Two Mainers and a Connecticut quarterback are among the 16-member recruiting class announced by the University of Maine’s football team Wednesday.
Cape Elizabeth running back-wide receiver Nick Laughlin and Wells High School punter-kicker Michael Lewinski will be joining the program in the fall. They come alongside left-handed quarterback Caden Drezek, who will be an option in the absence of Joe Fagnano, who entered the NCAA transfer portal after quarterbacking the Black Bears for three seasons.
There are three wide receivers and three offensive linemen in the class along with two defensive backs, two running backs, two defensive linemen, a linebacker and a tight end who signed National Letters of Intent to attend UMaine.
“I’m excited about the class,” said UMaine head coach Jordan Stevens. “It’s a big, broad class that covers a lot of positions.”
The Black Bears are coming off a 2-9 campaign, 2-6 in the Colonial Athletic Association, and are looking to shore up a number of positions, including quarterback, offensive line and the secondary.
One of the running backs is Alex Berrouet, a transfer from Colorado State who played in one game for the Rams in 2021 and rushed for 50 yards on seven carries.
“He has a chance to make an impact and be a valuable member of the team,” Stevens said.
The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Laughlin carried the ball 89 times for 929 yards and 16 touchdowns and caught 47 passes for 719 yards and eight touchdowns for the Capers. He was also involved in 68 tackles. S
“He did it all for his high school football team,” the coach said. “We’re excited to see Nick continue to make plays here at UMaine.”
Lewinski connected on 94 percent of his extra points and averaged 38 yards per punt at Wells, with Stevens saying he showed steady progress during his high-school career.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Drezek set school records at Seymour High School in Connecticut for most passing touchdowns in a single game (7), completions in a season (157), passing touchdowns in a season (33) and passing yards in a season (2,608). He completed 263 passes for 4,360 yards and 54 touchdowns in his career. Stevens called him strong and a leader.
The offensive linemen are 6-4, 280-pound Anthony Iliano from Cleveland; 6-6, 330-pound Nicholas Kaptein from Ajax, Ontario and Xavier Lozowicki, a 6-4, 300-pounder from Ridley Park, Pennsylvania.
At the offensive skill positions are 5-11, 180-pound Kevin Jackson from Springfield, Mass., Laughlin and 6-3, 190-pound Blake Thomas from Seacaucus, N.J. The running backs are the 6-0, 205-pound Berrouet and 5-11, 180-pound Tristan Kenan from Baltimore, who rushed for 3,800 yards and 50 touchdowns and was described as a complete running back by his new coach.
The two defensive backs are 6-2, 182-pound Jayden Platt from Melville, N.Y. and Na’Cire Christmas from Woodbury, N.J. Platt is a “ball hawk,” Stevens said, and Christmas will bring “speed and physicality” to the team.
The defensive linemen are 6-3, 231-pound Chris Bacon from Hicksville, N.Y. and 6-1, 215-pound Jared Tynes from North Brunswick, N.J. Tynes has “a quick first step and burst,” while Bacon has a “ton of natural ability and will be a disruptive player,” Stevens said.
Jake Kucera is a 6-4, 230-pound tight end from North Haledon, N.J., while Ja’bari Odoemenem is a 6-1, 230-pound linebacker from Woodbridge, Virginia who is a “versatile linebacker with all the tools to defend the run and the pass,” according to the UMaine head coach.
The next signing date is Feb. 3, with the Black Bear coaching staff returning to the recruiting trail in January, Stevens said they will be focusing on defensive linemen, linebackers, the secondary and wide receivers.