Pa. OL Conaboy commits to Maryland
Seventeen Division I schools offered Sal Conaboy a scholarship, but for the Abington Heights (Pa.) High offensive lineman, nothing was better than offer No. 1.
On Wednesday night Conaboy committed to Maryland, picking the Terps over Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, Minnesota, Temple, West Virginia, Vanderbilt, New Mexico State, Illinois, Akron, Connecticut, Michigan State, Marshall, Buffalo, Eastern Michigan and Oregon.
“It’s a good feeling,” Conaboy said. “They were the first ones to offer and they were always on top.”
The Terps offered Conaboy a scholarship in the spring, less than a year after the 6-foot-5, 255-pounder made the move from tight end to offensive guard. It was about one year ago when Abington Heights coach Joe Repshis came to Conaboy with the request to switch positions.
“After the day practice during a double session last year, I pulled him in between practices and told him about the position change,” Repshis said. “A lot of times you don’t know what response you’ll get from a skill position guy who’s going to be catching the ball and scoring touchdowns and asking someone to move to a position where that’s not going to happen. But he was very receptive to it. It was what the team needed, but also an opportunity for him to be recognized as far as being able to play at the next level.”
Conaboy admitted that he wasn’t thrilled about the move at first. As a sophomore on varsity, Conaboy made his mark as a blocking tight end. He was looking forward to being more involved in the offense as a junior. But he got over the initial disappointment and embraced the change.
“At the time it was kind of disappointing,” Conaboy said. “But I wanted to help my team and I knew I would be getting on the field more, so in that sense I was kind of happy about it. ... I think I owe a lot to [Repshis]. They always said they wanted me to make the move and they finally did it and it worked out great.”
From Repshis’ point of view, Conaboy’s move to the offensive line couldn’t have worked out much better. Abington Heights finished 10-2 and Conaboy was instrumental in that success. He proved a quick study in making the transition to the offensive line.
“He’s very athletic and has very good feet,” Repshis said. “He’s very fundamentally and technically sound. ... He’s very smart and he’s a student of the game and he’s very coachable. And he has that desire to really get better at the position. The fact that he was very athletic as a tight end [is a plus]. He has the size and strength to put on some more weight and muscle size. [Maryland will be able to] keep him big but still keep him athletic. That’s what schools really liked about him. The frame is there.
“... When you watch Sal on film, he’s not stopping until the whistle blows. He’s down there with the running backs making plays. To think what he could be when he puts some size on him, and his athleticism is something I think really interested a lot of the major Division I programs. He plays with great intensity on the football field. He has that attitude and that mindset that you would want to have in a lineman.”
The Maryland coaches are eyeing Conaboy for either guard or center. There’s already a strong relationship in place with Conaboy and offensive line coach Tom Brattan, as well as wide receivers coach Lee Hull, who recruited him and coached Repshis at Holy Cross. Based on multiple visits to College Park and interactions with most of the Maryland staff, Conaboy says he’s confident that the first offer really was the best one for him.
“I just like the whole atmosphere of the place,” Conaboy said. “It’s kind of like one big family, with the way that coaches treat the players and vice versa. It’s just impressive to me.”