Hopedale’s Espanet Commits to Maine on Football Scholarship
By Chris Villani, Sports Reporter/Columnist · July 08, 2016
Shown wearing maroon jersey with the number 2, Brian Espanet jumps up to catch the football in a game this fall.
Contributed photo from Brian Espanet
Brian Espanet was so confident the University of Maine was the place for him, he committed to the school on a full football scholarship without even seeing the campus.
"I picked Maine because they wanted both Brian Espanet the person and the football player, that was the deciding factor for me," he said. "When they recruited me, they liked me as player but the coaches genuinely listened to what I said and it seemed like they cared about the person I was. I didn't see the campus, but anything else was just sprinkles on the sundae."
Espanet helped the Millis-Hopedale football team advance to the District Final in the South region last fall, breaking out in a semifinal win over Pope John Paul. He picked off three passes, returning one for a touchdown. A two-way threat, the to-be senior at Hopedale
High said he isn't sure what his role will be with the Black Bears, but it will likely involve being an outside receiver.
"My goal right now is to win a state title with Millis-Hopedale," he said. "I want to be a good teammate for everyone I play with and get better as a person. When Maine comes, I will worry about that."
Espanet said the Mohawks should be strong this year, despite losing a number of talented players from last year's squad.
"As Coach Mates (Steve Matos) says, 'we are not rebuilding, we are reloading,'" he said.
Espanet has a several connections to Milford. In addition to being a standout player for the Post 59 legion squad, he is the grandson of legendary Milford athlete and coach Charlie Espanet, 95.
"I am with my grandfather a lot and when I leave him, I get a hug and he says 'practice and dedication,' that sticks in my mind when I am practicing and performing in games," he said, adding that he is well aware of his grandfather's litany of accomplishments.
"I have read every single article about my grandfather," Espanet said. "People tell me all the time how great he was. I am very fortunate to have him as a role model in my life. He gives me pointers and advice to make me better as a player and as a person."
"He is an outstanding kid to coach, he comes tot he field willing to work and he is a very intense competitor," Milford Legion skipper Steve DiVitto said. "He demands a lot out of himself because he strives to be the best player he can be."
An accomplished baseball player, Espanet said he will likely concentrate only on football in college and may major in kinesiology. He is particularly thankful for the mentorship of his coaches at Millis-Hopedale, as well as his teachers.
"I really had to buckle down to be able to get out there and earn a full scholarship," he said. "I am really fortunate to have them by my side."