Three Mainers join UMaine football team on National Signing Day
On Wednesday, three more Mainers signed up for the University of Maine football program, joining the Black Bears’ class of 11 rookies on national signing day.
The Mainers who signed national letters of intent on Wednesday are Keegan Andrews, a 6-foot, 175-pound quarterback who graduated from Kennebunk High in 2022 and is completing a graduate year at Bridgton Academy; Jaykob Dow, a 6-foot-5, 255-pound offensive lineman from Hermon; and Bucksport defensive lineman/tight end Jaxon Gross, who played at Brewer High last season. The 6-foot-1, 225 Gross is the younger brother of David Gross, a starter on Maine’s offensive line much of last season.
Wednesday’s signers join the 16 players who committed to Maine during the December early signing period. December’s field included two Mainers, wide receiver Nick Laughlin of Cape Elizabeth and kicker Mike Lewinski of Wells.
As was the case early in the signing period, Maine worked to fill holes on the offensive line, signing three offensive linemen on Wednesday to go along with the three signed in December. Pius Ejindu, a 6-foot-3, 320-pound lineman from St. John’s Prep in Danvers, Massachusetts, and Jack Lillie, a 6-foot-4, 275-pound lineman from Boulder, Colorado, joined Dow in as newcomers to the line on Wednesday.
Playing at Bridgton Academy gave Andrews the opportunity to play in a spread offense for the first time. Andrews started the season as the team’s third quarterback but started the last five games of the season, Bridgton coach Matt Dugan said.
“(The) physical talent is there, it’s just about getting more reps in a more traditional college offense, and his improvement has shown that in just one season,” Dugan said.
After losing his junior season in the fall of 2020 to the pandemic, Andrews decided to attend prep school for a year after graduating from Kennebunk. Attending Bridgton for a year after high school, Andrews followed the same path as Maine coach Jordan Stevens, who attended Bridgton after graduating from Mt. Blue High in Farmington before moving to the Black Bears. Andrews said he visited campus and met with Stevens and new offensive coordinator Steve Cooper two weeks ago and decided Maine was the right fit.
“They run a similar offense to the one I ran at Bridgton. It’s an attack I feel comfortable in,” Andrews said. “I make quicker decisions in the spread offense. You have to go through your progressions very quickly.
Dow is the first Hermon player to advance to NCAA Division I football. Like Andrews, Dow left his visit with the Black Bears impressed with Stevens and the coaching staff, especially offensive line coach Patrick Kugler.
“(Kugler) and I sat down and talked for a while,” Dow said. “I know I’m going to be trained hard there, which is good.”
Maine went 2-9 last season, Stevens’ first as head coach, including 2-6 in Colonial Athletic Association games. The Black Bears open the 2023 season Sept. 2 at Florida International, a Football Bowl Subdivision program. Maine’s first home game is scheduled for Sept. 16, a CAA contest against Rhode Island.
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Tuesday’s Maine college roundup: St. Joseph’s tops Rivier in women’s basketball