Dek hockey athleticism earns North Hills lineman 1st college football offer

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Sunday, May 17, 2020 | 5:16 PM


At 6-foot-5 and around 230 pounds, North Hills’ Matt Hummel is bigger than most dek hockey players.

Off-the-shelf sticks are often too short.

But the athleticism that lets him play multiple sports also has college football coaches interested in recruiting the offensive lineman. The junior added his first Division I offer this week from UConn. The Huskies visited Hummel’s school before the state issued stay-at-home orders.

“He’s a really athletic kid for a lineman,” North Hills coach Pat Carey said. “He’s played some basketball. He played shortstop on a baseball team, plays a lot of dek hockey. He’s just a pretty good athlete.

“He’ll probably need to fill-out and be a redshirt in college, but there’s a lot of potential that college coaches see in him.”

Unfortunately, other coaches can’t see him right now.

The coronavirus pandemic and the shutdown of school buildings have caused a disruption in the normal recruiting process. This is a time of year when college coaches would be visiting schools. The NCAA recruiting calendar has an evaluation period from April 15 to May 31, but those in-person visits aren’t happening.

A strong summer and senior season would boost Hummel’s stock, but there remains a lot of uncertainty.

“It would be nice for those guys to see Matt and see what he looks like,” Carey said. “They’re going to eyeball him and say, ‘Yeah, maybe he can get to 300.’ Or, ‘No, I don’t think he can.’ I think that’s the part college coaches are missing out on a bit.”

Hummel had a solid season at left tackle as a first-year starter last fall. As college coaches scouted film of senior tackle Ronnie Novosedliak, that likely earned Hummel added exposure. The two linemen have similar builds.

“That probably got my name introduced,” Hummel said.

Novosedliak (6-7, 255) signed with Central Michigan.

“UConn offered Ronnie last year,” Carey said, “and this guy is a very similar fit.”

Huskies defensive coordinator Lou Spanos, a former Steelers assistant coach, is a Keystone Oaks graduate. Former Indianapolis Colts assistant Frank Giufre is the offensive coordinator and line coach under coach Randy Edsall.

The UConn staff prefers long, athletic tackles, Carey said. Hummel announced his offer Tuesday.

“I was ecstatic and a little nervous as first,” he said. “It was a surprise. I wasn’t expecting it.”

Hummel is optimistic other offers will follow. For now, he is trying to stay in shape while adding some weight.

“I’ve been trying to walk my neighborhood, lift a little bit and eat a lot more,” said Hummel, who typically plays dek hockey in Brighton Heights, but the rink is closed.

He is hoping offseason football workouts with his teammates can resume at some point soon.

“It’s hard to work out on your own,” Carey said. “A guy like Matt can only benefit from being in our weight room and being with his teammates.”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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