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Ligonier senior to play Division I football

| Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Bill Pribisco | for the Ligonier Echo
Bloom

Ligonier Valley senior Alec Bloom will begin football training camp at the University of Connecticut next August. Bloom plays tight end and outside linebacker for the Rams. He currently leads the team with the most receiving yards and touchdowns.

Bloom was recruited to the Division I school to play tight end, and was also given a full scholarship to the university.

“It's always a dream of a high school athlete to go and play Division I anything,” Bloom commented. “Football is my favorite sport. Every little kid is going to dream about playing football in college or in the NFL. Going to a D1 school is definitely a dream of mine, so I am very excited.”

Bloom also looked at football programs at Lehigh University, Lafayette College, Penn State University and the University of Pittsburgh, though Bloom said UConn was his first choice, because it reminded him of Ligonier.

“They combine great athletics and great academics at the same time. It looked like a great place I would fit in at. It's a great school with great people; I liked it a lot,” Bloom noted.

Bloom's father, Brian, said he and the rest of the Bloom family are not only happy that Alec is playing sports at such a high level, but will also receive a top-level education at UConn. “They've got a pretty good college there that will also provide a great education. From that standpoint, we are winning on both fronts,” Brian said. “We're excited for him. A lot of kids would be excited to be in his shoes. It's a nice opportunity for him to continue playing sports.”

Ligonier Valley football coach Roger Beitel helped Bloom through the recruiting process. The two looked at the various football camps and decided UConn would be a good fit for Bloom. Beitel also said the 6-foot-7-inch tight end will be a good asset to the UConn football program.

“Alec brings a unique skill set to any program with his overall size and speed. He brings a skill set that a lot of schools covet, because there aren't many people like him out there,” Beitel said. “I'm really happy for the kid and really for all of our kids, because through him, that's every kid's dream to get a college scholarship and play on television and get a full ride to a division one BCS school. It's a great opportunity.”

Bloom said he is grateful for the guidance Beitel has provided in the taking the next steps after high school.

“Coach Beitel has always been supportive of me. He has helped me through the whole thing. He's one of my favorite coaches and he's just a great guy. I am glad that he helped me through this,” Bloom said.

Beitel noted that this is the second consecutive year Ligonier Valley has produced a football player who has gone on to play division one in college. Last year Micah Tennant also received a full ride and is playing at Lehigh University.

“Having a Division 1 athlete two years in a row speaks volumes about our program and what we have to offer at Ligonier Valley,” Beitel stated. “There aren't a whole lot of kids that can go to college for free and also go to a top-notch program where they will be on television and have an opportunity to go to big bowls. It's fantastic.”

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