford, Conn., was a two-year starter on the offensive line for Frank Scott Bunnell High School. He earned Academic All-Conference honors for his work in the classroom. DiBenedetto's coach Tiernan Shea says that he is "hard working, selfless, and willing to listen."
Tom Donovan was a three-year starter on the offensive line for Schuylerville High School in Schuylerville, N.Y. Donovan was named a team captain twice, earned Scholar Athlete honors four times, and received Division All-Star recognition three times as well as State All-Star honors twice and the Area All-Star award.
Joe Hildreth hails from South Deerfield, Mass., and was a defensive lineman at Frontier High School. A four-time high school academic all-American, Hildreth was also an all-league selection as well as a First Team All-Western Massachusetts honoree. Scott Dredge, Hildreth's high school coach, calls him "one of the most consistent, hard working young men I know."
Nathaniel Hunt, originally from Rochester, N.H., served as a team captain at Spaulding High School. A two-time First Team All-State selection, Hunt led the team with 47 tackles and four sacks, but the plan is for Hunt to play on the offensive line at Castleton. He participated in the CHAD East/West All-Star Game and was name a NHIAA Scholar-Athlete and Joe Yukika Scholar-Athlete.
Evan Keegan played on both sides of the ball at Franklin Academy in Malone, N.Y., but he will join the Spartans as a tight end. An All-Conference selection, Keegan received the team offensive MVP award after leading the squad in receiving yards and touchdowns. He also led the team in sacks and was a two-time Academic All-Conference honoree.
Jason Moore hails from Plattsburgh, N.Y., and served as a team captain while playing wide receiver at Plattsburgh High School. He led the team in receptions three times, was a three-year starter, and received All-Conference honors twice. His coach Pat Keleher said that Moore "has a work ethic second-to-none and a true desire to be successful."
Cody Pomainville will stay close to his home of Middlebury, Vt., after completing his prep career at Middlebury High School. A First Team All-State defensive back, Pomainville participated in the North-South Game and is slated to play in the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl at Spartan Stadium in August. He received the Friends of Middlebury Football Sportsmanship Award.
Chandler Robideau will also remain in his home state, as he hails from Bristol, Vt., and attended Mt. Abraham High School. A three-year starter, Robideau was named a team captain as he collected 45 tackles as a defensive back, plus he scored two touchdowns. His coach Lee Hodson said Robideau "is an outstanding leader and great role model for younger players."
Calen Thomas played at Hanover High School in Hanover, N.H., where he was a starter in the defensive backfield for three years. Named an honorary captain, Thomas led the team in tackles twice and received the team's "Big Hit" award. Sam Cavallero, his coach, pointed out Thomas's speed and called him "one of the hardest working players I have coached."
Jarrett Valdez is a native of Hazlet, N.J., who attended Raritan High School. He helped his team to the 2015 CJ Group 2 state championship and received the Christian Marchena Call of Duty Award. His coach Anthony Pertuzzi said that Valdez is "a player who can inspire and motivate individuals to accomplish more."
The Castleton University football team posted a winning record within the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) for the fourth consecutive season in 2017, finishing in third place within the league at 5-2 as part of a 6-4 overall record.