Paul Verska stood by Giovanni Rescigno, and it finally paid off with a scholarship to Rutgers. (Todd McInturf / Detroit News)
Warren – Coach Paul Verska is baffled by an element of recruiting that has become more common in the past few years.
Last year Verska had one of the best quarterbacks in the Midwest, maybe the country, in Shane Morris, who’s now at Michigan. His backup was Giovanni Rescigno, and Rescigno played well when Morris was out with mononucleosis.
His first start was against Detroit Catholic Central. Rescigno threw for 260 yards and rushed for 130 and DeLaSalle lost, 31-30.
But few outside the DeLaSalle community viewed Rescigno’s play at quarterback seriously. He had been a receiver, and a good one. But despite his solid play and his size -- Rescigno was 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds at this time -- recruiters stayed away.
Rescigno also played basketball, and because of this didn’t attend any football camps where recruits often get noticed.
“(Recruiting) is making kids one-sport athletes,” Verska said. “How can you make those four-star camps or whatever when you’re playing other sports? Gio quit basketball this season so he could get bigger and stronger for football.
“Everyone wants you. They want you to come to their camps. (The pressure) keeps mounting.”
Rescigno started all 10 games this past season and led DeLaSalle to the Division 1 playoffs. Statistically he had a good season, throwing for more than 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns, and rushing for 488 and four TD. Certainly those are not eye-popping numbers, but watching DeLaSalle play, Rescigno’s ability and value to his team was clear.
In DeLaSalle’s 26-24 loss to Birmingham Brother Rice, which would go on to win the Division 2 title, some who saw that game said Rescigno was the best player on the field.
But the only schools that recruited Rescigno hard were Saginaw Valley State and Wayne State. Most of the Division I schools were silent. Some that did take notice offered Rescigno preferred walk-on status.
Frustration began to take a toll on Rescigno. He kept asking himself, “What do I have to do? What film do coaches have to see for them to take notice?”
Verska kept sending film to schools and finally, he caught a break with Rutgers.
Rutgers assistant coach Sam Williams made a home visit and that set the ball rolling for Rescigno. Rutgers offered an official visit. On Jan. 25, Rescigno and his parents flew to New Jersey. But the deal wasn’t done yet. There was some competition for that scholarship.
“They brought in another quarterback,” Rescigno said. “There was definitely some pressure. I was lucky. I didn’t even work out for them. The coaches watched film of me before I got there. Some of the staff didn’t know about me.”
Rutgers offered Rescigno a scholarship and he quickly accepted.
Rescigno can thank Verska for never giving up on a player he’s certain will make it at the next level.
“Ben Roethlisberger only played one year at quarterback in high school,” Verska said. “Gio’s just like him. He’s 6-4 and 239 pounds now; he’s a good athlete.
“I’ve had a number of coaches come and tell me now they recruited the wrong guy.”