When the time came for Trevor Vasey to select a four-year college that would satisfy his academic needs and quarterback profile, he turned to a valuable resource – his father Todd.
To sift through the recruiting waters with the assistance of a parent who just happens to coach college football, that’s the ace in the hole Trevor – a 2011 St. Raphael graduate and Cumberland native – carried in his back pocket. As the head man at Dean College, the onus falls on Todd Vasey to place his players in a position to realize that there are options available upon completing their stay at the Franklin, Mass. junior college. Yet when one of those players happens to be your own flesh and blood, lets just say there’s a heartfelt interest in making sure the son is well situated.
The Todd and Trevor Vasey dynamic at Dean was a yearlong partnership that was cherished by both parties and culminated with the ripest of rewards. A week before Christmas, Trevor inked a National Letter of Intent that confirmed his scholarship to Elon University, based in North Carolina. Elon is affiliated with the Southern Conference and competes in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision.
Having successfully completed his academic requirements at Dean, Trevor Vasey has already settled into life on Elon’s campus. Presently he’s taking one class in conjunction with his new school’s winter intersession – Trevor plans to major in communications – while rounding out his days working out with his Phoenix teammates. Todd’s wife, Kelly, had the honor of moving her son into his dorm room, a course of action specifically designed to allow Mrs. Vasey to see where Trevor would be calling home during his three remaining seasons of collegiate eligibility.
Truth is, Todd Vasey was with Trevor every step of the way. Not only was the father afforded the luxury of coaching his offspring at Dean, but upon completion of the Bulldogs’ 2012 season, the pair went on three official recruiting visits – Elon, Furman (S.C.) University and Southeastern Louisiana (Trevor was also offered visits to URI and the University of North Dakota).
Naturally, Trevor expressed nothing but gratitude when asked about having a dad with a firm understanding of how the recruiting process shakes down. “My father was definitely a big help guiding me through.”
From Todd’s vantage point, his main concern while Trevor quarterbacked the Dean offense was making sure not to provide any semblance of preferential treatment. When Trevor enrolled at Dean last January following a successful post-graduate stay at Virginia’s Hargrave Military Academy – the younger Vasey had the luxury of playing with current Clemson defensive end Kevin Dodd while throwing to Trey Metoyer, a wideout now at Oklahoma – Todd explained that they would do the football thing at Dean and act like father and son away from the gridiron.
“I have good friends who have coached their sons and relatives tell me that it’s the hardest thing you have to do – to be as fair as you can to both him and the team,” explained Todd Vasey, a former grid mentor at St. Raphael. “In many cases, you have to hold him to a higher standard and make sure he’s the better player at the position. If he makes a mistake, though, he has to be held accountable and lose playing time.”
Trevor added, “You’ve got to watch what you do a lot more because you’re the coach’s son. If (your teammates) feel that you’re getting special treatment, that won’t be good. That’s why I had to make sure I was like everyone else.”
Due to his busy schedule, Todd often missed seeing Trevor compete at St. Raphael. Prior to this past fall, the only time Mr. Vasey coached his son was in a youth basketball setting at the Cumberland-Lincoln Boys and Girls Club.
“For me, coaching Trevor [at Dean] was a win-win,” he stated. “I’m grateful and appreciative of the year we had together.”
Long before Trevor even thought about committing to Elon, Todd was handling him not as his son, but as a promising football player who needed to augment his powerful right arm with the necessary strength needed in order to hold up to the rigors of upper echelon college football. Upon graduating from Saints – he considered offers from Bryant and Sacred Heart – a 6-foot-6 Trevor Vasey tipped the scales at 190 pounds. Fast-forward 18 months, where a “skinny” Trevor has been replaced with a more filled-out version, one that now checks in at 228 pounds strong.
“This was the first time he wasn’t playing multiple sports, allowing him to be able to get into the weight room and concentrate on getting his body in a football-specific mode,” said Todd Vasey, referencing his son’s two-sport status at SRA (Trevor also played basketball and was a key cog in the Saints’ 2011 state championship). “He was lifting four times a week, which transformed his body into something that was more desirable by the bigger schools.”
While Trevor’s stock increased while at Hargrave, he felt he needed to cross one more frontier before arriving at a place that he felt would catch the fancy of big-time recruiters. He lived on Dean’s campus and was the only quarterback on the Bulldogs’ depth chart. He did nothing to relinquish the job, tossing 12 touchdowns while throwing for nearly 1,900 yards for his father’s-led squad. For his efforts, Trevor Vasey collected first-team all-league honors and was named the Northeast Football Conference’s co-Offensive Player of the Year.
“I was way more recruited at Dean than I was in the past,” Trevor stated, adding that his dad was instrumental in helping him decipher coverage schemes much sooner than he had previously.
On why he ultimately selected Elon University, Trevor Vasey noted that he’s familiar with head coach Jason Swepson, who hails from Seekonk, along with offensive coordinator Chris Pincince, a Woonsocket native who previously held a similar post at URI. The opportunity to seize the starting job as a sophomore is also on the table as the Phoenix must replace two-time Southern Conference passing leader Thomas Wilson (a senior, Wilson is set to graduate come spring).
Sounding like a football coach with a dash of fatherly support mixed in, Todd Vasey said, “Trevor’s been promised nothing, but he’ll work hard for whatever opportunity he gets. With him down there now, he’ll have a chance to compete (during spring practice), learn the system and show the coaches what he can do before they sort it out from there.”
Putting the coach speak to the side, Todd Vasey, the father, reflected on the irreplaceable journey he took with son Trevor while the two worked side-by-side at Dean College. “He paid his dues and was willing to make the sacrifices, which makes it that much more rewarding now that he’s gotten his opportunity.”
The Under Armour workout shirt that had “Harvard” sprawled across his chest painted a rosy red picture of where Davon Robertson is heading to play college football. A former standout tight end/defensive end at St. Raphael, Robertson officially learned he was Cambridge-bound last month shortly after touring the campus.
Even before graduating from SRA last June, Robertson was dead-set on suiting up for Harvard. While the Ivy League school was impressed with his football abilities, Robertson needed to improve his SAT scores to the point that admitting him wouldn’t be an issue. Armed with determination, Robertson is spending the 2012-13 academic year at New Hampshire’s Philips Exeter Academy.
Not only did he play a prominent role in the prep school posting an undefeated regular season before falling in the championship game, Robertson bumped up his board scores to meet Harvard’s strict admission standards. Now 6-foot-4 and 245 pounds, Robertson said last week while working out at SRA’s Alumni Hall that he isn’t sure if he’ll line up at tight end or defensive end at Harvard, though he feels his best avenue to contribute immediately as a freshman is via special teams.
EXTRA POINTS: A few recruiting tidbits regarding local high school standouts. First, North Smithfield High senior linebacker Ryan Masnyk has received interest from Bryant, URI, Central Connecticut and Elon. A four-time all-division selection, the 6-foot-2 Masnyk is scheduled to visit Division II Assumption College relatively soon. … At Lincoln High, senior linebacker Osel-lie Saine has garnered curiosity from URI and UMass Amherst in addition to several prep schools. … St. Raphael senior offensive lineman Jason Colon is looking at a lot of Division II and III schools, according to his head coach, Mike Sassi. … Speaking of Sassi, he is scheduled to receive induction into the R.I. High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame next Wednesday, Jan. 16.