Thursday, June 30, 2011
Torrington's Tsopanides headed to Iowa
Here's the story from the Torrington Register Citizen.
By DAN PODHEISER
Register Citizen Sports Editor
TORRINGTON — Growing up as a University of Michigan fan, Dean Tsopanides dreamed of playing college football in the Big 10.
That dream has finally come true, as the recently graduated Red Raiders star has committed to play defensive end for the University of Iowa next fall.
Tsopanides, who had intended to play a year of prep ball at Milford Academy in order to get better exposure from Division I scouts, got his wish early. Last week, Tsopanides participated at a four-day combine in Milford, where he was noticed by Iowa offensive coordinator Ken O’Keefe.
“I did really well there,” Tsopanides said. “[O’Keefe] saw me play, asked for my highlight tape and then I got an invitation to go visit the campus.”
The university flew Tsopanides and his family out to Iowa City Tuesday, where they toured the campus, met with the coaching staff and a few players and got the on-field experience at Kinnick Stadium.
“It was overwhelming,” Tsopanides said. “Any Big 10 stadium is pretty special, but this was one of the best I’ve seen in my life.”
A day later, Tsopanides committed to the Hawkeyes and signed on for a full scholarship.
“It’s an honor,” Tsopanides softly exclaimed. “Simply put, one word; it’s an honor.”
Torrington head football coach Dan Dunaj said he had received a call from O’Keefe — a Milford resident who is also Iowa’s Connecticut recruiter — on Thursday. The call was intended to find out things about Tsopanides that the coaching staff couldn’t see in his game film.
“[O’Keefe] wanted to know what kind of person he was, whether he had ever gotten into any trouble,” said Dunaj. “I told him the truth. He’s one of the hardest working kids I’ve ever coached.”
Tsopanides will report to Iowa City on Aug. 3 to begin summer workouts with his team and start classes. In the meantime, he’s staying in shape by working out everyday and will even participate in the Red Raiders’ summer practices starting in a few weeks.
When asked if he’d be ready to step onto the field for the Hawkeyes come September, Tsopanides didn’t hesitate.
“I’m not one of those guys who likes to sit on the bench for too long,” he said. “I’m pretty much always ready to go.”
In high school, Tsopanides was a force on both the Red Raiders’ offensive and defensive lines. He was recognized as one of the greatest football players in Torrington history when he was inducted into the 1929 Club — a tribute to the Raiders’ 1929 state championship — in January.
Tsopanides was also named to the New Haven Register’s All-State Team and got to play for Team Connecticut in the 13th Annual Governors’ Cup last Saturday.
He was also a star wrestler for the Raiders, winning the Class L state championship in the 215-pound division this past winter. The year before, he finished third in Class L at 285 pounds.
Dobbs to be 2012 UConn recruit (updated)
Dobbs will be a 2012 recruit for the Huskies, and he'll still attend Milford Academy, a prep school in New Berlin, N.Y., in the fall.
Dobbs went on an unofficial visit to UConn on Wednesday and UConn head coach Paul Pasqualoni made Dobbs a scholarship offer. Dobbs called Pasqualoni shortly before noon on Thursday to officially commit.
"Everybody knows I was big on UConn," Dobbs said. "It's what I wanted. It's a big deal to me."
"I just want to help UConn become a better team as a whole," Dobbs added. "I want to become a better player."
Said Ansonia coach Tom Brockett: "They're getting a great player. Obviously he's very deserving of it. They're getting a kid that a lot of people are starting to call and want. It's a credit to him. UConn's his dream school and I am thrilled for him."
Sunday, June 26, 2011