Local college notebook: Brunner helped sell Gannon on Hens

Former Delaware star quarterback Rich Gannon played 18 seasons in the NFL after leaving Newark. Delaware State News file photo

Rich Gannon was only in eighth grade the first time he saw a Delaware football game.

His brother, John, was a freshman for the Blue Hens so Rich and his parents went to a game in Newark.

Gannon just remembers how impressed he was with Delaware’s quarterback that day, Scott Brunner.

“I was just blown away and amazed at his play-making ability, his footwork, his decision-making — just his overall command of the huddle and how he made it look so simple and so easy,” said Gannon.

“I kind of sat there in the stands … I’d never really watched the Wing-T operate and function. Scott was a master at it.”

The rest is history, of course. Brunner and Gannon, who followed him to Delaware five years later, are two of the greatest QBs that the Hens have produced.

Gannon told that story during a recent online roundtable discussion with some of UD’s most-accomplished quarterbacks on Bluehens.com.
A few of them told stories about how they ended up at Delaware in the first place.

Brunner remembers his first Delaware football game, too. But the youngster was cheering for Villanova that day because his father, John, was an assistant coach with the Wildcats.

Villanova won the game but Delaware Stadium’s atmosphere won over Brunner.

“You get into that stadium and it can be really enticing,” Brunner recalled. “It was the closest thing to big time that I was exposed to at that time. You get 20,000 people in the stands jumping up and down and you see good football.”

Matt Nagy, now the Chicago Bears’ head coach, remembers he really had two scholarship offers when he came out of high school in 1996.
Besides Delaware, he was being seriously recruited by New Hampshire coach Chip Kelly.

“It instantly reminded me of my high school program,” Nagy said about UD. “Everyone felt close, it felt authentic. It just felt like home.

“It was an easy choice. When you don’t have a lot of options, that’s one thing. But I know that if I would have had a lot of options, I would have stuck with that decision.”

Dominoes falling

There have no official announcements on any more changes to the football schedules of the state of Delaware’s three college football teams.

But the dominoes clearly started to fall this week with the coronavirus pandemic hanging over the season.

The Ivy League moved its fall athletic seasons to the spring while the Big 10 announced it will play only conference opponents. If the ACC follows suit, that means Delaware’s game at North Carolina State would be scrapped.

Joe D’Antonio, the commissioner of the Colonial Athletic Association, said the league doesn’t have a deadline for making a decision yet.

“We are communicating on a very, very regular basis,” he said in an interview on marcdavissports. “So we’re in a position in a conference where, if and when we have to pivot quickly, we’ll be able to do so.”

Pollard still scoring

Former Delaware State women’s basketball standout Najai Pollard got off to a fast start playing professionally in Switzerland earlier this year.

In 14 games, the former MEAC Player of the Year averaged a league-leading 26.3 points and 10.1 points per game. She said most of the players on her team were between 16-18 years old.

Pollard isn’t sure where she’ll play next. She’s considering opportunities in Spain, Turkey, Israel, Poland and Switzerland.

“I was just really excited to play because my first initial goal was to always go to the WNBA,” Pollard was quoted on DSUHornets.com. “As I got older and started to understand how different the wage gap is between the WNBA and the NBA players, I thought ‘OK, maybe I’ll go overseas and travel more and see a different world.’

“I was just excited to be there, I was blessed and fortune to live the life that I live and just do the hard work and the dedication that I implemented into my life.”

Notes

• Delaware basketball standout Nate Darling has been one of the Blue Hen athletes back on campus for voluntary workouts. But the senior guard still hasn’t withdrawn his name from the NBA Draft eligibility list.

The deadline for players to withdraw from the draft is 10 days after the NBA Draft Combine or Aug. 3, whichever comes first.

• Delaware State announced its list of five women’s basketball signees on Thursday. That group includes Kiana Coomber (6-0 senior transfer from Memphis); Christy Ojide (6-4, freshman from Barcelona, Spain); Daije Harris (5-8, senior from CalState-Bakersfield); Ashley Primas (6-1, junior transfer from Tennessee State); and Dania Cannon (5-5, freshman from Cape Henlopen High).

• Wesley College had 87 student-athletes named to the Atlantic East all-academic team. That list includes 20 former Henlopen Conference athletes.

• Delaware’s Jessica Antonio and Mira Selling were both named Scholar All-Americans by the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association. It marks the first time in program history that the Blue Hens have had student-athletes named to the list.

Rakim Lamarrem, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound linebacker from Potomac (Va.) High, has verbally committed to Delaware as part of the Hens’ 2021 football recruiting class.