Cumberland High School's Mitch Baxter will fulfill his dream of playing Division I football next season. He recently signed a letter of intent to play for the Bryant Bulldogs.
"It's what I aspired to do since I was a freshman, a sophomore. It really feels great to finally find the right place for me," Baxter said.
"Oh yeah, we are all real proud of him. It's good for our program. It's good for football. I think Rhode Island kids in general sometimes get a bad rap for not being able to play Division I football. But I think the more you see these kids play, the more you see how hard they work and what they do. They could definitely make that transition and it's a good thing for everyone," Cumberland head football coach Chris Skurka said.
Baxter realizes that he is going to have to take his game to the next level if he wants to compete with Division I athletes.
"Just a lot of motivation to work on the skills that I need to play at the college level compared to a high school level," Baxter said.
"Sometimes when guys are the most outstanding player on their team here at high school, every single one of those kids at Bryant College at one point was a star on their team. And I think he understands that and he knows he has to start over and work from scratch and really earn a spot on the team," Skurka said.
Baxter may have caught the eye of Bryant head coach Marty Fine, who frequented Cumberland games because his son, Joe, is a junior on the defending Super Bowl championship team.
"I am definitely sure it helped with the exposure. It must have helped, absolutely," Baxter said.
"I don't want to take away from the fact that they are a scholarship school. So knowing that, they would have never scholarshipped Mitch if they didn't feel like he actually had the absolute ability to do what they need him to do there," Skurka said.