New Castle News


February 6, 2014

Football Signing Day: Jeffries, McFarland choose their schools



The Colonials were the front-runners in the sweepstakes for McFarland’s services early in the recruiting process.

A pair of visits to Robert Morris’ campus ultimately eliminated Mercyhurst, Edinboro, Clarion and Mount Union from consideration.

“Early on in the process, I think he really liked Robert Morris,” Lamenza said. “It’s a good time to be there. Coach (Joe) Walton is retiring and Coach (John) Banaszak is taking over. I think most of the staff is staying on board. The program is on solid ground. It’s top-notch football. It’s a good league. I’m really happy with his decision. He took his time and thought it out.”

McFarland said he was at ease with his future coaches and the university’s facilities.

“I felt comfortable there and I had a good relationship with the coaching staff,” he said. “They invited me to a game early in the season, so I went for the visit. I really liked it. They invited me back for a more personal visit. I got a closer look at the facilities that I might be using when I went there.”

He also liked being under an hour away from home.

“That was another factor in my decision,” said McFarland, who’d like to major in either engineering or sports medicine. “Robert Morris is only about 45 minutes away. I’m close to my family, so I wanted to stay close. This way we can keep in touch. It was far enough, but not too far away.”

The Colonials’ coaching staff will keep McFarland at safety when he reports to preseason camp this summer.

“I’m sure it’ll be different,” he said. “I’ll have to adjust to the speed of the game. That just means that I have to get in the weight room and get bigger and stronger. I have to get myself prepared. I’d love to go in and play right away, but at almost any college, you’re likely not going to start or play as a freshman. My goal is to get on the bus at least. If that doesn’t happen, redshirting would help, because I could get stronger and practice with the team. I’d be able to learn the playbook.”

Lamenza said McFarland has the ability to excel at the FCS level.

“He’s an explosive football player with pretty good speed,” the Mohawk coach said. “He’s smart. He was the quarterback of our defense. He’ll need all those attributes at the next level. We talked about the differences between high school football and playing football at Robert Morris. He’s going to be playing with a bunch of guys that are like him. That’s where his explosiveness will be an asset to him.

“He’s a tough, gritty football player. He was a good cover guy and he’s a big, physical safety. He wasn’t afraid to stick his nose in there. He had some big hits. He had some amazing interceptions this year. He’s a complete safety.”


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