There were a few people who asked Rush-Henrietta senior Jared Gerbino where he planned to play college football.
“I don’t even know the number. I wish I could tell you,” Rush-Henrietta’s quarterback said.
Sometimes Gerbino wished he had an answer too, but still took his time to eventually make up his mind and choose Dartmouth College. There were offers to walk on and possibly earn a scholarship at Old Dominion and Buffalo, maybe at positions other than quarterback. The State University of New York at Albany offered a partial athletic scholarship. Cornell coaches said come play with the Big Red — as a linebacker.
Victor senior Zac Lefebvre also had options, but immediately reduced the size of his list once the State University of New York at Buffalo made an offer the tight end knew he would not refuse.
“It’s only one hour away and it’s the highest level that I can play,” Lefebvre said.
Both high school players, among the best in the greater Rochester area, on Wednesday celebrated the choices they made for college, the start of their dreams coming true. Soccer and football players around the United States followed the word they gave months ago by signing national letters of intent to accept offers of athletic scholarships from Division I or II schools.
“It’s crazy. It’s a long process,” Gerbino said. “I got into the recruiting process kind of late. My family and I should have started the off-season stuff like camps, earlier, but no one has gone through this before (in my family).
“I feel for kids going to all of these camps, but I know that’s a good way to get your name out there. It’s been a fun process, too. It’s football. I’ve had a chance to travel and meet people. You have to make sacrifices, but every kid who wants to play at that level makes sacrifices.”
Technically, Gerbino, who is 6 feet 4 inches tall and 230 pounds, is not finished in college football recruiting. Dartmouth and other schools in the Ivy League do not offer athletic scholarships, so his commitment to Dartmouth becomes formal two months from now. Gerbino could go back on the verbal commitment he made to Dartmouth in December.
“If Michigan State came and offered, or something like that, but when April 4 comes it’s a sealed deal,” Gerbino said.
Gerbino did not wait to celebrate. Friends and family attended a ceremony that included signings by Rush-Henrietta teammate Matt Snow (Pace) and soccer player Carley Zoccalia (Buffalo).
“It was really nice, very well done,” Gerbino said.
Kerry and Aaron Lefebvre were in a meeting room at Victor when their son Zac, who is 6-5 and 245 pounds, signed his letter of intent with Buffalo. One pair of Zac Lefebvre’s grandparents also looked on, along with friends, Victor coaches, the school’s principal and the school district’s superintendent
“I couldn’t be more proud. He’s worked hard for this,” Kerry Lefebvre said. “We tried to show him the way, and he took it and ran with it.
“He lives, breathes, eats and sleeps football. I’m excited that it’s Buffalo.”
So is Zac Lefebvre. He attended a camp at SUNY at Buffalo during the summer of 2014, before his junior year at Victor. When Buffalo decided to make a change and hire Lance Leipold as coach in December of that year, however, Lefebvre had to reconnect with, and more importantly impress, another staff. They clicked when Lefebvre went to another camp at Buffalo last summer.
Lefebvre had scholarship offers from Bucknell, Holy Cross and Lafayette, along with interest shown by other schools in the Patriot League, to consider when Buffalo Bulls coaches made a pitch in September.
“Obviously, I was blessed with good size and weight from my parents,” Zac Lefebvre said. “But the off-season stuff, the weight room sessions, the eating healthy, and if you make good decisions along the way, you can accomplish anything you want, as long as you put in the time and effort.”