UMass offers Brendan O'Neil, John Van Allen

Tight end Brendan O'Neil (Burlington, Mass./Buckingham, Browne & Nichols) and wide receiver/defensive back John Van Allen (Hartford, Conn./Avon Old Farms) each picked up a scholarship offer from the University of Massachusetts last weekend.

The offers were made following a junior day at UMass. It was the first offer for both players.

“It was definitely a good feeling to get that first offer in the books,” Van Allen said. “They didn't tell me specifically what position, but I got a strong feeling it was as a safety.

“UMass is an up-and-coming school at the Division I level. They're joining the MAC and it looks like they have a bright future. I can definitely see them as one of my options. They showed interest in me and I appreciate that.”

Van Allen said he plans to take an unofficial visit to Connecticut on Feb. 25 and an unofficial visit to Duke on March 31.

O'Neil said UMass coach Charley Molnar told him the school is committed to landing the best players from Massachusetts.

“He told me they believe the core part of their team can be the top players in Massachusetts,” O'Neil said. “He said he believes there's a great base of talent here in the state.”

Molnar first heard about O'Neil from Shane Waldron, a former assistant coach at BB&N who is now on the UMass staff.

O'Neil said he plans to attend a junior day at Duke next month. He has attended a junior day and a game at Boston College, and a game at Notre Dame.

“The tour of the [UMass] campus was good and the offer was exciting, but it's too early to speculate where I might end up right now,” O'Neil said.