NEW CANAAN — Somewhat overshadowed by a busy offseason of major Division I verbal commitments, David Summers, the strong-armed St. Joseph quarterback, joined the list in May when he announced his intention to continue his career at Maryland.
He revealed his decision during the stretch run of the spring sports season, which is why it got a little lost in the news cycle.
“I went down for spring practice, they said they liked me a lot and they came up and watched me throw later that month and they made the offer,” Summers said Friday at the Grip It & Rip It Tournament in New Canaan. “I went down for a visit, the full tour, academics and everything, and that was always my No. 1 school, whether I had the offer or not. As soon as I got the offer I knew I was going to commit.”
Summers chose Maryland over Pittsburgh, his other finalist.
Maryland is a school more closely associated with FCIAC lacrosse players.
“Everything felt perfect,” Summers said. “Academics, football, the campus I loved it, the coaching staff was great.”
Summers is coming off an outstanding season in which he helped lead the Cadets to a 13-1 record and the Class S title. Their lone loss came to Darien, the LL champion.
Summers threw for 3,227 yards, completed 65 percent of his passes and had a 49 to 5 touchdown to interception ratio. It was a strong debut after transferring from Fairfield Warde.
“He’s a lot better than I thought he was going to be too,” St. Joseph coach Joe Della Vecchia said. “I thought he was pretty good when we scouted him as a sophomore and played against him. There were a few things we wanted to fix with him and do, and he just took the bull by the horns and he really took off with our offense and became a leader. Obviously last year speaks for itself. He had a phenomenal year.”
Summers had a strong offensive line and a number of weapons. Four players caught 35 or more passes. While leading receiver Jared Mallozzi graduated, the next three are back, topped by Phil Pasmeg. The Cadets may end up being deeper at the position, with high expectations for two more players, Brady Hutchinson and Darren Warren.
Also returning is running back Jaden Shirden, a 1,000-yard rusher who diversifies the offense.
“We feel across the board we will be talented this year,” Summers said.
Getting the decision out of the way prior to the beginning of fall practice, Summers said, was a high priority.
“The biggest thing for me was I wanted to commit before the season started so I could focus all my attention on my team this season,” Summers said. “It’s a long process. It is stressful at points. As soon as I committed it’s a lot of weight off you. You can put all your attention just on the season.”
Della Vecchia said Summers possesses a number of other skill sets that make him effective.
“A very intelligent quarterback,” Della Vecchia said. “He has a quick release, he reads quick, he understands all our concepts and what we’re trying to do. He’s quick with everything. The way he gets rid of the ball. He doesn’t take the sack. I think that’s big because he catches it and throws it. He’s not afraid to take chances and puts the ball in there and gives them all a chance to make plays.”
Della Vecchia said while having a major Division I player speaks highly for his program, he has had others who went overlooked. He made a comparison to one who has far surpassed expectations, first at Temple and currently with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“Over the years we we’ve had a lot of guys go D1; I thought we had a lot of guys who could have gone D1,” Della Vecchia said. “It’s always size, speed and all of that stuff. They never measure kids’ hearts. Tyler Matakevich is a prime example of that. I think people out there are starting to open their eyes that we have some serious football here in Connecticut.”
Summers said he was proud to be part of a recent strong cycle for both the league and state.
“The FCIAC has been great this year,” Summers said. “We’ve had numerous kids go to top, top programs. We’re just getting it started from Connecticut. Especially after this class leaves. I feel we’re going to put Connecticut really on the map and get recruiting going here.”