T-D HS Football


Bloom takes game to Connecticut

By: Shawn Curtis

LIGONIER — It was a decision that Alec Bloom made before his senior season and one that he confirmed on Wednesday.
Bloom is Connecticut bound.
Bloom – a 6-foot-7 tight end recruit from Ligonier Valley – had made a verbal commitment to Connecticut over the summer. He made it official by signing his National Letter of Intent, then adding the program’s hashtagged motto “#bleedblue” on the cover sheet.
Now that everything’s set to go, Bloom noted a sense of relief with the process behind him.
“It was a little stressful at times,” Bloom said. “In the end it all works out and I’m going to the place I want to. So yeah, I’m a little relieved.” 
Bloom certainly isn’t saying that the recruiting process was all stress.
“It’s definitely been a great experience,” Bloom said. “I’ve seen places that I’ve never been to before. There are some great places up north that I’ve been to. The key is that you’ve gotta get exposed to places ... I went to camps, but there are other ways to do it. That’s how I got found.” 
Ligonier Valley coach Roger Beitel, who helped Bloom get to Ligonier Valley High School on Wednesday, despite classes being canceled because of the weather, was also relieved to see Bloom’s recruiting adventure wind down.  
“(Wednesday morning), I didn’t get a very good night of sleep,” Beitel said. “I called him and I said: ‘How about I just come around and pick you up with the bad roads and that we come in and we get it done?’ I know that he was relieved, but I was relieved as well.” 
Bloom joins a Huskies squad that went 3-9 last season, winning its last three games under interim coach T.J. Weist, who replaced Paul Pasqualoni after the Huskies stumbled to an 0-4 start this past season.
The Huskies hired Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco to take over the program in December.
Through everything, the Storrs, Conn. campus remained the best fit for Bloom.
“Their new coaching staff is amazing up there,” Bloom said. “They really impressed me when I went for my visit. They’re really just great people up there and I’m looking forward to getting to know them better.” 
Bloom, who was a part of three straight playoff squads at Ligonier Valley, is also hoping to see team success at the next level.
“Hopefully we’ll win lots of games,” Bloom said. “That’s the goal in college football or in any (level of) football. You gotta want to win games, you gotta want to work hard to win games. Hopefully, I go up there and we walk away with four conference championships and some bowl wins. That’s the goal.”  
At Ligonier Valley, Bloom finished with 45 receptions for 830 yards and 12 touchdowns while rushing for 79 yards and a score. Bloom also tallied 57 tackles and a sack on the defensive side of the ball for the Rams.
Bloom’s senior season earned him a selection to the Pennsylvania Sportswriters All-State team and a nod on USA Today’s all-Pennsylvania squad while also receiving a first-team tight end selection on The Tribune-Democrat’s All-Area Team.
Last week, Bloom was selected to play on the Pennsylvania squad in June’s Big 33 Classic in Hershey.
While it’s rare to see FBS programs dipping into the Heritage Conference for recruits, Beitel noted that the talent is abundant in the region.
“I think it speaks volumes to the fact that kids from this area can ultimately make it,” Beitel said. “And they can make it to the big time, Division I level. It’s great for our program, but it’s also great for all the kids in this area. Growing up in the backyards, they can see that their dreams can come true and that local kids have done well.
“We’re extremely proud of Alec and hope that he can go on to have a great career, come back, stay in touch with the community and also be someone that younger kids can look up to and emulate and try to have their dreams come true as well.” 

Shawn Curtis is the sports editor of The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/shawncurtis430.