By BRIAN JENNINGS
Sammy Thomson, Tim O’Shea, and Jimmy Starr inked their names onto letters of intent in the Southington High School library on Friday, Feb. 9. All three were intricate pieces to Southington’s success in three different areas of the gridiron over the past few years, and now they’re ready for the next level.
“When the kids are making a decision at the college level, we talk to them about finding the right fit,” said Southington coach Mike Drury. “That’s important because you’re going to be investing a lot of time and sacrifice, but it’s a great opportunity. All three of them found the right fit.”
Thomson was a two-year starter and team captain at defensive back for the Blue Knights and will be joining his brother Matt at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. to play for the Division I Red Foxes. He plans to study special education.
“With Marist, I definitely took into consideration my brother going there,” said Thomson. “Coach (Jim) Parady is good friends with Coach Drury, and they just had a great connection the entire time. Besides that, I just love the campus right on the Hudson Valley River. With everything about the school, I just felt like I fit in on my overnight.”
Thomson finished his senior campaign with 42 total tackles (5th on team), including 25 assists, with a team best of 16 batted passes and four interceptions. Thomson also forced a fumble and recovered two.
“Sam Thomson is obviously a great fit,” said Drury. “It will be great for the family to go see both sons play together, which they didn’t have that opportunity here at the high school. He’s going to thrive up there with his ability and attention to detail. They’re going to love him.”
As a 6-foot-4, 195-pound starting wide receiver for the Knights, O’Shea will attending Wagner College in Staten Island, N.Y. to play for the Division I Seahawks. He plans to study business administration with a concentration in management.
“I’ve gone to a lot of schools last summer and was still really trying to find that perfect fit,” said O’Shea. “When I went to Wagner, it was just a beautiful campus. Right off the bat, I knew there was something special about it. After talking to the coaches, they gave me an opportunity to play Division I football, and you can’t really deny that.”
O’Shea finished his senior season with a team high of 49 catches for 609 yards and eight touchdowns, hauling in an average of 12.4 yards per catch.
“Tim was in the mix with several different schools, between Division III to Wagner,” said Drury. “He went up there and really just loved the campus. The coaches wanted him there, and he wanted that opportunity to play at the highest level he possibly can.”
Although offensive linemen usually aren’t in the limelight, Starr was a star for the Knights and played a vital role in Southington’s hurry-up offense. He will remain close to home when he continues his football career in state at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven to play for the Division II Fighting Owls. He plans to study nursing.
“Southern for me really just felt like home,” said Starr. “It was very close to home, and the coaches there were very nice to me. I like the fact that it had my major. It’s just a great school overall.”
After his final season as a high school football player for the Knights, Starr was one of the most crucial blockers on Southington’s offensive line in helping to allow starting quarterback Will Barmore to buy time in the pocket and complete 61.5 percent of his passes for 2,239 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also opened up holes and created gaps in opposing defenses, helping Southington rushers to carry the ball for an average of 4.4 yards per carry with 1,507 yards and 28 touchdowns.
“He was researching the whole offseason about which schools had nursing and whether or not it would work football and financial-wise,” said Drury. “Southern was the best fit. He kind of knew that early on, but he went through the process and looked at a lot of other schools as well.”
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.