Allen Lessels' UNH Notebook: Central grad O'Neill among football captains
UNH coach Sean McDonnell announced on Thursday morning, in advance of Saturday's Blue-White game in Cowell Stadium that ends the spring football session, that O'Neill had been picked by the team as one of three captains of the 2013 edition. He joins running back Chris Setian and strong safety Manny Asam. All are seniors.
"I was surprised," said O'Neill, a former standout at Manchester Central. "We have a lot of great guys and a lot of great leaders on this team and to be chosen out of all of them, it's a great honor."
McDonnell likes the leadership group.
"All three have worked very, very hard in this program," he said. "O'Neill came in from New Hampshire not heavily recruited. We saw him in high school in two sports being a very good player and a very good leader. I think he's grown as he's been here in the football program."
O'Neill started five games as a redshirt freshman and has been a fulltime starter the last two seasons.
"Manny brings a heckuva lot of energy," McDonnell said. "Kids magnetize to him. He's a high motor guy. And Setian is probably the best story of all. He's a true (recruited) walk-on and he's earned a full scholarship. He does it in the weight room and he does it in the classroom. He's a hard, tough, UNH type of kid. I'm excited for all three kids."
ONeill was third team all-CAA as a sophomore and followed his father, Brian, and uncle, Matt, as a first-team pick in 2012. Brian, a defensive lineman, made the team in 1984 and 1985 and Matt, a center, in 1992.
Seamus was also cited by the CAA for his academic work last fall.
"I told him last fall that's something his uncle and I were never able to accomplish," Brian O'Neill, the deputy director of the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, said with a laugh on Thursday afternoon. "When he called to tell me he'd been pick as captain this morning, I said. 'You're just rubbing it in now.' . . . We're so proud of him. I think he's going to be great in that leadership role."
O'NEILL has been rehabilitating from off-season shoulder surgery and the other two captains are banged up as well. None will participate in Saturday's 12:30 scrimmage. Wide receivers R.J. Harris and Jimmy Giansante and offensive linemen Mike Coccia and Rob Bowman are among the other starters who are recuperating from injuries or surgery and will sit out Saturday's game as well.
The hotly contested competition for the starting quarterback job between Andy Vailas, a junior-to-be out of Bedford and Bishop Guertin of Nashua, and sophomore Sean Goldrich continues, McDonnell said. "Both of them have been great in the spring," McDonnell said. "Both of them can win in this league. We've just got to figure out which one is going to be the starter. The competition will probably go into fall camp."
CAMERON LYLE, the senior thrower on the track and field team out of Timberlane of Plaistow, plans to go to the America East competition this weekend at Binghamton University to cheer on his teammates.
Lyle, whose story went nationwide and beyond last week, gave up the final competitions of his collegiate career when he had the opportunity to donate his bone marrow to a 28-year-old man stricken with an aggressive cancer and in dire need of it. Lyle was a rare match through the National Marrow Donor Program.
He spent the end of last week in Massachusetts General Hospital and is back at school and doing well, said UNH track and field coach Jim Boulanger, but is limited in what he can do as he recuperates from the procedure.