Vinnie Pasquali of Portland High School tackles West running back Jack True of Yarmouth in the fourth quarter of the Maine Shriners Lobster Bowl Classic in July. (Portland Press Herald photo by Derek Davis)

With the University of Maine playing deep into the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs for the first time in school history, coach Joe Harasymiak didn’t expect to sign many recruits on the first day of the early signing period for NCAA Division I and II programs.

He hoped for maybe four, and that’s what the Black Bears got, including a former Maine high school player.

Jack True, who played at Yarmouth High and graduated from there in June, signed with Maine after playing football this fall at St. Thomas More, a prep school in Oakdale, Connecticut.

True, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound tight end, announced his intent to sign with the Black Bears last Friday in a tweet stating, “I’m extremely blessed to announce that I am 100% committed to the University of Maine to continue my academic and athletic career!!”

The Black Bears also signed running back Curtis Murray (5-10, 190) from Riverdale Baptist in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, defensive back Satchel McKinney (5-9, 160) from The Avalon School in Brandywine, Maryland, and wide receiver Clark Barnes (6-2, 200) from Clarkson Secondary in Brampton, Ontario.

Maine is coming off one of the most successful seasons in the program’s history. The Black Bears finished 10-4, losing to Eastern Washington in the national semifinals on Saturday. They were picked to finish eighth in the Colonial Athletic Association but won the conference with a 7-1 record.

Because they went so deep into the playoffs, the Black Bears were unable to host any official weekend visits for recruits. As the team prepared to play in the semifinals, Harasymiak acknowledged that was a problem, but a good one to have.

“I’ll deal with it,” he said. “Our recruiting isn’t based on the early signing period. We’ll get our work done later.”

Last year, Maine signed five players on the first day of the early signing period, including cornerback Katley Joseph and linebacker Adrian Otero. They played key roles for Maine’s special teams and defense this year. Then the Black Bears signed 16 players during the February signing period.

Maine had 33 freshmen on the roster this season. There were only 13 seniors.

“This will not be as big of a class as last year, just because of the way everything unfolded,” Harasymiak said earlier this week.

True played in the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl this summer. As a sophomore at Yarmouth, he played on a team that advanced to the Class C state championship game in 2015. Harasymiak said UMaine became aware of True while he attended its football camps.

“We are very excited to have Jack as a part of our program,” the head coach said in a media release. “Jack really impressed us over the summer at our camps with his ability to play the tight end position. We are looking forward to his development within this program.”

Murray was named his team’s MVP in 2017 and led Riverdale Baptist to a 7-3 mark this fall while serving as a captain.

“His ability to break tackles and extend plays is what we are extremely excited about,” Harasymiak said. “He also has the power to run inside the tackles and the speed to take it the distance.”

McKinney, a cornerback, also returned punts and kickoffs.

“Satchel is a perfect fit for our defense,” Harasymiak said. “He has impressive press technique at the corner position, which will match up exactly with our scheme on defense. We are looking forward to him locking up opposing receivers.”

Barnes was ranked as the No. 5 Canadian player of the 2019 class. Harasymiak said Clark’s size will be a big addition to the receiving corps.

“His ability to stretch the field with his speed is something we look forward to,” the coach said. “He is the perfect combination of size and speed that we need.”

The early signing period runs through Friday. The regular signing period begins Feb. 6.


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