Above: Rhode Island’s Kwity Paye of the Indianapolis Colts.
It’s the end of August. Hurricane season started in Rhode Island with Henri starting a dance and slide through the Ocean State. But the onset of fall means even more to Lil’ Rhody. It’s the start of football season.
The high school boys are donning the pads as the kickoff Round Robins are just around the corner. And for a bunch of graduates of the RIIL football programs, it’s a chance to take their games up a level and to the next. Rhode Islanders are making their marks in D-1 programs around the country, and in the professional ranks too.
Kwity Paye of the Indianapolis Colts is just one example. A first round (21st) pick he has started a buzz in Indy and looks to get plenty of snaps for the Blue & White. A recent ankle injury may slow him down some, but, if you know Kwity, it’s not going to stop him.
Kwity played at Bishop Hendricken and UMichigan winning beaucoup honors.
Two tight ends, Ken Yeboah (Providence-Ole Miss-Jets) and Thaddeus Moss (Lincoln-LSU-Bengals), Randy Moss’s son, are still sticking with their respective teams, as is Nolan Cooney (East Greenwich-Syracuse), looking for a punting job with the Saints.
Nick Giorgio (Cumberland-Springfield) has made a big impression with the Arena League, Orlando Predators, so much so, there is talk he might get a shot with an NFL team. Momodou Mbye (Shea-URI) is starting for the Green Bay Blizzard of the Indoor Football League and Joseph Putu ( Mt. Pleasant-NDSCS-Florida) is still starting for the Aviators of the Spring Football League.
Though not graduates of R.I. high school football, five URI players are sticking with teams in NFL and CFL, that include the Cowboys, Texans, Giants and Blue Bombers.
There is NO lack of representation at the D-1 level either and one or more D-3 players who have made such a mark that they might get to join a team at the next level, if only at the Arena League.
You can start with Xavier Truss, a Hendricken grad. The 6-7, 330 lb red-shirt sophomore at U-Georgia, started in six games last year and saw duty in 5 others. He is expected to start this fall.
Tre Jones (St.Ray’s-CCSU), who like Giorgio and Mbye, is a Providence Gridiron Club, Pride-Hero Award winner, has already received All NEC, All ECAC honors plus a couple of Player of the Week Awards. He led CCSU into the FCS playoffs last fall and they hope to go further this autumn.
In the same league, Leandro DiBrito of Duquesne, also has All League and Player Of Awards.
Both he and Jones are 6-2, 255 with speed and hope to take their talents to some beach if
not South Beach. They both should get a chance somewhere at the next le
Avian Peah (LaSalle-UMass) is hoping an extra season will get him some notice as he
pursues his dream of going on. He has moved to DL from TE.
At URI, which had a good spring season going until Covid tackled it for a loss, Andre Bibeault (Cumberland) hopes to lead the resurgence as the Rams hope to claw their way into the picture for CAA recognition. Cranston West’s Will Such hopes to do the same for Brown. He has been shifted from defense to running back (smart move) and should be a factor there for the Bruins. He is 6-2, 225, with good speed and is looking to plow through Ivy League competition.
Chrystos Argys (EG-Moses Brown) had a promising debut at Holy Cross. He has been derailed
by injury the past year but hopes to regain his old form as the Crusaders, under Bob Chesney,
have become players in the FCS playoff picture.
North Kingstown’s Noah Iden has handled kickoff duties for UCONN (FBS) and has three more
years to demonstrate his leg and accuracy. He already holds a couple of records for the Huskies.
Another kicker, Harrison Leonard (EG-Jamestown-Avon Old Farms) is vying to be the kicker
for the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Lo and behold, another Rhode Islander, Jason Onye of
Bishop Hendricken (6-3- 280) may be joining him shortly. Imagine, two boys from Lil’ Rhody
on the roster of one of the most storied programs in college football.
Former Hawk, Jake Picard is vying for a starting role at VillaNova and Dylan Poirier
(North Kingstown) is doing the same at UNH. Sean Coyne has already proved his worth to the Wildcats, who look to return to their former lofty prominence in the CAA. At one point, just
a few years ago, UNH defeated 11 of 12 FBS programs in their supposed “get whipped and take the money games”. One of them was Northwestern of the Big Ten.
Jehlani Galloway (Classical) should be starting for Boston College this year at wide
receiver. He got a few shares of hikes last fall and looked good for the Eagles.
Though a D-3 player, Matt Sylvia(EG)of Salve Regina has already racked up All League,All
ECAC and ALL East awards and his play, size and speed may get him a shot at the next
step on the football staircase.
Another D-3 player who may go on is Steve Gacioch (Tiverton), 6-3, 220lb QB for Umass-Dartmouth. He already has a host of awards including school passing marks and two Boston Globe Outstanding Player trophies. He will be up for D-3 All American after this fall and
is a cinch for D-3 Academic All American.
Rhode Island is well represented in the coaching ranks also. Former LaSalle star Liam Coen, who set all kinds of UMass passing records and played Arena with the Alabama Vipers did a stint with the LA Rams and is now the OC at Kentucky. Joining him there is Brad White (Hendricken-Wake Forest), who is DC for the Wildcats.
Mike Flanagan (Hendricken-URI) is a top assistant at URI and Willie Edwards (West Warwick-URI) is a coach at Brown and an area scout for the NFL Rams.
Ari Confessor (Mt. Pleasant-Holy Cross), a two-time All American at The Cross, is a wide
receivers coach at the Air Force Academy in Colorado.
Former Westerly Bulldogs Ryan McCormack (UMass-Dartmouth) and Damian Wroblewski (AHC-James Madison U.) are both making their mark in coaching on the college scene. So there you have it. If you know of any more Rhody boys making their mark in college or the pros, feel free to email me at [email protected].
This release provided by Brooker Sports Initiative is not connected to any group or organization and is provided as free information for newspapers, TV, radio or any other group interested in touting Rhode Island sports, especially football.