ALBANY — Last winter, University at Albany football head coach Greg Gattuso introduced a class of incoming recruits he lauded for their athleticism and playmaking ability.
That December day, too, he focused on UAlbany’s need “to be much better at the quarterback position” going forward.
In recent commit Joey Carino, the Great Danes look to have landed someone capable of helping on all those fronts.
Carino, a 17-year-old from Somers who will be a senior this upcoming school year at Archbishop Stepinac High School, committed last week to play quarterback at UAlbany after initially offering a verbal commitment to Syracuse University to play men’s lacrosse.
“With lacrosse, Syracuse had always been a dream of mine for forever — but I always wanted to play college football,” said the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Carino, who is a midfielder in lacrosse. “Albany had everything I wanted.”
The Great Danes’ preseason camp opened last week in preparation for their 2019 season that starts Aug. 29 at Central Michigan. UAlbany’s camp includes a three-way competition for the starting quarterback spot between redshirt freshman Jeff Undercuffler, redshirt junior Griffin Dahn and redshirt freshman Braeden Zenelovic.
Not long before camp opened, Carino said he made his second visit to UAlbany’s campus, and his decision to switch from a commitment to Syracuse lacrosse to UAlbany football came a few days later.
“Just my family. My family is a football family,” Carino said of his decision to switch from Syracuse to UAlbany. “That’s been a dream of mine — playing college football. At first, when I committed to Syracuse, that was something I’d wanted to do, but I hoped football would come along and it did.”
As a junior, Carino helped lead Archbishop Stepinac to its third NYSCHSAA championship in four years. In Archbishop Stepinac’s title win in 2018, Carino passed for four touchdowns and ran for another score.
At UAlbany, Carino said his focus will be football. He doesn’t intend to try to play lacrosse at the school.
“Honestly, as a quarterback … and a leader, I don’t think it’s possible just because during the winter and spring, that’s when you have your winter and spring workouts, so I’d want to be with the football team all the time and be a leader,” said Carino, who also received interest from football programs at schools such as Cornell, Fordham and New Hampshire before picking UAlbany.
Carino said his connection with the Great Danes’ coaching staff drove his decision to attend UAlbany.
“I really found that place to be like home,” Carino said.