The rumors started to circulate almost immediately after Jason Sylva verbally committed to UMass.
“There will be bigger programs checking in on this kid,” one source told the Maroon Musket, hours after he committed to the Minutemen at the first-annual Clam Bake. On Tuesday morning, the Hartford Courant’s Desmond Conner tweeted: “Dean JC LB Jason Sylva not quite a lock to UMass just yet. UConn still in picture.”
Sylva signed with UConn back in 2012 but did not academically qualify. He went to Dean College in Franklin, Mass. and initially had the intention of heading to Storrs. On Friday, before heading out to Amherst for the Clam Bake, the linebacker prospect told the Huskies that he had changed his mind.
“I spoke with coach (Paul) Pasqualoni on Friday and told him I was going in another direction and that I appreciated the relationship I’ve been able to make with him,” Sylva said in an interview with the Maroon Musket. “He’s a great guy and a phenomenal coach who I really wanted to play for, but my heart is here in my home state of Mass, and I’m going to help build something very special here.”
Wanting to set the record straight, Sylva told the Maroon Musket that he was interested in being part of the “Made in Mass” campaign, which has been championed by head coach Charley Molnar and his staff. In short, Molnar wants 50 percent of his team to be made up of Bay State natives and, as part of the process, bring in the state’s best recruits.
Sylva believes he can get the ball rolling.
“I plan make my dreams a reality in the state I was born and raised, and I want to be the player to start a trend up here and get the best players from Mass to come to UMass and make it out of their own state and take pride in that,” he said.
He added that, after committing to UMass, a number of bigger schools started to call. Sylva wanted to clear the air and say that he’s committed to the Minutemen.
“People have been questioning my decision because I have a lot of schools calling me who are bigger programs. But after going through this process once I am much more mature and grown,” He said. “I know it’s all about the fit and the relationship you build with the coaches and what they can offer you, and I’m more than satisfied with my decision to play for UMass.”
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