Two Thornton Academy football standouts – quarterback Michael Laverriere and wide receiver Johnny Rosario – announced Wednesday they will be teammates again next season at the University of Maine, but their days as a dangerous passing combo are over.

Both players signed national letters of intent to play football in Orono. But Laverriere, the consensus player of the year in Maine, was recruited as a fullback.

Johnny Rosario, left, and Michael Laverriere share the podium at Thornton Academy after signing letters of intent to play football at UMaine.

Johnny Rosario, left, and Michael Laverriere share the podium at Thornton Academy after signing letters of intent to play football at UMaine. Staff photo by Gregory Rec

“I’ve kind of known I wasn’t going to be a quarterback. It’s been like that for a long time,” Laverriere said. “They never recruited me as a quarterback. No school really has.”

Laverriere and Rosario will be joined in Orono by Deering High’s 6-foot-4, 230-pound defensive end, Raffaele Salamone.

Raffaele Salamone wears a University of Maine hat while signing his letter of intent to play at Maine pn Wednesday.

Raffaele Salamone wears a University of Maine hat while signing his letter of intent to play at Maine pn Wednesday. Staff photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette

“I felt like from the beginning (Maine’s coaches) said they wanted me on defense and they wanted Mike on offense,” said Salamone, adding he’s excited about the opportunity to compete against Laverriere in practice.

“You never turn away from a challenge,” Salamone said. “You love the guys who want to work and want to get better because it ends up making the team a lot better.”

Wednesday marked the first day high school seniors could sign letters of intent for football and soccer.

 Falmouth’s 6-4, 306-pound offensive tackle, Trey Fallon, signed to play football at Lafayette.

 Jackson Fotter of Gorham, who scored 31 goals and was named Maine Sunday Telegram boys’ soccer Player of the Year as a senior, will sign Friday at the high school to play at the University of Massachusetts.

 Scarborough soccer midfielder Garrett King confirmed he soon will sign to play at Providence College.

Football players have until April 1 to sign with a Division I or II team. For soccer, the signing period runs until Aug. 1.

At 6-2, 225 pounds, with a penchant for contact and working out in the weight room, Laverriere said he never really thought of himself as a quarterback, though he played the position well enough to become the Telegram Player of the Year, the Gatorade Maine Player of the Year and the 46th winner of the Fitzpatrick Trophy.

SACO, ME - FEBRUARY 1: Michael Laverriere signs a letter of intent on Wednesday morning, February 1, 2017, at Thornton Academy to play football for the University of Maine. (Staff Photo by Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer)

Michael Laverriere signs a letter of intent on Wednesday morning at Thornton Academy to play football for the University of Maine. Staff photo by Gregory Rec

“I just kind of stepped up and had to (play quarterback) this year. It really wasn’t a set position,” Laverriere said. “I love contact. I’m not that kind of player. I’m not trying to juke people out. I’d rather run through you than run around you.”

A four-year starter at Thornton, he spent his first three seasons playing defensive back and specializing on offense as a short-yardage runner. Laverriere scored 54 career touchdowns, and as a senior rushed for 1,384 yards and 20 scores while passing for 813 yards.

“We’ve been recruiting Mike for a long time, since the spring of his junior year,” said Maine Coach Joe Harasymiak. “We like his size. He played at 210 and he’s already up to (225). There’s a reason for (all the awards he’s received). He’s a great kid.”

Laverriere also was recruited by Fordham, Assumption and Springfield.

Salamone was an All-Telegram selection, a finalist for the Gaziano Defensive Lineman of the Year and the USA Today All-Maine Defensive Player of the Year. He played both nose guard and stand-up defensive end for Deering, where he led the team with 70 tackles, including 16 for loss.

Salamone’s father, Vinnie, and his uncle, Ernesto, both former Cheverus High players, played collegiately in Canada, helping their 1981 Acadia University win the Canadian College Bowl.

His older brother, Ernie, played at Saint Anselm College.

Salamone is listed as a defensive end by Maine for now.

“Hopefully he’ll project to a defensive tackle. We think he can put a lot of weight on,” Harasymiak said. “He’s another guy we were recruiting since last spring.”

Salamone said Maine’s coaches have told him to get his weight up to 260 to 265 pounds by the end of his freshman season.

“They really liked my size and my ability to make athletic plays,” Salamone said. “That was the biggest thing for them. They feel they can put weight on me and I’ll still be able to move and play at that level.”

Johnny Rosario is congratulated by Nick Tabor, the offensive line coach for the Thornton Academy football team, after Rosario signed a letter of intent on Wednesday morning at Thornton Academy to play football for the University of Maine. Tabor, along with his wife Danielle, at left, is also a dorm parent to students, including Rosario, in Thornton's residential student program.

Johnny Rosario is congratulated by Nick Tabor, the offensive line coach for the Thornton Academy football team, after Rosario signed a letter of intent on Wednesday morning at Thornton Academy to play football for the University of Maine. Tabor, along with his wife Danielle, at left, is also a dorm parent to students, including Rosario, in Thornton’s residential student program. Staff photo by Gregory Rec

Rosario, a 6-4, 200-pound speedster, said Maine’s coaches see him as an outside receiver. He also took recruiting visits to Boston College, Vanderbilt and Rhode Island.

“At the end of the season I actually committed to BC. That’s where I thought I was going to go,” Rosario said.

When Rosario learned he would have to do a post-graduate year to gain acceptance at BC, he reassessed his options.

“Rather than do that, UMaine was there and I decided to go to UMaine straight away,” Rosario said. “I’ll make it work. I’m just there to play sports and do academics, and see how it goes from there.”

Rosario enrolled at Thornton, where he is a boarding student, prior to his senior year.

He played three seasons of football at Cambridge Rindge & Latin in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he also excelled in track and field. Rosario was the Massachusetts Division I 300-meter indoor track champion.

Rosario intends to run indoor track at Maine.

Rosario’s cousin, Cabrinni Goncalves, playing primarily at linebacker, made 240 career tackles at Maine from 2012-15.

Rosario’s combination of size and 4.4-second 40-yard dash speed make him an intriguing prospect. He showed flashes of potential at Thornton.

“I definitely didn’t play to my full potential, that’s for sure,” Rosario said. “I need to improve my hands, catching the ball, and I need to improve my strength and my route running.”

The letter of intent is a binding agreement between the student and the institution. The student agrees to attend the school for one academic year in exchange for the institution providing athletic financial aid.

Last week, Cheverus swimmer Abby Longstaff signed her letter of intent to attend American University. Longstaff, a 3.75 GPA student, is a two-year captain, and holds school records in the 50-yard freestyle and 100 butterfly.

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas contributed to this story.

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: SteveCCraig

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