Wolves' expectations high for upcoming tryout
Open player tryouts are key to any team in the arenafootball2 league's success, just ask Manchester Wolves Head Coach Ben Bennett.
Since Bennett arrived in Manchester in 2005 he has conducted a handful of open player tryouts and with them success usually follows as he has brought in 11 players from tryouts to training camp. This Sunday, 8am at Bedford Rising Stars Complex, Bennett's expecting to bump up that total when the Wolves host their second and final open tryout in preperations for the 2007 season.
So far over 40 prospects from across the nation with different levels of playing experience ranging from high school, Division I, II, III college programs, to semi professional leagues are signed up and ready to show off their skills in efforts to impress the Wolves coaching staff.
"At least on paper this Sunday's tryout looks to be the biggest since I've been here," said Bennett. "There is always those one or two diamonds in the rough at each tryout and it's our job as a staff to find out who those diamonds are."
Some of the athletes or potential diamonds expected to shine this Sunday are:
Virgil Gray - Four-year starter at Defensive Back from the University of Rhode Island and a 2006 Atlantic 10 Football All-Conference Defense 2nd Team recipient.
Paul Deguire - Four-year starter at Full Back from Union College.
Antonio Guzzo - Four-year starter at Wide Receiver from Salve Regina and a three-time All-Conference NEFC player.
Joan Quezada - Four-year starter at Defensive Back from the University of Maine.
Andrew Ruggiero - Three-year starter on the Offensive/Defensive Lines from Bentley College and a three-time All-NE 10 player along with earning this year's Co-Defensive Player of the Year
Out of the 11 players that Bennett signed from the open tryout camps to attend training camp four have gone from the tryout field to Brady Sullivan Field at the Verizon Wireless Arena. The first, Ron Smalls, was signed after the Wolves first open tryout leading up to their 2005 season. Smalls (5'9",175), a defensive specialist from Morehouse, would play in all 17 games in 2005 and 10 games in 2006, collecting a total of 98.5 total tackles, two interceptions, and three forced fumbles - one for touchdown. The second, David Bailey, was signed after the Wolves second open tryout in 2005. Bailey (5'8", 170), a wide receiver/defensive back, joined the Wolves in late June after he graduated from the University of New Hampshire and played in five games in 2005 and 10 games in 2006, catching 75 balls for 816 yards and 10 touchdowns on offense while tallying 26.5 total tackles and one interception on defense. The third, Ari Confesor, opened the eyes of the Wolves brass after an excellent open tryout performance in 2005. Confesor (5-11, 175), a wide receiver from Holy Cross, would sign one year later and play seven games for the Wolves in 2006, collecting 24 receptions for 410 yards and 10 touchdowns. The fourth, Mike Abate, was signed after the Wolves first open tryout in 2005 leading up to the 2006 season. Abate (6'3", 240), a quarterback from Southern Connecticut State, made it through training camp and the first two 2006 regular season games last season before being released. The most recent, Shawn Brady ( Northeastern University), was signed after a strong performance in the Wolves first open tryout in November 2006. Brady (6'2, 205), is gearing up for his first professional training camp and is currently the only quarterback on the Wolves 2007 training camp roster.
Participants on Sunday will complete in any drills that are done at professional football combines or tryouts including but not limited to Short Shuttle, 40-Yard Dash, Broad Jump, One-on-One Drills and Position Drills. The tryout will be held indoors on a synthetic surface. Directions to the Rising Stars facility can be found on the web at: www.nhrisingstars.com/directions.htm .
Interested players can still pre-register for the tryout for a fee of $50.00 by calling the Wolves office at 603.627.9653 by Friday February 23, or they can show up the day of the event and pay the $60.00 fee.
The Wolves will be entering their fourth season in Manchester playing on Brady Sullivan Field at the Verizon Wireless Arena with training camp starting on March 10, and the season opener kicking off against the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Pioneers on March 31.
For more information on obtaining 2007 season tickets for the Manchester Wolves, fans can contact the Wolves office at 603.627.WOLF (9653) or visit them on the web at www.manchesterwolves.com .
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