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UMass Picks up Six at First Clam Bake

(Jack Wynne was one of six recruits to verbal to UMass during the first-annual UMass Clam Bake/

At the end of the 2012 camp season, UMass coach Charley Molnar spent some time thinking about how he and his staff could leave a lasting impression on recruits.

He knew that once the fall hit, there would be no real face-to-face contact unless a recruit came to a game or visited during a Bye week. He felt that “maybe some of the momentum we created was lost,” so he wanted to put together an event that would “leave us in a good position.”

With that thought in mind, the second-year head coach decided to try something a little different, something that would leave an impression on the new crop of recruits.

He rolled out the UMass Clam Bake.

“It has a New England flavor to it, if you will,” he said.

The first-annual clam bake, held on July 28, was a huge success for UMass. The Minutemen picked up verbal commitments from Chris Carter (DE), Jack Wynne (DE), Josh Smiley (TE/LB), Dan DiNicola (OL), Jacob Largay (DT) and Jason Sylva (LB), according to multiple sources. There were a few others who may be close. In total, there were about 30 recruits on hand, according to a source.

Under NCAA rules, Molnar isn’t allowed to speak about unsigned recruits, but indicated that a number of guys left impressed with the program. He added that UMass’ coaching staff plans on reaching out to some of the attendees during the next couple of days.

“The recruiting will never stop. We will have a recruiting meeting tomorrow, and some of the young men that were here today can expect to get some phone calls from some guys over the next 24 to 48 hours,” he said. “There are some guys who might be in a little more of a hurry to commit since we’re almost halfway done with our class.”

After the first-annual UMass Clam Bake, the Minutemen have 11 of their 2014 scholarships accounted for.

When asked whether the team would come up with a catchy name for the event in years to come, Molnar said he was comfortable just calling it, “the UMass Clam Bake.” He indicated that it pretty much sums up what the staff is going for – an event that is uniquely Massachusetts’.

“Not everyone can have a clam bake. They can fake one, but they can’t have a clam bake like we can,” he said.

Shane Waldron, UMass’ recruiting coordinator, said the event – which was considered an unofficial visit for the recruits in attendance – gave the coaches a good chance to sit down face-to-face with recruits.

“It was a great turnout for us. We had a bunch of top players from throughout the Eastern seaboard. Not only did we get commitments out of this, but there’s another group of guys who are on the verge, and this was another chance to sit down with the coaches in a barbecue atmosphere, which allows it to be a little more laid back,” he said.

He added that the event took place next to the new performance center construction area.

“It made it a lot more of a tangible item to showcase to the recruits,” he said.

DiNicola, one of the six commits, said he enjoyed the event and said it was different than a lot of the other recruiting events he’s been to in the past.

“It was awesome. I got a chance to talk to the coaching staff on a more personal level. It was a little different than the camp atmosphere,” he said. “I got to talk to the coaches and cover topics other than football. I met an academic advisor who was very informative and got to meet a few other recruits. Overall it was a really good event, and I couldn’t be happier about the outcome.”

Across the country, bigger programs typically have similar events. At the University of Michigan, the Wolverines hold a “BBQ in the Big House,” where it gathers recruits for a meet-and-greet with coaches. Typically, these events yield a number of verbal commitments.

Follow Bob on Twitter: @BobMcGovernJr


  1. boris says:

    has any long time UMASS fan ever seen this kind of size and speed commit to UMASS SO EARLY?!!!


    1. ms says:

      Dorothy: Toto, I’m afraid we aren’t in Kansas any more!
      Toto: No sh*t, Einstein! But we’re going back to Manhattan to kick ass, take names, and steal the hearts of women.

  2. Larry says:

    Well well well

    Really enjoying the summer and doing as many outdoors activities as possible.

    I really enjoy salsa and the last few years I have made some from my own garden. Never was exposed to having a garden growing up and have found this is not always as easy as it looks but it is also an enjoyable challenge too.

    In 2012 I went to the College World Series in Omaha. Stopped to eat one time at a farmstand and was talking with some folks who most in MA would call “farmers”. They asked if I farmed and we talked about it a little. One guy said something that was pretty prophetic “It takes time to make things grow that way you want them too.” He was also a big Nebraska football fan and said the same was true for Husker football too. He shared that the best thing Nebraska ever did was bring in Boyd Eppley to start the weight and fitness program and to encourage players to walk on and earn a scholarship.

    Seems a lot of these same ideas have been planted at UMass.

    Not for a second saying we can expect a bumper crop of wins this year but it seems like we have a good mix of coaches and current players and players-to-be.

    With some support this has all of the makings of a good program.

    Excuse me for going the farming route with all of this but it seemed like it was kind of appropriate. A little patience, some sweat and good fortune and it looks like we should be ok.

    Larry sec 109 (where the glass is always half full)

    1. ms says:

      Am having a great summer as well. I hope everyone is. Even if we end with 2 or 3 wins, I will be very happy and proud if the games are competitive. If we can keep the game within reach in the fourth quarter, there is no telling what may happen on any given Saturday. It’s the endurance and strength that needs to be addressed. With an excellent coaching staff, the boys of last fall will begin to play with the confidence and aplomb of young men with experience. Speed, strength, endurance, intelligence.

    2. SJGMoney says:

      Next year Larry is supplying all the condiments, fresh from his garden, for the clam bake and cookout!!

      I’ll bring the whine and cheese.

      1. Larry says:


        We win 4 this year n your idea is a definite.

        Keeping the glass half full

        Larry sec 109

        1. UMASS FAN says:

          The future looks very bright and its apparent UMASS is getting more recognition from recruits as a solid DIV 1 program. AWESOME.

          I’m calling minimum 5 wins in 2013, maybe more. For these kids it was a learning experience and adjustment to play a full DIV 1 season. After losing that many games it leaves a sour taste in your mouth, leaves you more hungry to compete and prove to everyone who UMASS is. Always remember “its not the size of the dog in the fight its the fight its the fight inside the dog” “hard work will always beat talent because talent doesn’t know how to work hard” With that being said these kids are going to come out this year with a chip on their shoulder with something to prove. WATCH…….

        2. SJGMoney says:

          Larry my man, I can’t wait. I’m hoping we play well, continue that momentum from the end of last year and then get a few bounces, a few breaks and get a bunch of wins. Maine, Akron, Miami at home and hoping we steal another 1 or 2. 4-5 wins this year and we will have some silly momentum going into next year. I’m also calling for us to scare KState. Scare them enough so Snyder has to change his depends after the game.

  3. YeahImaBoss says:

    Wow, as I was reading over the list of names Josh Smiley and I had went to school in middle together. I just graduated at Chicopee High, and he had transferred from Chicopee Comp to the prep school.

    Congrats on doings and making things a reality bro, have fun in college. Thanks for representing Chicopee.

  4. ms says:

    How about a lobster and clam bake next year?

    1. SJGMoney says:

      Eagle and Clam bake, August 30, 2014

      1. Bumpa says:

        I love grilled Eagle. Almost as good as poached Huskie! Yummy!

        1. ms says:

          I love you guys.

          1. Bear81 says:

            Love all of this!!!

    2. Bear81 says:

      And Dont Forget The Maine Bear Roast

  5. SJGMoney says:

    Just a superb job by the coaches and hats off to Bob McG for being on top of this today, just a great day all around.

    Now, if only the Coaches had waited until Thursday and the unveiling of the new Musket site for this bonanza then we’d know for sure Robert McGovern Esq. has some pull!!

    1. Bob McGovern says:

      It’s already up there – waiting patently for its new audience.

  6. umass1991 says:

    Bob, couple of questions when you have to time to digest the event…

    1 – was this event only for recruits/staff or were current players also in attendance

    2- Were the 30 recruits all for the 2014 class or some for say 2015 or 16

    3- Were any of the 30 committed elsewhere and the staff was using this event to flip them

    4- I doubt Molnar will give out all the names, but can we find out if JT and/or Frank the Tank attended

    1. Bob McGovern says:

      1) I believe it was only recruits/staff. A lot of players are home right now.

      2) That I’m not sure about, but I know of the dozen or so I heard about, most were 2014.

      3) I’m not at liberty to saY unfortunatEly, Sorry

      4) Norvel is the only one I heard about.

      1. SJGMoney says:

        A lot of the current players, who have been working their asses off all summer up there, taking classes and eating and lifting and sweating in their non-airconditioned dorms, have this last week off before camp starts for good next week. Last week off for the next 4+months.

        1. SJGMoney says:

          Edit: this list of players that has been up there working hard almost all summer includes a lot of incoming freshman, didn’t mean to leave them out.

      2. umass1991 says:

        np on #3. had to ask

  7. John says:

    Went away for the weekend and come back to find UMass picked up 6 guys. Wow

  8. Rory says:

    Great idea and re-branding for the program. Another example of a superior idea from Molnar.

  9. NJUMASS08 says:

    Pretty excited. Can’t wait to see what these guys do in their senior seasons. Hopefully we can hold onto them.

  10. Bob says:

    Quite a pick 6 for UMASS football. The staff is top notch, building, working, pushing forward. Let’s hope all other parts of the athletic department are working as hard to help this program be successful.

    1. Bear81 says:

      Yes top noch staff just like the the late 70″s staff coach Mac, Jimmy Reid, C B & Company when I played.

  11. umass1991 says:

    glad to see a DT in the mix

  12. Matt Alkire says:

    I think Brick killed a guy!

    1. umass1991 says:

      nice.. It is always a good day when you can pull out an Anchorman quote

    2. Mike from the heart of the Commonwealth says:

      Yeah Brick I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that……

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