On Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, five North Penn seniors were recognized for signing letters of intent to continue their football careers at the collegiate level. Photos courtesy of Keith Clemens Photography. To view photos of the event, please visit the Photo Gallery...CLICK HERE.
Nick Dillon – Lock Haven University (Football)
Major: Athletic Training
Reasons for choosing Lock Haven: “I looked at the PSAC schools. Lock Haven was my first visit, and when I went there, I liked the campus. They also offered me a spot on the team.”
What was the progression that led you to playing football at the collegiate level? “I always wanted to play. At first, I wasn’t believing it was going to happen, but when the schools started coming around and started calling me, I was like, ‘This could be happening.’ It opened my eyes that it could come true.
Best football memory: “For me, it was camp, seeing everybody playing together and then building a bond.”
Coach Dick Beck says: “Especially his junior year, Nick had some injury issues that kept him out of a lot of games. This year he had a little bit of an ankle injury midway through the season, and he really fought through it. He had a fantastic year out of the backfield. He had over 400 yards total offense when it came to receiving and rushing. He was our main guy getting the ball out of the backfield running the ball. He’s very elusive. Rarely, did anyone make a tackle square on. He makes you miss in the open field and has good speed. He’s a very good receiver out of the backfield.”
Favorite food: Chick-fil-A
Favorite movie: The Jungle
Favorite music: Hip Hop
Jake Hubler – Millersville University (Football)
Reasons for choosing Millersville: “I was looking around the PSAC area and kind of seeing what I could go with. Millersville came around, took me on a couple of visits, and I fell in love with the campus.
“I’ve always dreamed of playing football in college, whether it was any level – Division III, Division II, Division I, but this is really a dream come true. I get to play football and continue my academic and football career at Millersville. I think it’s going to be a great fit for me.”
What was the progression that led you to playing football at the collegiate level? “When it really occurred to me was when I got my first e-mail to go to a camp for Millersville and Lock Haven, and once I got there, I saw the competition, and I felt I could compete.”
Best football memory: “I’ll definitely remember the bond we all made. Coming up here with all my friends I played Cannoneers with, we wound up doing big things our senior year.”
Coach Dick Beck says: “Jake is going to Millersville as a wide receiver. He’s very dependable, he’s a great route runner, he’s got good hands, good speed, he’s a very good blocker on the edge. I think he’ll fit right in with what they do – a slot receiver, possession guy, but he has good speed and can make people miss in the open field.
“Jake was one of the lead-by-example guys, he’s not super vocal, but he always had a very positive attitude during practice – never down but always smiling, laughing, having fun. Jake really enjoys the camaraderie amongst the team and enjoyed coming to practice every day.”
Favorite food: Pizza
Favorite movie: Interstellar
Favorite music: Rap
Ricky Johns – West Virginia University (Football)
Major: Athletic Training
Final list of colleges: West Virginia, Temple, Towson, Marshall, Villanova
Reasons for choosing West Virginia: “West Virginia was the first school to offer me. It’s a big-time school, and I wanted to play big-time competition.”
What was the progression that led you to playing football at the collegiate level? “(I started thinking about it) probably my sophomore year when coach Beck told me I could be a big-time player at a Division One A school. That gave me motivation, and it came true.
“It feels great. I’m relieved right now. Just the whole process from the beginning of my career and hoping to get a scholarship - I have worked hard, and it came true. Just having my family here and everyone around me and being blessed with the opportunity to play at the next level, it’s just a great feeling.”
Best football memory: “Just the bond we built during the season – it was a long season, but it was a long run. It was a tough loss at the end, but I would do anything for these guys. We’re just family.”
Coach Dick Beck says: “West Virginia envisions him playing defense, but he could play wide receiver also. I think what they like most about him is his versatility. He has a lot of football smarts, he has a great feel for the game. His thing is going to be how much weight can he put on and how fast he can put it on, which will determine how fast he gets on the field. They want him playing strong safety, so I think he’s going to have to be around 210-215 by at least the second year.
“The thing that was most important was Ricky’s durability. He started for us both ways all three years and never missed a game, never missed a practice. It’s a great testament to his durability, his toughness, his willingness to come to practice every day.
“Obviously, he was a big play receiver for us, and when you have Reece (Udinski) throwing the ball to him, it certainly helps. He’d get open, especially on some deep routes. He’s the school’s all-time leading receiver, he holds the single season record for the most yardage, most receptions, most touchdowns.”
Favorite food: Italian
Favorite movie: The Blind Side
Favorite music: Rap
Reece Udinski – Virginia Military Institute (Football)
Reasons for choosing VMI: “Throughout the summer going into my senior year, there were a lot of schools that I was considering, anywhere from SCS to Division II. VMI offered me a full scholarship, so I went down and took a visit. I just really liked the coaches, and I liked the atmosphere at the school.”
What was the progression that led you to playing football at the collegiate level? “I was really going into my high school career thinking I was going to play lacrosse in college, but after my junior football season, I kind of shifted towards football. There were a lot of schools that came in, and as time went on, the list kind of narrowed down.
“It’s always been a goal of mine, and throughout the summer leading into my senior year, it was very stressful, I’m not going to lie. It was just hard times, but I think the best thing I did was put all the college stuff off and focused on my senior season. After the season, I started to focus back on college. The fact that VMI came to me at the end of the season and offered me has just been a dream come true because I know that’s the best fit for me.”
Best football memory: “After junior year when we lost in the District One championship, we all got together, put in a lot of time in the offseason, and to win a District One championship our senior year and to see all of our hard work pay off was pretty awesome.”
Coach Dick Beck says: “Reece showed great leadership, and he has an uncanny ability to find the correct receiver even though he wasn’t the most open receiver. Rarely did we have a third-and-eight or third-and-seven where the ball was thrown for less than the yardage we needed to get for the first down, so he always knew the situation, where the ball had to be, so that was important for us. As a leader, he’s another kid that never missed a game, never missed a practice, never missed an offseason workout.
“Reece’s versatility when it comes to being a three-sport star – on the basketball team, the leading scorer on the lacrosse team. Obviously, for us, he threw over 4,000 yards. I don’t think it’s all about statistics with him, but that’s a pretty amazing statistic. In two years, he had over 6,500 yards passing and a completion percentage over 60 percent. He has the District One’s all-time leading single-season record for yards in a season. Reece had over 400 yards and four touchdowns in the District One championship game against Garnet Valley. What else can you say? The guy just had an amazing year – pinpoint accuracy, arm strength, a good feel for the game, a good feel for the offense. He was under a lot of pressure – an undefeated season, everyone asking where he’s going to go to college, and he took it all in stride and just came to work every day.”
Favorite food: Buffalo Wings
Favorite movie: Friday Night Lights
Favorite music: Drake
Nick Vasger – Kutztown University (Football)
Final list of colleges: Kutztown, Bloomsburg, Shippensburg, West Chester
Reasons for choosing Kutztown: “I chose Kutztown because of the coaches. I liked the campus, and I feel like it will be a good fit for me.”
What was the progression that led you to playing football at the collegiate level? “At the end of my junior year before my senior year, I decided I wanted to play college football. I just love the game, so I wanted to continue as much as I possibly could. I had a couple of colleges reach out to me, so that was exciting.
“It’s been a long process. I just remember coming in here as a freshman, and my personal goal was just to wear the uniform on Friday night and be able to cheer on my older classmates and support them and just get the experience. To get the opportunity so young to be able to contribute and win a starting position, I was just endlessly grateful for that, and to coach Beck and the rest of the coaches and my teammates for supporting me and helping me become a better football player and a better person and to be able to get to this day to sign - I couldn’t ask for anything else.”
Best football memory: “My memories definitely come from this team. These are my best friends since I was young, and that will be the greatest thing I’ll remember. We had a lot of success, and that’s nice and all. We all enjoying coming to practice together, we enjoyed weight lifting. I’ll remember that.”
Coach Dick Beck says: “Nick was a great leader, a constant motor on defense. He was very flexible – he could play linebacker or defensive end. On the offensive side, he could play H-back or fullback or tight end for Kutztown. He has great ball skills. He can catch the ball, but I think he’ll shine on defense. He loves to play the game. He plays with a lot of passion, he plays with a lot of energy.
“Before Nick got injured during the (state semifinal) St. Joe’s Prep game, we had only given up seven points on defense, and D’Andre Swift was under 100 yards rushing. In the fourth quarter, they scored 21 points and D’Andre Swift rushed for 175 yards. Nick got injured, didn’t play at all in the fourth quarter, and that will tell you how important he was to us.”
Favorite food: Shrimp
Favorite movie: Gridiron Gang
Favorite music: Country