SCHENECTADY — Holy Trinity lineman Liam Maloney and his teammates wore borrowed University at Albany football jerseys in the last two games of the 2016 season after an arson fire destroyed theirs.
In the future Maloney could be donning the Great Danes' purple and gold on a regular basis. Late last month the junior was offered a full athletic scholarship from UAlbany coach Greg Gattuso.
"It was exciting. All I kept saying was, 'Thank you, thank you,'" Maloney said of his first Division I college offer. "I didn't expect that to come so early. I was shocked."
Holy Trinity coach John Barber wasn't as surprised, and believes more offers will be coming for the young man who has started at offensive tackle since the eighth grade.
"He's just a dominant downhill blocker," Barber said of the 17-year-old Schenectady resident and Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons student. "I tell him to go and tell my runners to find Liam. As far as pass blocking, he has such long arms and it's hard to get around him."
Maloney is a different player than the one who helped lead Holy Trinity to its first Section II playoff berth last fall. He's grown an inch and put on 15 pounds, and is currently listed at 6-foot-8 and 265.
"He's worked hard," Barber said. "He's been doing drills and he's been in the weight room, and he's gotten a lot stronger. He grew up over the winter. His grades are up, too."
Maloney didn't play basketball for Bishop Gibbons like he did in previous years, opting instead to prepare for the game he'll be competing in one day at UAlbany, Syracuse University, Boston College or elsewhere.
"I know I'll probably be going somewhere, so I decided to focus on lifting and putting on weight instead of playing basketball," Maloney said. "I think it was a good decision."
Maloney has a big decision to make in terms of his future destination. For his field of study, he is leaning toward criminal justice. Several family members including his dad, Kevin, are involved in law enforcement.
"I still have a ton of time and there's a lot to consider," the all-state Class C third-team selection said. "I won't decide until probably next year."
Maloney is most familiar with UAlbany, which lists on its 2017 roster former Section II standouts Griffin Clancy and Brandon Hipsley (Saratoga Springs), Carl Fiore (Shenendehowa), Josh Winn (CBA) and Nate Hatalsky (Mechanicville), among others.
"In 10th grade, I made a visit and they've been looking at me seriously since then," Maloney said. "I've been there probably four times, doing different things over the last few years."
And he got to wear the UAlbany uniform, too, when Holy Trinity met Hoosic Valley in a playoff game and Watervliet in the season-ending crossover game the following week.
"It was pretty cool wearing that uniform," Maloney said. "I can't deny it."
Maloney attended a prospect camp at Syracuse Sunday where representatives from the University at Buffalo were also on hand. The following Sunday, he'll be at the University of Connecticut for another prospect camp.
Maloney's brother Brendan, a 2015 Bishop Gibbons graduate and standout Holy Trinity linebacker, had attended several prospect camps before accepting an offer from Pace University.
"You learn a lot of stuff at those camps, but what you do in front of the coaches is the biggest part of it," Maloney said. "I want them to see what my potential is."