NORTHFIELD, Vt. - Who could have imagined that the 2020 football season would have been over before it even had a chance to begin? In this extraordinary time for the entire world, the Norwich University football team has made every attempt to focus on keeping things as "normal" as possible. Without fans being able to come to games and see the players in action, it becomes challenging to introduce the two parties. Today we continue our multi-part series covering all the incoming players to the team so that the Cadet Nation faithful can get a glimpse into the class of 2024.
Offensive Skilled Players
This second installment will feature the players along the offensive line new to the Cadets in 2020. The 2019 edition of Cadet Football suffered through several devastating injuries along the offensive line proving that you can never have enough big physical lineman on your roster. This year's class averages 6'2" and 266 pounds, giving the coaching staff a great base to mold for the future.
Head Coach Mark Murnyack talked in more detail about the incoming offensive line unit saying, "This unit has been required to learn on the job. Usually, as a freshman big man, you spend the year in a limited role as part of the scout team or in a back-up capacity. The time is also spent on getting bigger and stronger to be able to match up against a more mature guy who has spent time in a college weight room and an all-you-can-eat dining hall. Having said that, the new guys have shown some promise and have really worked on their technique which has allowed them opportunities to stand their ground."
The following is a snapshot of each of the players along the offensive line who are part of the 2020 incoming class.
Name: Trevor Bassett
Hometown: Lyndon, Vt.
Son of James Bassett and Jessie Morgan
Played four years of football for the Lyndon Institute under Coach Chad Simpson...Named football team captain senior year...Selected to the Vermont Senior Bowl game for the South senior year.
Why Norwich? The football program really won me over when I came and toured the campus.
Name: Casey Breyette
Hometown: Cadyville, N.Y.
Son of Phil Beaney and Floee Breyette.
Played three years of varsity football for Saranac High School under Coaches Dylan Everleth and Chris Verkey...Champlain Valley Athletic Conference First Team All-Star as an offensive and defensive lineman as a senior... NYSSWA All-State Second Team, Class C as an offensive lineman in senior season, and All-State Third Team as a defensive lineman in junior year...Team won back-to-back NYSSWA Class C Championships in sophomore and junior seasons.
Why Norwich? I chose Norwich because of the feel of the campus when I went up to visit felt like home.
Name: Winston Churchill
Hometown: Windsor, Conn.
Son of Winston and Katie Churchill...Has a sibling; Clark.
Played four years of football for the Knights for Coach Phelps and Coach Fleet...Also played baseball.
Why Norwich? I chose Norwich because of the coaching staff and professors.
Name: Zechariah Gladden
Hometown: Indian Orchard, Mass.
Son of Malichi Gladden and Yanira Torres...Has three siblings.
Played four years of football for Springfield Central High School under Coach Valdamar Brower...Also competed in wrestling...Made the Western Mass. Football Coaches Association Senior Bowl roster as a senior...Football team won back-to-back Division 3 State Championship in junior and senior years...Wrestling team also won two-straight Division I State Championships in his final two seasons.
Why Norwich? I chose Norwich because it felt different than all the other colleges I've visited and I felt comfortable here.
Name: Justin Ahern
Hometown: North East, Maryland
Major: Studies in War and Peace
Son of James and Deanna Ahern...Has two siblings; Bethany and Megan.
Played four years of football for North East High School under Coach Chris Schleich...Also played baseball and wrestled competitively...Named football team captain senior year...Named All-Conference junior and senior year.
Why Norwich? I chose Norwich for the opportunity to better myself and learn real discipline.
Name: Henry Ghilani
Hometown: Natick, Mass.
Major: Criminal Justice
Son of Paul and Karen Ghilani...Has two siblings; Nicole and Paige (twin)...Father played football for the University of Rhode Island.
Played football for Natick Public High School under Coach Mark Mortarelli...Also competed in wrestling and track and field...Named Bay State Conference All-Star senior year.
Why Norwich? I chose Norwich because of its great tradition and the incredible alumni network.
Name: Matthew Brigham
Hometown: Ringoes, N.J.
Major: Computer Security
Son of Robert and Jennifer Brigham...Has one sibling; Emily.
Played four years of football for Hunterdon Central Regional High School under Coach Casey Ransone...Named football team captain senior year… Mid-State 38 All-Delaware Division Second Team as a senior.
Why Norwich? I chose Norwich because I wanted to play college football and Norwich had the major I was looking for which made it an even better pick for me.
Name: Dylan Jenot
Hometown: Winooski, Vt.
Son of Kevin Martin and Jennifer Osterhout, and Penny Harman and Roxanne Jenot...Has two siblings; Jonathan and Izabella.
Played four years of football for Essex High School under Coach Drew Gordon...Also played basketball, rugby, and competed in wrestling...Named football team captain senior year...Received honorable mention for Division 1 All-State team as an offensive lineman…Rugby team MVP in junior year.
Why Norwich? I chose Norwich because it was a school that was close by, financially made sense, and when I came for a visit I loved the facilities and everything that Norwich had to offer.