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February 25, 2009

N.Y. tight end discusses Terps pledge

There wasn’t much Terps-related discussion between Sean Fitzpatrick and his father, Dennis, on the plane ride from Rochester, N.Y., to Maryland.

No talk of a potential commitment, no weighing of pros and cons, no breakdown of the depth chart or talk of academic programs. Maryland’s reputation preceded itself, Fitzpatrick said. So in the minds of both father and son, there was a good chance going in that the younger Fitzpatrick would end his recruitment on the trip.

“We both were going into [the visit] knowing [Maryland’s] a great school academically. We both heard positive things about [UM],” Fitzpatrick said. “As soon as we stepped [on campus], there was something special about it. I can’t really explain it, but I knew it was the right place for me.”

Fitzpatrick left College Park as Maryland’s third oral commitment of the 2010 class. The 6-foot-6, 225-pounder chose UM over an offer from Buffalo and interest from Boston College, Pittsburgh and UConn, among others. Fitzpatrick said he received much of his information on UM from former Terps punter Adam Podlesh, a fellow Pittsford, N.Y., native.

As a junior at Pittsford Mendon High School in upstate New York, Fitzpatrick helped the Vikings to a 6-3 finish. The Raiders lost by a field goal in the first round of the playoffs. Mendon coach Keith Molinich started Fitzpatrick at tight end and free safety.

“His work ethic is phenomenal and he’s very versatile,” Molinich said. “He’s done a lot of different things for us. We have a young man who played tight end for us the last two years who’s going to Princeton. A lot of times we’d use Sean as a receiver. He’s pretty quick. In open space he can make kids miss. ... His fastest [40] time is a 4.57 on a stopwatch. He’s probably a legit 4.6 kid. And to be that big and be able to move like he does stands out. And [he has a great] ability to go up and catch the ball. He just goes up and takes it from people.”

While Fitzpatrick’s likely slated for tight end at UM, he’ll move under center as a senior for Mendon. He served as the backup quarterback as a junior but will replace a departed senior in the fall. Fitzpatrick said he’s excited about the move.

“I’m excited because I can use my athleticism and speed, so when a play breaks down, I can make something happen,” Fitzpatrick said. “The game will be on my shoulders, so I can decide whether we win or lose. I want to have that responsibility.”

Fitzpatrick said his weekend visit to College Park was a whirlwind trip that completely lived up to his expectations. But when asked to pinpoint a certain moment when he knew UM was the right fit, Fitzpatrick was stumped.

“I can’t really explain it -- it was just a gut feeling that I knew it was the right place for me,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s in the ACC conference, which you can’t really beat. I’ll be surrounded by great people, great coaches, a supportive student body and you can’t really compete with that. It has everything I’m looking for in a school.”

Click on the video player for Fitzpatrick’s junior highlights.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:00 AM | | Comments (2)


Welcome Sean! Glad to have you at MD!

Goodbye Sean! Bleh!

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About Matt Bracken

Matt Bracken was a lightly recruited football and tennis prospect out of East Lansing (Mich.) High School in 2001, but spurned all (nonexistent) scholarship offers to attend the University of Michigan. Matt graduated from UM in 2005, earned a master's degree in new media journalism from Northwestern University in 2006, and spent the first 11 months of his career as an online producer / videographer / blogger at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. He has worked at The Baltimore Sun since July 2007, where he currently serves as the deputy sports editor for digital.

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