LIGONIER — Ligonier Valley coach Roger Beitel doesn’t think there are many football players out there like standout tight end Alec Bloom.
And apparently, neither do the University of Connecticut recruiters and coaches.
On Aug. 2, Bloom verbally committed to play college football at UConn beginning next fall. He is the second player from Ligonier Valley in two years to accept a full scholarship from a Division I school. Micah Tennant, who graduated from Ligonier Valley in June, accepted a full scholarship to play football at Lehigh this fall.
“I fully committed to UConn, and they are just great up there,” the 6-foot-7 senior said. “I’m really excited, and I wanted to commit before the season started so I can just concentrate on this. And this is going to be a great senior year.”
Bloom attracted the interest of Bowl Championship Series schools Rutgers and Pittsburgh and received offers from Football Championship Series schools Lehigh, Lafayette and Colgate. But he loved Connecticut’s university — and the opportunity — was too much to pass it up.
“It has been fantastic, and it has been exciting,” Beitel said. “This isn’t the small-time, this is the big-time. We have a kid who verbally committed to accept a full scholarship at a BCS school that’s bowl eligible. This is off the charts. If you look at him, he’s 6-7, he’s 245 pounds now and he runs a 4.6 40. Whenever you look at that as a commodity, everyone wants him because there aren’t many kids like that.”
Last year, Bloom caught 16 passes for 337 yards and seven touchdowns. Teams showed more interest in him after his performances during summer football camps at Penn State, West Virginia and UConn. Connecticut offered him a full ride the same day he worked out at the Huskies’ camp. He was UConn’s No. 1 tight end recruit.
“They invited me up there to their one-day camp in June, and then they offered me that day,” Bloom said. “I obviously assessed my options, and that was definitely my best option. I had looks from other great schools, but this was a no-brainer for me.”
The Huskies are set to begin their first year in the American Athletic Conference along with five other schools from the former Big East Conference.
“The thing about it is that he loved the school and he’s happy. And that’s important,” Beitel said. “But here’s what is more important: It’s over. Now he just gets to play. Think about it: You’re a high school senior and all you have to do is concentrate on playing football and having fun. Your education is paid for and that sets you up basically for the rest of your life. It’s great. Those coaches were in contact with him, and their level of interest in him was off the charts. When we go to Purchase Line, it’s behind him. It’s a lot of pressure sometimes, and it could hang over your head all season. So this is a done deal, and it’s just awesome.”
“This is all great, but I’m ready for my senior season,” Bloom said. “Things are going really well, and we’re looking pretty good. I want to win the Heritage Conference and get to the playoffs, but mostly I want to be a great captain and a great leader for the younger guys.”