NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – The college recruitment stories of New Providence senior football players Michael Barletta and Hudson Barth will make you shake your head and believe in the old adage of “finding a needle in a haystack.”
The Pioneer duo is a part of the ultimate underdog recruiting story that happen more often than one could ever imagine.
Barletta was in the middle of a basketball practice last season when he went up for a dunk right as a Bentley University football recruiter was walking past the New Providence High School gymnasium.
After talking for a while that day and several visits later, Barletta found his future home at the Waltham, Massachusetts NCAA Division 2 School.
Coming from a family of college athletes (including several older cousins who played for New Providence High School), Barletta’s recruitment allows him to join a family tradition.
“It feels great,” he said. “When I was younger looking at my older cousins, a few of them went to go play sports in college. Its great to kind of follow in their footsteps.”
Barth’s story is the complete opposite, yet still magical in its own sense.
A Barth family friend has a connection to the College of William & Mary and managed to pull a favor to get Associate Head Coach and Defensive Coordinate Trevor Andrews to watch Barth play. Coupled with several visits to the Williamsburg, Virgina campus, including last year’s summer camp, as well as his relationship with Andrews, Barth knew almost instantly where his future home would be.
“He was the coach that I knew, especially when I went down there, that it was the right fit for me,” Barth said. “I kind of always had it in the back of my mind. Of course I wanted to see other schools, but this was the one I knew I always wanted to go to.”
Having two high-level college football players come from a small, NJSIAA Group 2 school doesn’t come easy. In fact, the size of the school sometimes hurts potential college recruits. However, according to New Providence Athletic Director Rocco Constantino, the hard work and commitment to being the best on and off the field is paramount for Barth and Barletta.
“It says a lot about the commitment and the hard work that the boys have put in, the coaches they’ve had over the years helping them along the way and also their families,” Constantino said. “Mike [Barletta] and Hudson [Barth] are great kids, outstanding students. You don't have this opportunity to go unless you're a great kid, a great student and as well as a great player.”
New Providence head football coach Mitch Goodstein has seen the overall growth of his two seniors from when he was their freshman coach four years ago. He said “their respective school are absolutely going to benefit from having them at their school.”
“The amount of progress that they have achieved is incredible,” Goodstein said. “From when they were just freshman, some of them couldn't catch a football, but a few years later, they’re doing all of those things. They were outstanding leaders with their teams, which is a fantastic trait to have.”