So Myers – a tight end from Coventry, Conn., who committed to the Connecticut staff Tuesday night – went to his coach at Coventry/Windham Tech and asked Tony Bonito what he needed to do to become a Division I football player.
“He said, ‘Tommy, you need to run, lift and eat like your life depends on it,’ ” Myers said Wednesday. “And that’s exactly what I did. I got the looks [from coaches and schools that] I wanted and now I’m going to UConn.”
Things have moved fast for Myers, who added 30 pounds since that discussion with Bonito. Now he stands 6-4 ¾ and weighs 235 pounds. He performed well at coach Paul Pasqualoni’s summer camp earlier this month, testing out with a 4.8 in the 40 and a 37-inch vertical leap.
That was impressive enough that UConn offered him a scholarship on June 10. And Tuesday evening Myers decided there was no reason to wait. He became the fifth commitment in UConn’s Class of 2013.
the first Division I player from Coventry in the 11-year history of program, a regional team that also gets players from Windham Tech. In addition to his All-State status in football, Myers stars for the Patriots in basketball (18.1 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists) and track and field. He was the New England champion in the javelin as a sophomore and won the Class S title this season.
“He’s a special kid and a special athlete,” Bonito said. “Good things will happen for him I’m sure. Until last year, football was just something he did. He was more focused on being a college basketball player and we were grateful to have him. And the track thing just kind of popped up. He just happened to be the best in New England throwing the javelin.
“I felt if he dedicated himself to being a college football player he could play at a very high level. He’s a tremendous athlete. He just needed to get heavier. And he did those things. He transformed himself.”
Now Bonito says Myers is a prototypical Big East tight end “shy by about 10 pounds.” The physical side of that is obvious. UConn’s two senior tight ends for 2012 are Ryan Griffin (6-6, 247) and John Delahunt (6-3, 243).
Myers had offers from Temple and Fordham. He thought he would get an offer from Rutgers, but never did. Rhode Island, UMass, New Hampshire and several Patriot League schools were showing interest. But, as Bonito puts it, Myers had UConn “in his DNA.”
Myers’ father, Norm, was an outside linebacker for UConn from 1981-85. His mother, Peggy Walsh Myers, played basketball for the Huskies from 1982-86 and was one of Geno Auriemma’s first accomplished players. She was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.
“I knew UConn was the best fit for me,” Myers said. “But honestly, my parents didn’t push me into any decision. Even if they hadn’t gone there, I’d definitely be going to UConn. I just love the school and I love the coaches. The athletics there are very good and so are the academics.”
Myers said he has developed a good relationship with the entire coaching staff and that includes Pasqualoni.
“He’s just a very knowledgeable guy and very likeable,” Myers said. “He’s a respectful guy. He doesn’t freak out on you. He’s a teacher; that’s what he is. I just think he’s a very good coach . . . same with Coach [offensive coordinator George] DeLeone.
“I compare [Pasqualoni] to my high school coach. [Bonito] is very, very rarely mad. But when he gets mad, everyone just knows and just shuts up immediately.”
Coventry/Windham Tech (9-1, Class L quarterfinalist last season) runs a triple option offense and the Patriots kept the ball on the ground the majority of the time. But Myers caught about 15 passes, scored five touchdowns, and averaged about 20 yards a catch last season.
“He was a huge part of our team,” Bonito said. “He played tight end and wide receiver, he threw the halfback pass to win a game for us, he played on defense, he was our kicker and punter. He played in all facets of the game and was a huge part of our success.”