Three high-school seniors signed National Letters of Intent to play football at John Carroll University on Thursday. Brad Currell and Will McGennis, both linemen from Canisius signed early that morning while Nick Costanzo from Maryvale signed the dotted line in the afternoon.
The school’s Athletic Director Steve Griffin held a ceremony in his honor with his parents and Tom Repicci from PrepStar in attendance. “I wanted to be within three hours or less to Buffalo, “Costanzo said. “I looked at a few other schools but John Carroll was the right fit.”
As a member of the Flyers, Costanzo helped reenergize a program that had struggled for almost a decade. He led Maryvale with 84 solo tackles last season. The Flyers went 8-2 overall in 2017 and after defeating Lackawanna in the Class B semi-final earned a trip to New Era Field for the first time since 2006. Although the Flyers dropped a heartbreaker to crosstown rival Cheektowaga, the experience is one Costanzo will never forget. “That is probably going to be my best high-school memory and all the Cleve-Hill games were also special,” the senior said. Costanzo leaves Maryvale as the school’s all-time leader in tackles with 267.
2017 was a banner year for the two-way starter. As a linebacker the New York State Sportswriters Association named him First Team Class B, All-State and Football Weekly ranked him 2nd Team All-WNY.
Perhaps the most prestigious honor this past season was being named a co-winner of the Shane Conlan Award given to the most outstanding linebacker in WNY. In total, Costanzo was recognized by six different media outlets for his achievements.
It wasn’t all “X’s and O’s” for Costanzo during his three years as a member of the varsity team. The senior is also a beast when it comes to hitting the books. He is a great student that has been regularly named to the Honor Roll and made the 2017 Buffalo News All-WNY All-Academic team.
Costanzo is extremely focused on what he wants to do, not just in college but beyond. “One of the reasons I chose John Carroll was for the academics. We have a policy the next four years for the next 40. The football was just a bonus but from an academic standpoint it had everything I wanted.”
“Nick gave us everything he had,” Griffin said. “He had a meanness to him when he played. For sure he is one of the top five linebacker and linemen we’ve had since I’ve been here. The thing about Nick is that he really loves the game of football and it shows everyday. He weighed 197 pounds and he gave you every ounce of it.” Griffin is also an assistant football coach at Maryvale.
“The last four years just flew by for me. I’m going to miss the rivalries, especially playing Cleve-Hill.”
Costanzo was a three-year starter for Maryvale and is confident that the team is moving in a good direction. “I’m leaving it much better than I found it. Those guys are real hungry and working hard. They want it.” Costanzo said. ““The last four years just flew by for me. I’m going to miss the rivalries, especially playing Cleve-Hill.”
To help stay in shape for football, Costanzo joined the wrestling team.
Repicci witnessed strong, positive reaction to Costanzo’s film, grades and character in a competitive battle for his services, which included a number of schools across New York State, Ohio and beyond. Repicci believes Costanzo could be an “immediate contributor” for the Blue Streaks. “As a person he’ll graduate and start a successful career,” Repicci said.
Last season JCU had three players from the Buffalo area on the roster. Head Coach Rick Finotti will begin his second year at the helm for the Blue Streaks. Previously, Finotti worked under Jim Harbaugh at Michigan University. This past season they finished 6-3 in the Ohio Atlantic Conference.