From Rocket to Jumbo

Senior Dom DeCrescenzo Commits to Tufts University

Ally Tesoro ('21), Orbit Contributor

On New Year’s Day, RMHS senior and Varsity Football captain Dom DeCrescenzo  announced his commitment to Tufts University, amidst a pandemic-adapted year of college recruitments for senior athletes. 

The decision came after a long recruitment process for the player, in which hours of zoom and phone calls largely replaced in-person tours of campuses and talks with prospective coaches. 

As neither party involved in the lengthy and often intense process of recruiting for college sports had an exact method in response to the pandemic, DeCrescenzo was forced to adapt.

“The recruitment process was very different this year,” he said of the unusual circumstances brought on by the pandemic. “In a usual year, I would be taking tours of schools, meeting with coaches in person, and going to a lot of different camps over the summer. Most of that, however, didn’t happen, and that’s alright. Coaches improvised, so I did the same. They set up more calls over the phone, more zoom calls, and did what they could to have us come see the campuses. It was very stressful at some points, but that’s what made it even more enjoyable. I feel like every coach did that at their best, and my process was something I’ll never forget.”

Coaches improvised, so I did the same.

— Dom DeCrescenzo ('21)

Yet before he reached his senior year and the pandemic complicated an already stressful time for many student-athletes, DeCrescenzo had worked hard for a chance to play football in college. Especially without a senior season to show for on applications, his high level of performance during the previous two football seasons helped DeCrescenzo to his spot on the Tufts Jumbos Division III football program. 

“I had two very solid years of film from my sophomore and junior year, [and] having those two years of film is all thanks to the Reading Football coaching staff,” he said. “It’s very rare to see sophomores start at any high school, especially when they are surrounded by a great senior class, but I had that ability to start on both sides of the ball my sophomore year for Reading, and I took full advantage of that.”

Beyond his performance on the field, DeCrescenzo also knew he had to work hard in the classroom to support a well-rounded application to send to colleges and universities during the fall of his senior year. Varsity Football coach and RMHS teacher of the history department Mr. Fiore was able to get to know DeCrescenzo as a student and a player over the past few years, and experience his combined commitment to sports and academics. As an important part of the recruitment process for many of his players, Mr. Fiore also saw DeCrescenzo flourish under challenging circumstances during the previous few months.

“Dom handled the recruitment process incredibly well.  Nowadays, it is extremely important to stay in contact with the schools you are interested in playing at.  Every coach that dealt with Dom raved about his personality.  That is a real testament to how mature Dom was during a very complex season,” Mr. Fiore said.

With several offers on the table by the end of 2020, DeCrescenzo’s journey to Tufts wasn’t without times of stress and difficulty, but the player persevered and made sure to work as hard as he could on and off the field for every recruitment opportunity. As the year drew to a close, he made his final choice after months of talks with coaches and work to complete his applications.

My advice to future college recruits is to challenge yourself in the classroom, because more than anything coaches look at what kind of person you are and how you perform in the classroom before even evaluating your film on the field.

— Dom DeCrescenzo ('21)


“It really came down to Assumption University, Union College, and Tufts,” DeCrescenzo recalled of his thoughts leading up to the decision. “All 3 had their advantages and disadvantages, but one had one advantage that I couldn’t pass up. The ability to play college football, my ultimate dream, and also the ability to attend a world-renowned school, and receive a very high level education. That school was obviously Tufts, and on the New Year, I made my decision to commit there and it was one of the happiest moments of my life.”

However, DeCrescenzo’s time as a Rocket is not over yet. Usually spanning from August to November, the RMHS football season has been postponed to the Fall II period, and is currently set to begin on February 22nd. DeCrescenzo and his teammates are hopeful that the season will commence as planned, despite constant uncertainty surrounding the status of sports within Reading Public Schools and the Middlesex League.

“I’ve heard from so many that your senior season is the best year of football, as you have one more year to play with the boys you grew up with,” he said of the lack of the season thus far. “It’s sad that at this point we haven’t been able to play, but at the same time we’re hopeful. The boys never stopped working, whether it was over the summer at our gym, or at captains practices every weekend. We had very good turnouts, and saw much improvement from many players. It was a group effort by everyone to make this year successful whether or not we are able to get on to the football field, and I couldn’t be any prouder of the boys. We controlled what we could control, and at the end of the day that’s all we could ask for.”

In a year that has taught all to expect the unexpected, DeCrescenzo is heading through life with an unwavering sense of positivity and determination to achieve his best each day. After his experience in the first-ever year of college sports recruitment to take place in a worldwide pandemic,  DeCrescenzo is looking forward to his future at Tufts with much excitement. While he is moving on to a bright future, however, DeCrescenzo has not forgotten those who will follow in his footsteps.

“My advice to future college recruits is to challenge yourself in the classroom, because more than anything coaches look at what kind of person you are and how you perform in the classroom before even evaluating your film on the field. You could be a star athlete, but with mediocre grades, and bad reviews from teachers and other colleagues, the dreams of playing college football could be out the door for you. Attack every day like it’s your last and never close the door on a school you think you’re too good for.”

DeCrescenzo will be playing defensive end or defensive tackle at Tufts University next fall. He currently plans to study economics, but is excited to explore many areas of study in the future.