Mount Carmel’s Sam Connolly commits to Miami (Ohio)

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It didn’t take Sam Connolly very long to realize Miami (Ohio) was the place he wanted to play college football.

In fact, the Mount Carmel senior linebacker verbally committed Sunday before officially visiting the school, which he plans to do Friday.

“You talk to so many coaches during the recruiting process, you don’t know what or who to believe,” Connolly said. “The coaches at Miami of Ohio were totally genuine and interested in me as a person and player.”

For Connolly, a Beverly resident and St. John Fisher graduate, honesty is the best policy.

He liked everything first-year coach Chuck Martin, a Rich East graduate, and his staff had to say. Martin comes over from Notre Dame, where he was offensive coordinator for coach Brian Kelly.

With a dearth of linebackers, the 6-2, 220-pound Connolly was told he’d likely redshirt his freshman season. He’s fine with that.

“I want to be on the field as soon as possible, but I can wait,” said Connolly, who likely will major in a business-related field. “It will give me time to learn the system. I feel like I have a good relationship with the coaching staff and the school is great academically.”

Academics are a top priority for Connolly, a 2013 SouthtownStar All-Area selection. He boasts a 4.0 grade-point average and scored 26 on the ACT.

Connolly led the Caravan with 62 tackles, including 12 for loss, during its Class 7A state championship run in the fall.

“I’m excited,” he said. “I’m going to keep working out and getting better. That’s all I’m focused on right now.”

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