National Signing Day has long since come and gone. High school football stars put pen to paper in February, declaring their intentions, while receiving full-scholarships to play at Division I schools.
But there is one question that has lingered around the state, and that still needs to be answered: Why didn't Kevin Macari, a bona fide, gifted star for New Canaan, get even one scholarship offer?
"I've never seen anything like it in my 30 years of coaching," Lou Marinelli, the legendary coach of , said. "It was like musical chairs. All these coaches from these big time programs had a lot of interest in Kevin. They talked with him, and had visits with him. But when the music stopped, not one of them could just pull the trigger and offer him a scholarship."
Macari, who was an all-state receiver, is a borderline athletic freak. He has size, (6'2", 210lbs) speed (4.5 40-yard dash), and off the charts athletic ability. Search YouTube for his game against Darien and watch him dunk the ball over the goal-posts. Macari makes it look easy, but that is no easy feat.
"It's mystifying," said Bo Hickey, an assistant coach at New Canaan, and a former NFL player with the Denver Broncos. "Macari is as good a high school player as I've ever seen, and he has what you can't time with a stop watch or find on film. And that's heart. He deserved better."
Macari, who caught 60 passes for over 1,200 yards during his senior year, received letters and phone calls from more than 50 major college programs. Coaches visited him at New Canaan High School. Miami offered him the opportunity to be preferred walk-on. He thought for sure that he'd get at least one scholarship offer.
"It's disappointing," Macari, who scored 20 touchdowns in 13 games as a senior, said. "I went to camps and combines and thought I measured up with some of the players who were getting scholarships."
There have been great players who have slipped through the cracks and been overlooked before Macari, and there will be a lot of players bypassed after him. College football recruiting is just like most things in life, littered with politics and uncertainty.
"When I was at Boston College as an assistant," Marinelli said. "I wanted this big, left-handed quarterback from Long Island. But our recruiting coordinator was after some kid in Washington D.C. He, of course, won out. That kid I was recruiting was Boomer Esiason. Things happen and sometimes it just turns into a numbers game."
Why didn't UConn, an up-and-coming program, show any interest in a player who was a high school phenom, playing right in their own backyard?
"Randy Edsall (now the head coach at Maryland) didn't recruit that hard in Connecticut," said Macari. In fact, only 12 of 97 players on the Huskies team that went to the Fiesta Bowl, hailed from the Nutmeg state.
"And by the time Paul Pasqualoni (new head coach at UConn) was named the coach, it was pretty much too late and all the offers had been made," Macari said.
But don't feel entirely bad for Macari. His football skills helped him get into Georgetown, one of the elite academic schools in the country. Most high school seniors would do just about anything to get a degree from there. Macari will get the opportunity to play right away as a member of the Hoyas football team.
"They throw the ball 50 times a game, so that should be good. It's a great opportunity that I'm looking forward to," said Macari.
The NFL is peppered with players who were overlooked in high school, walked-on at college, and blossomed into great players. Clay Matthews, Jr, who wasn't half the player Macari was in high school, walked-on at USC, mainly because his dad was an all-american there. He didn't do anything until his senior year, where he developed into a first-round pick and later, a Pro Bowl linebacker with the Green Bay Packers. Macari's goal is still to get to the NFL despite not being offered a scholarship for college.
"That's every kid's dream, to play in the NFL. I'm just going to work hard like I always have, and see what happens". Macari said. "If it doesn't work out, I'll still have a degree from Georgetown."
The question of why Kevin Macari wasn't offered a scholarship may never be adequately answered. He is a person of impeccable character and mind-boggling athletic skills. But one thing is certain, he's one of the best players the state of Connecticut has ever seen.