Shaker seniors Schuyler Huntington and Ryan Griffin are going from being teammates to being friendly rivals.
Huntington and Griffin signed National Letters of Intent with rival NCAA Football Championship Subdivision schools last Wednesday. Huntington will be a defensive lineman for Maine, while Griffin will be a running back for the University at Albany.
Both schools play in the Colonial Athletic Association, which means Huntington will be looking to stop Griffin from running instead of helping him.
“It should be interesting, and it should be fun,” said Huntington. “With all we did the last three years (at Shaker), it’s only right for us to line up against each other.”
“It’s going to be very exciting to see Schuyler develop as a player and how I develop as a player,” said Griffin.
Shaker lineman David Morrison also committed to a NCAA FCS school, as he signed his National Letter of Intent to play for Dartmouth beginning in the fall. It’s the first time three Shaker football players from the same graduating class have signed to play for FCS schools.
Morrison, who is also a prominent player on Shaker’s Suburban Council North Division championship boys basketball team, said football was always going to be his first choice.
“I definitely knew since eighth grade that I love to play football,” said Morrison. “Basketball is a close second.”
Dartmouth, though, wasn’t an automatic choice for Morrison.
“The first time I ever visited Dartmouth, I was like ‘I’m not even sure I want to come here,’” said Morrison. “But I gave it a second chance over the summer, and I fell in love with the school.”
Huntington said he knew immediately he wanted to attend Maine when he made his first campus visit.
“I loved the campus, I loved the coaches and I loved the players. They have a very close team, with all of the coaches and players being involved,” said Huntington.
Griffin said he weighed his options before choosing to stay close to home and attend Ualbany.
“I looked at what UAlbany had to offer and what the other schools on my list had to offer, and I found nothing to pull me away from home,” said Griffin.
Griffin joins a UAlbany program that is transitioning from being a power player in the Northeastern Conference — where the Great Danes won or shared six league titles since 2002 — to playing in a FCS power conference. The CAA has had two national champions and three finalists since 2006, while the NEC was awarded an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 2011, when UAlbany made its first appearance.
“It’s exciting because you know those teams get to play against (Football Bowl Subdivision teams such as) Rutgers, Syracuse and Pittsburgh every year, so we may get to play against those teams,” said Griffin, who rushed for 1,099 yards and 18 touchdowns to help Shaker win its first Section II Class AA title.
Huntington joins a Maine team that is looking to improve on its 4-4 CAA record from 2012.
“There is a possibility I would go in and play this (fall) season,” said Huntington, who was one of the top defensive linemen in Class AA in 2012. “It depends on how many defensive linemen come in.”
Morrison is also looking to make a quick transition to playing college football for a Dartmouth squad that finished in a three-way tie for third place in the Ivy League last season.
“Only the first and second string players get to travel with the team, and I want to be able to travel with them as a freshman,” said Morrison. “With hard work, I think I can make it.”
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