Pictured above, from left to right, first row, Tom Campenni (uncle), Julian Campenni, and Lori Campenni (mother); second row, WA assistant coach, Mike Fanti; WA School Board member, Sam Aritz; WA head coach, Randy Spencer, and WA assistant coach, Joe Pizano.Photo by Tony Callaio
If you are going to dream then you might as well dream big.
So when Wyoming Area’s Julian Campenni got a phone call from the University of Connecticut on Saturday, the all-state defensive linemen couldn’t help but alter his dream.
Campenni had originally made a verbal commitment to Bowling Green University prior to his senior season before de-commiting and making a verbal commitment last week to the University of Akron – both Mid American Conference schools in Ohio.
But after visiting the Storrs campus on Sunday he committed to UConn, and on Wednesday at 8 a.m. he signed his Letter of Intent and faxed it to new Huskies coach Paul Pasqualoni.
“I went to the (WNEP) Dream Team banquet and when I got home I had a call from (UConn defensive line) Coach (Hank) Hughes,” said Campenni. “He said a scholarship had become available and if I would like to come for a visit they would like to have me visit.
“I asked him they were going to offer me the scholarship and he said they weren’t going to bring me up if they weren’t.”
The rest they say is history.
According to Campenni, UConn had shown interest in the Warriors senior since the fall, but with the abrupt coaching change contact had fallen off until the past few weeks.
“I am going to be much closer to home and the education offered by UConn is unbelievable,” said Campenni. “It will be a challenge playing at that level, but I know I can play there.
“One of the main factors in choosing Connecticut is the chance to play for a BCS school. The other schools were disappointed, but Coach (Ron) Powlus (of Akron) was understanding. I am happy to get the opportunity.”
The opportunity for Campenni to play for Pasqualoni was also something he could not pass up. The former Syracuse head coach was the defensive line coach for the Dallas Cowboys before being promoted to defensive coordinator in mid season.
“I am actually a huge Cowboys fan,” said Campenni. “And what Coach Pasqualoni did at Syracuse, it is going to be awesome to play for him. He is going to teach me how to be the best defensive lineman I could possibly be.”