NEW CANAAN — While many of his teammates have spent the offseason participating in 7 on 7 tournaments, including the one his school will host this weekend, New Canaan’s Lucas Niang has operated like most offensive linemen: away from the spotlight.
Niang has spent endless hours away from the cameras, working in the weight room and planning his future with his parents, which means weighing offers and making visits to some of the 30 schools that have expressed interest in the 6-6, 310-pound left tackle who may be the state’s top football recruit.
“When I first got to the high school I definitely did not think I would be in the position I am now,” Niang said. “I guess I developed, grew even more of a love for the game and started to work hard.”
Last year Zach Allen was the Rams’ highly coveted prize, giving a verbal commitment to Northwestern before eventually changing his mind and signing with Boston College.
It is possible come next fall Allen and Niang could be teammates again, though the New Canaan senior has so much interest that he admitted to being like a kid in a candy shop.
He has made several unofficial visits, including Penn State, and official visits to UConn, Rutgers and Boston College. The two more Niang has are big ones: Auburn and Oregon.
“He’s found that the world is his oyster,” New Canaan coach Lou Marinelli said. “Being that size attracts a long of attention. It is a tremendous opportunity and he is working at it. He has worked really hard.”
Niang’s rise has been meteoric, as his skill level has quickly caught up to his physical assets.
Marinelli has grown accustomed to spending a greater portion of his time helping players go through the process of finding a good college fit because New Canaan has become one of the state’s top football pipelines. In addition to Allen, Alex LaPolice just went to Harvard for its summer program. Current quarterback Michael Collins is also Ivy League bound, having given a verbal commitment to the University of Pennsylvania.
Among Niang’s other suitors: TCU, Wisconsin, Virginia Tech and Syracuse.
“It’s very exciting,” Niang said. “It’s kind of hard though to figure out which school you like best. Some schools are better at some things. For me it is about how good the football team is and what kind of education I can get. I want a good education.”
Niang’s senior season for the Rams will have a lot to do with how quick an impact he will have at the start of his college career. He won’t turn 17 until next month.
“He does have a huge upside,” Marinelli said. “He’s got NFL size.”
According to the 247Sports composite, Niang is a three-star recruit, the No. 73 offensive tackle nationally and the No. 3 recruit from Connecticut.
Niang said he has set just one timetable: he would like to narrow his choices down to three before the Rams open their season. He said he would then let the process play out until he feels comfortable enough to make a commitment.
Said Niang, I’m just going to wait and see how it goes.