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UMass ‘clam bake’ nets football recruits

UMass football’s annual “clam bake” continues to be a recruiting boon for the Minutemen.

According to the Maroon Musket, UMass added two more verbal commitments Thursday. Michael Yerardi, a 6-foot-6, 305-pound offensive tackle from Suffield Academy, and Jack Driscoll, a 6-4, 247-pound defensive end/offensive tackle from Connecticut, attended last weekend’s clam bake and both told the coaching staff that they planned to be Minutemen.

They joined Lee Moses, a cornerback from Warwick, Rhode Island, who was also at the clam bake and committed earlier this week.

Last year, UMass got six commitments at the seafood-themed recruiting event on campus.

TWO YEARS LATER — In UMass’ initial three-game agreement with Colorado, the final game of the series was slated to be played in Boulder in 2019. Due to some date conflicts for the Buffaloes that season, the Minutemen will instead travel to Folsom Field in 2021.

PRESEASON POLLS — If preseason polls are any indication, none of UMass’ nonconference opponents figure to be in the mix for league titles.

Penn State was picked fourth in the Big 10 East in its first season under new coach James Franklin, who UMass has faced each of the past two seasons with Vanderbilt. PSU quarterback Christian Hackenburg got one vote for offensive player of the year. The Minutemen visit State College on Sept. 20.

Without Franklin, who led a resurgence at Vandy, the Commodores are expected to backslide. They’re picked sixth in the SEC East. They host the Minutemen on Sept. 13.

Colorado, which is trying to be competitive for the first time since joining the Pac 12, is picked last in the South Division. The Buffaloes come to Foxborough on Sept. 6.

Boston College faces low expectations as well. The Eagles, who visit Gillette Stadium on Aug. 30, were picked sixth in the ACC’s Atlantic Division.

None of UMass’ 2014 opponents received votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

NUMEROLOGY — A preliminary fall roster is up on UMassAthletics.com and most of the noteworthy newcomers officially have numbers now.

Quarterback Blake Frohnapfel, who transferred from Marshall, will wear No. 7. He wore No. 15 at MU, but that number belongs to A.J. Doyle, who’ll compete with Frohnapfel to be the Minutemen’s starter. Penn State transfer wide receiver Alex Kenney is also blocked by Doyle for the No. 15 he wore as a Nittany Lion. He’ll wear No. 8. The fact that his 8 and Frohnapfel’s 7 add up to their old 15 is probably a coincidence.

Incoming freshman QB Ross Coomis, a passionate fan of Johnny Manziel, is wearing his No. 2. Austin Whipple is No. 3, while Randall West, the fourth new QB, doesn’t have a number yet.

Junior college transfer tight end Jean Sifrin doesn’t have a number yet either.

Not many players switched numbers, but running back Jamal Wilson traded his No. 22 for 6.

No. 87 is going from one St. John’s alum to another. T.J. Kelley, a walk-on receiver from the Shrewsbury school, inherits the number from tight end Rob Blanchflower.

IN NFL CAMPS — Blanchflower, who is sidelined with an ankle sprain, is one of 10 Minutemen competing to make NFL rosters. Anthony Dima is the only other UMass alum trying to make an NFL roster as a rookie. He’s in camp with the Houston Texans.

Three ex-Minutemen are in Giants camp — Victor Cruz, Julian Talley and Michael Cox — while Emil Igwenagu is also in the NFC East with the Philadelphia Eagles.

James Ihedigbo is already being looked at as a leader in his first year as a Detroit Lion. His departure from Baltimore improves Jeromy Miles’ chances of cracking the Ravens’ two-deep.

After struggling with the Jets, Vlad Ducasse gets a fresh start in Minnesota, while long snapper Jeremy Cain is set to start his eighth NFL season, his first with Tampa Bay.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage

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