North Andover’s Kyle Webster knew he wanted to attend Union College and play sports, but wasn’t sure if it would be baseball or football.
Originally a baseball commit for the Dutchmen, the 6-foot-4, 245-pound Webster had a change of heart and decided to continue his career on the gridiron.
“Last October I committed, but it was for baseball,” said Webster, who plays left guard in football and is a first baseman and pitcher on the diamond. “It was in the middle of football season, but the Monday after Thanksgiving when basketball season was about to start I walked by the weight room and started thinking that I didn’t want that to be the last time I played football. I knew I wasn’t ready for my football career to end, and talked to coach (Brian) St. Pierre about it. He set me up with the football coaches at Union, and that’s when I made the switch from baseball to football.
“I had committed before making an official visit because I already was so familiar with the college and knew I definitely wanted to go there. Making that call to tell the baseball coach (Bart Osborne) I had changed my mind about playing and wanted football instead wasn’t the easiest call I’ve ever made.”
Webster has been told that he’ll be making the switch to tight end at Union.
Head coach Jeff Behrman’s Dutchmen open their season at Allegheny College and will have a 10-game schedule, going against six Liberty League opponents as well as four non-leaguers. Their first home game is Sept. 10 against Worcester State.
“I’ve thought at times maybe I could play two sports in college, but I’m going to major in economics and I think it would be best to just stick to football and concentrate on academics,” Webster, who graduated with a 3.96 grade point average.
The St. John’s Prep three-sport athlete received the prestigious Paul “Buster” DiVincenzo Athletic Director’s Eagle Award at the school’s end-of-the-year athletic banquet. The Eagle is awarded to a varsity athlete who displays enthusiasm, spirit, determination, and commitment throughout his years at the Prep.
Webster fit the bill for all those qualities along with leadership shown and practices and games. The recipient represents the best attributes both as a leader and good teammate of DiVincenzo, the former SJP athletic director who was a star baseball and football player for the Eagles and inducted in the school’s Hall of Fame.
“I felt honored when Mr. (Jameson) Pelkey presented it to me,” Webster said, referring to the Prep’s current athletic director. “I’ve always tried to be a leader and good teammate. I have the award on my desk, and the description makes me feel proud to be the recipient because it’s modeled after Mr. DiVincenzo both on the playing field and in the classroom.”
Webster’s dad Mark is a Union College graduate and his sister Julia, a volleyball player, is there now, so he’s very familiar with the Schenectady, N.Y. institution. He’s also attended Homecoming games there with his family.
He’s also began playing organized basketball in the second grade. He was a power forward for the Eagles.
A member of the first class of St. John’s Prep to go through both its middle and high school, Webster loves to keep busy and enjoyed all three sports, but soon discovered it was football he couldn’t part with.
“I’m very content with my decision to switch to football for college, and I like the fact I’ll be playing tight end. Coaches told me to keep the same weight but put on muscle, so that’s what I’m trying to do,” said Webster. “I like working with weights and running. It all clicked my sophomore year, and the strength and conditioning program at the Prep is unbelievable. You really have to work, and there’s everything you need to get bigger and stronger.
“There are several teammates and Prep classmates going to Union, which is great,” he added. “It’s going to be so nice to see familiar faces, especially when I first get there. I am very excited about it.”
Contact Jean DePlacido @JeanDePlacidoSN
Contact Jean DePlacido @JeanDePlacidoSN