With the smarts of a coach and the quiet confidence of a natural born leader, Wasilewski is ready to be the quarterback for what has the potential to be a great football team.
Last year the 6-foot 1-inch, 205-pound junior from Mt. Caramel, Pa. recorded one tackle and completed one pass the entire season. This year, Wasilewski will be the starting quarterback for a team that went 9-4 during the regular season and had a playoff run that energized the entire school. Wasilewski made sure to study the actions of last year’s quarterback Warren Smith.
“I learned from [the former starting quarterback] Warren [Smith] last year about preparing for practice and games,” Wasilewski said. “You got to go into practice and film study with the attitude of getting work done.”
Wasilewski quickly had to adapt to life as a college football quarterback as UMaine opened the season on the road at Atlantic Coast Conference against powerhouse Boston College. The Black Bears lost 34-3 and Wasilewski completed 20 of 42 passes for 134 yards along with two interceptions. Wasilewski was the first to admit it will take some time to adjust to the speed of college football.
“I need to get the overall feel of playing college football,” Wasilewski said. “Being able to go out there and be comfortable making plays — I think I’m making strides towards that and we’re getting better every day.”
As Wasilewski continues to improve his game, his teammates have a different attitude than from that of past years. The team’s success a season ago brought a new atmosphere to the football program — one the team enjoys very much.
“We got that feeling of winning and it was a great feeling,” Wasilewski said. “It meant a lot to the university.”
Wasilewski prepares the team game-by-game and day-by-day. He says his leadership skills and ability to guide people in the right direction are some of of his best traits, playing a big part in earning him the starting quarterback job this fall.
Wasilewski started developing his football skills when he was 5 years old in Pennsylvania. A starter since his freshman year in high school, Wasilewski was captain of a 13-1 team that won the Heartland Conference championship and the Pennsylvania District IV title when he was as a senior. He was a second-team All-State pick.
“I come from a town where football is a big time tradition,” Wasilewski said. “I played with a lot of good players and worked with a lot of great coaches.”
Earning recognition for his accomplishments in high school, Wasilewski was heavily recruited by various Patriot League schools, including the College of the Holy Cross, but felt privileged to get a call from Black Bear country. This was his lone Division I offer. He visited both Holy Cross and UMaine, and the decision was made simple.
“Maine just seemed to have a family atmosphere in the locker room,” Wasilewski said.
Now Wasilewski must earn his stripes at the next level. He has been handed the keys to an experienced offense, backed by a defense with all-conference players. The next stop on the schedule is Bryant University this weekend.
“ [Bryant] always plays hard. Our game plan is to simply go down there and have a business-like approach — to play Black Bears football.”