Above: Emmanuel Gomes, from Woonsocket, is playing DB for nationally ranked URI. Photo courtesy of URI
The smell of fall is not in the air yet, but what has become America’s sport is constantly present year round in OTA’s, Women’s Professional Football, CFL, XFL, USFL, the draft, and soon, the start of pre-season. The football magazines will soon be on shelves. The Boys of Fall are coming.
And, the grind and groan will continue for several local boys, who are pursuing the dream at the next level. As one boy found out, football can pave the way to a different world, one above the confines of small town East Greenwich and Rhode Island.
NOLAN COONEY, whose story is well known, has gone from EG to Syracuse to the NFL and he is expected to be the punter this coming fall for the Arizona Cardinals. At Syracuse he labored as a placeholder until he got his chance and along the way won several awards in the athletic-academic sports venue, including the Brian Piccolo Comeback Award. He has signed a $1.5 million futures contract with the Cardinals and hopefully, after winning the position of punter/kicker, will be seen on TV screens this fall. He worked hard for it. He persevered. He got it. We wish him luck.
JOE RUFF – Was the 31st ranked punter in the country in high school and will be suiting up for the D2 Assumption College Greyhounds this coming season. He can punt and kickoff much like Cooney and will be playing in the highly competitive Northeast 10 D2 League.
CONRAD SWANSON – #17 QB at Western New England University, the 6-1 190 lb junior majoring in Mechanical Engineering appeared in six games in 2021, had 290 passing yards with 3 TDs and rushed for 139 yards and 2 TDs. In 2022, he played five games with 169 pass yards and 1 TD; rushed for 160 yards and 1 TD and caught a pass for a TD.
JACK FARRELLY – He also wears #17 as DB/WR for Endicott U. The 6-2 200 lb nursing major made the traveling squad as a freshman and is expected to see much more action this year.
MATT LICCIARDI – Matt, #22 and a LB at Endicott, is a 5-11 210 lb senior majoring in Business Management. He has been a three-time Academic All Conference choice, made second team All Conference in 2022 and was CCC Player of the Week on 9/26/22. Last year, he played in 11 games, had 79 tackles and 2 forced fumbles.
MIKE BALSAMO – #41 at Salve Regina University, the 5-9 190 lb LB got hurt before frosh season and missed the whole campaign. He hopes to institute himself as a linebacker force his sophomore season of 2023 for the Seahawks.
PARKE HARDESTY – A QB at Worcester State in Massachusetts but there was no further info at this time.
MICHAEL WALSH – From EG, he played at Moses Brown. Now, at Brown U. playing as #15, the 6-2 215 lb senior saw limited action at QB but punted well for the Bruins with a 31 ypp average, a long of 54, 1 touchback, 16 fair catches, 8 inside 20 and 2 punts of 54+ yards.
Rhode Island will be represented by several former Ocean State high school players in the pro ranks. Besides Cooney, KWITY PAYE (Hendricken) is a DE with the Indianapolis Colts; MOMODOU MBYE (Shea; URI) with Massachusetts Pirates of IFL; JOSEPH PUTU (Mt. Pleasant; UFlorida) with USFL and IFL. Still no word on Ken Yeboah, Thaddeus Moss, Tre Jones, Avian Peah, Leandro DeBrito, Lee Moses. If anyone has some info please send to [email protected]
THOMAZ WHITFORD (Narragansett; Munroe CC, NY; New Mexico State) has been named a 2023 Pre-Season All Conference USA. Last year he was named a Phil Steele Pre-Season All Independent. He has blossomed to 6-4 and 250 and is a premiere block & catch TE.
XAVIER TRUSS (Hendricken-UGA) returns as a starter for the two-time National Champ Georgia Bulldogs. At 6-7 320 lbs he appears to be a solid pick in next year’s NFL draft. Meanwhile former BH teammate JASON ONYE, 6-5 294 DL, is trying to break the lineup at Notre Dame.
Word has it that FREDERICK MALLAY (Mt. Pleasant) and EMMANUEL GOMES (Woonsocket) have cracked starting DB spots for nationally ranked URI. And incoming freshman DL MOSES MEUS (St Ray’s) has made a good impression.
At UMass-Dartmouth Cumberland’s DANTE AVILES-SANTOS and Hendricken’s ANGEL SANCHEZ could lead the Corsairs past the first round of the playoffs this year. Much traveled CARLOS GREENE seems to have secured spots as a DB and Punt returner. The Massachusetts school has been receiving some pro scout attention due to the play of Santos and Sanchez.
This information is brought to you courtesy of Brooker Sports Initiative. If you have info on a local player doing well in the college ranks in football please send to [email protected].