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Borriello To Play At Marist
Freeman Football Player of the Year A.J. Borriello found the right match to continue his athletic and academic careers not far from his Ellenville High roots.
Borriello signed a National Letter of Intent with Marist College during a Wednesday afternoon ceremony in the school’s media center.
“I went to visit Marist, and it’s the place I want to be,” Borriello said. “I felt comfortable there.
“It’s more like a family where I will be a name and not one of 120 people.”
Borriello, a 6-feet-1, 270-pound lineman, considered colleges and universities in all NCAA levels during the selection process.
“I looked at divisions I, II and III,” he said. “I was really looking for a school that filled all my requirements.
“I wanted the academic, athletic and financial aspects that fit me best. The Marist kids I met were similar to me, and the coaches were great.”
Marist belongs to the Pioneer Football League, the nation’s only non-scholarship NCAA Football Championship Subdivision conference. Charter members Butler, Dayton, Drake and Valparaiso remain from the league’s formation 17 years ago.
All PFL schools are NCAA Division I.
Borriello will receive financial aid covering approximately half the annual $40,000 cost of attending Marist. Honor student Borriello intends to follow a pre-med program.
Bucknell and Maine headed the list of other Division I schools pursuing Borriello. Along with Division II institutions New Haven and East Stroudsburg, Division III members Union, Hobart, RPI and St. John Fisher also made strong overtures.
Tony Borriello, A.J.’s father and Blue Devils’ head coach, played football at East Stroudsburg.
“I’ve always stressed to A.J. you have to go at full speed in practice the same you would in a game,” Tony Borriello said. “I want him to to be ready.
“I know I wasn’t prepared when I got to college. As a father, my main concerns are for him to graduate and get a job.
“I will enjoy going to watch him play when I can.”
The signing ceremony drew 100 well wishers. A mixture of teachers, students and media provided a warm reception as school principal Mike Rydell and Tony Borriello spoke before A.J. Borriello addressed the crowd.
Rydell gathered with the entire Borriello family of Tony, Mary (mom and Ellenville athletic director), Rob (brother and sophomore quarterback) and Danielle (sister in eighth grade) to witness the signing.
“We were proud of you long before today,” Rydell said.
Tony Borriello noted his son became the first Division I football player at Ellenville since the late Walter Moseley graduated in 1983 and played for Syracuse.
“A.J. is moving up to a different level,” Tony Borriello said. “He’s going to have to prove himself all over again.
“It’s a tough road, but I don’t think he would want it any other way.”
Red Fox defensive coordinator Scott Rumsey, associate to head coach Jim Parady, recruited Borriello.
“Coach Rumsey was my recruiting coach, and I also spoke with the offensive line coach (Bill Roos),” Borriello said. “They told me I’ll be an offensive lineman, but they didn’t specify a position.”
Borriello played offensive guard and defensive tackle for the Blue Devils.
“It’s a matter of where you fit best in the system,” he said. While Ellenville uses a basic I-formation geared to a running attack, Marist employs the spread formation that favors passing.
“Marist runs its offense pretty aggressively,” Borriello continued. “Everything will be faster.
“I might not be starting as a freshman.”
The Red Foxes travel hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles to away games. Last year’s schedule included away contests at San Diego, Morehead (Ky.) and Davidson (N.C.)
“One of the nice things about Marist will be I can still follow my high school team,” Borriello said.
Ellenville won the Section 9, Class C championship the past two seasons.
Along with earning the Freeman’s top honor, Borriello was selected on the first team offensive line for the state Class C All-Stars.
By Don Treat, Daily Freeman staff