New Hampshire Football Report

Northern Exposure: Gunslinger Showcase

Jackson Paradis was among those at the Gunslinger Showcase

The short list of exposure events in New Hampshire for local high school football players grew by one Wednesday, when the Gunslinger Showcase was held at the Hampshire Dome in Milford.

Former Nashua South and University of New Hampshire quarterback Trevor Knight ran the event, which was geared toward quarterbacks but also featured athletes at other positions. The Gunslinger Showcase was open to all college coaches allowed to attend.

“I think these types of events are especially important in New Hampshire because just being from New Hampshire you’re at a disadvantage as far as recruiting goes,” Knight said. “It’s not really a hotbed for recruiting, so it’s good to have that extra exposure. Film will tell a lot, but it’s good to be seen in person and it’s tough to get (college) coaches to New Hampshire. The more coaches we can get New Hampshire guys in front of the better.”

Four states were represented at the event: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts.

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Eleven of the 17 quarterbacks who attended the Gunslinger Showcase are from New Hampshire: Jacob Bradshaw (Lowell), Phil Nichols (Winnisquam), Jarrett Henault (Goffstown), Joe Mikol (Bedford), Darian Lopez-Sullivan (Dover), Kyle Crampton (Merrimack), Austin Jain (Souhegan), Braden Hafeman (Manchester Memorial), Michael Rutstein (Nashua South), Romy Jain (Souhegan) and Peter Cleary (New Hampton).

Bangor (Maine) quarterback Max Clark, who’s father, Nat, is the head football coach at Husson College, was among the out-of-state quarterbacks who attended. That group included Aidan Finn (Lowell, Mass.), Bassiru Diawara (Burlington, Vt.), Bret Baker (Chelmsford, Mass.), Kyle Wilder (Chelmsford, Mass.) and Blake Hebert (Andover, Mass.).

“I think the quality was amazing in the quarterback group and it was definitely good quality work,” Knight said. “There definitely wasn’t a lot of wasted time. We kept the numbers low so the kids got a lot of reps. The coaches got to see them make every type of throw. That was the most important thing for me. I just want these kids to get seen by people, whether its prep schools, colleges that were here or JUCOs that were here. I just want them to get seen.”

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Tilton School running back Jackson Paradis may have been the top prospect at the event.

Paradis, who recently landed a scholarship offer from UNH, played for Sanborn Regional before he transferred to Tilton before the 2019 season. A sprained ankle limited him to five games during the 2019 season at Tilton, but he still ran for 825 yards and scored nine touchdowns that year. He rushed for 314 yards in Tilton’s opener this year, a 32-13 victory over Proctor Academy.

“To me he’s the total package as a running back,” Tilton coach Matt Dawson said. “He’s 6-foot tall. He’s 232 pounds right now. He’s run a 4.56 for a gentlemen who runs the NFL Combine, so I don’t know how much more legit you can get than someone who runs testing for that combine. He catches the ball great and he’s obviously a big, strong kid who’s hard to tackle. I don’t know what else people are looking for.”

Paradis also has offers from Colorado State, UMass and Austin Peay. He is currently a junior at Tilton.

“There’s not a lot of Division I athletes in New Hampshire, so getting an offer from UNH was an awesome experience,” Paradis said. “I’ll have to see how the recruiting unfolds and how going to UNH looks then. ”

Aaron Morris (Lowell, Mass.), Alvin Thumi (Alvirne), Andrew Porter (Alvirne), Brendan Graham (Alvirne), Caden Perry (Goffstown), Colby Snow (Bedford), Conor Rowsell (Nashua South), Craig Freni (Alvirne), Dominick Lesieur (Manchester Memorial), Elynn Houston (Winnacunnet), Enzo Rivadeneira (Methuen, Mass.), Jack Frediani (Lowell, Mass.), Jake Trahan (Merrimack), Jeremy Henault (Goffstown), Justice McGrail (Central Catholic), Kevin Yrrizarry, Kory Couillard (Alvirne), Kylan Delage (Winnacunnet), Kyle Shan (Lowell, Mass.), Owen Moreland (Tilton), Owen Thornton (New Hampton), River Hart (Nashua South), Ronan Balistreri (Avon Old Farms), Shea Goodwin (Merrimack), Ty Cannistraro (Chelmsford, Mass.) and Tyreek Rose (Noble/North Berwick, Maine).

“We had a great turnout with the athletes … the receivers, defensive backs —  they looked great flying around,” Knight said. “They got a ton of reps. Their legs are probably going to be dead tomorrow, but it’s what you want.”

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Follow the New Hampshire Football Report for information regarding QB/receiver events, a lineman camp, 7-on-7 tournaments and the New Hampshire Football Showcase. All events will be run by New England Gridiron Development and dates will be posted soon.

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