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Uber Stueber: Darien’s biggest recruit makes it official with Michigan

Uber Stueber: Darien’s biggest recruit makes it official with Michigan

By Steven Buono

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Senior Andrew Stueber signs letter of intent for Michigan football at school today.

FOOTBALL

He’s Darien’s biggest signing day recruit. In so many ways.

You just got an offer from Michigan, and you just sat down with Jim Harbaugh. You come home and you want to tell everybody in the world? Not Stueber.

— Rob Trifone

“From the day I met Andrew Stueber, I knew that he had the potential to be a major college recruit,” said Darien football coach Rob Trifone of the 6-6, 300 pound tackle that lorded over the line of scrimmage the past seasons and is bound to continue doing so with Michigan in seasons to come, signing his letter of intent at Darien High Wednesday. “However you never know how a young teenager is going to develop.”

From Wave football, seniors Quinn Fay, Brian Keating — and Finlay Collins for lacrosse — made clear their college intents today as well.

(Coaches, players and parents of Darien High athletes who signed letters of intent this school year are encouraged to notify the Sports Department here at sports@darientimes.com in order to get your due)

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Andrew Stueber stalks his prey at the 2016 state final. Courtesy Darien Athletic Foundation.

“He’ll remember this,” Trifone recounted. “At the end of his freshman football season I invited (him and) his mom to come to my room. And this was my one question: ‘Do you (Andrew) want to pursue playing Division I football? Yes or no?’ And the answer was immediately yes.”

There was a price to pay, but the price was right.

“Because if you don’t,” Trifone had told Stueber, “then I am not going to be all over you if you miss a weight room session. But if you want to play, then I am going to be all over you.”

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Quinn Fay makes his way to Tufts in the fall.

Result: Stueber was all over the opposition, to a rare degree for a high school player in the state, culminating in his big day hovering over that piece of paper in front of him.

“Let me know now,” added Trifone. “And the immediate answer was yes. And I’ll tell you what. That kid from that day forward worked his tail off.”

Lots of players opposite him might have thought that the last thing they saw was the tail of Godzilla raking over them, after Stueber had left them ground into the turf.

But it is his human traits, optimum for his position on the line that counted for as much as his will.

“Yes, I know he was genetically blessed with 6-6 and 290-plus, so that’s genetics,” said Trifone. “But the rest of it, is all hard work. And I am very proud of him.”

Stueber had over 25 offers.

“And obviously from some great schools: Penn State, Boston College, Syracuse, North Carolina, Virginia; you name it,” Trifone said. “Just about every big name on the east coast offered him a scholarship.”

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Finlay Collins, joined by his parents above, will opt for Penn lacrosse.

Michigan had spoken to Stueber, but seeing was still believing.

“They wanted to see him on campus,” recalled Trifone. “In other words they wanted to bring him on campus and see if he was the real deal in person.”

On June 17, one Saturday after school let out, Stueber flew out to Michigan for a one-day skills lineman camp, as many colleges hold.

There were five different agility/speed drills, with shuttle run, 40-yard dash and such.

“I don’t know how many linemen, but there were a lot of recruits there,” Trifone said. “Stueber wins first place, four out of five events.”

Trifone’s phone rang late in the afternoon.

“And it’s (Michigan coach) Jim Harbaugh,” said Trifone. “And he quickly introduces himself, and he says, ‘coach I am sitting next to your big tackle here, and he’s got a grin ear to ear.’”

Those ears had just absorbed the words “full scholarship.”

“And (Harbaugh) said, ‘you have to let me know, Coach Trifone, what we need to do to make sure that Andrew comes here, and not somewhere else.’”

In the back of his mind, Trifone knew there was nowhere else.

“But it wasn’t my place to say, ‘Oh yeah coach, he’ll go’” Trifone said. “So instead I said to Harbaugh, alright coach, well when he returns to Conn. I’ll sit down with him and we’ll discuss his options…”

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Brian Keating has UConn on his mind.

Harbaugh continued his pitch.

“He said, Michigan has this to offer and that to offer, you know, and I am smiling at my end knowing that the kid is going to pick Michigan. But again, I can’t make the decision for him.”

Upon return to Darien, indeed, the decision was already made.

“He said, ‘coach, this is where I want to go.’”

Stueber didn’t get out the megaphone just yet.

“You just got an offer from Michigan, and you just sat down with Jim Harbaugh,” said Trifone. “You come home and you want to tell everybody in the world?”

Not Stueber.

“What he immediately said was, ‘coach, I don’t want to say anything about this offer until I call every single coach that has offered me a full scholarship, and tell them first,’” Trifone said. “‘Because I don’t want them to find out through social media.’

“This is how he handled it. How mature is that kid?”

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