5-foot-8, 175 pound legacy senior Mario Jacovino, who has played quarterback, safety, cornerback and linebacker for Fort Lee High School, chose Wilkes football over all of the other Division III school offers.
"He's not a big guy," said Jacovino's father, who also played Fort Lee football and graduated in 1982. "But he has worked and trained his body so hard that he's earned this moment."
According to his father, Jacovino had offers from over 40 other Division III football teams, as well as walk-on offers from both Sacred Heart and Fordham, but he had a "gut feeling" that Wilkes was the place for him.
Jacovino ate, drank and slept Fort Lee football. Wanting to play since he could walk, his father organized Fort Lee's first flag football team when he was five-years old.
"But he always wanted to tackle," Jacovino, Sr. said. "That kid couldn't wait to tackle."
And tackle he did. And pass. And run. From the third grade to the eighth grade as a Fort Lee Jr. Bridgeman football player before taking the field on the Varsity team at Fort Lee High School.
For someone with a passion for the game, having the opportunity to play college ball is the opportunity of a lifetime, and Jacovino is well aware of that.
When he is not playing football, Jacovino is planning on studying Education while at Wilkes.
Saturday night, the Jacovino family invited family and friends to In Napoli Restaurant to celebrate his signing.
"We not only wanted to celebrate his signing," Jacovino, Sr. said, "But we wanted to thank all of our family and friends who have always supported Mario."
When asked if there was something he wanted people to know about his son, Jacovino said, his voice brimming with pride, "He's worked so hard to reach this moment. He's worked so hard."