Hudson Valley Sports Report


Linebacker Will Stay Close To Home To Continue Career

By John Ziehl
Special To HVSR

Newburgh Free Academy senior linebacker Tyler Rafferty has decided to continue his football career at the next level about as close to home as you can get – at the United States Military Academy.

Rafferty chose Army over such schools as Bucknell, Fordham, Holy Cross, Stony Brook,

Sacred Heart and Rhode Island.

And a large part of the decision was based on a Zoom call.

Prior to making his decision, Rafferty had a Zoom call with Newburgh Free Academy and Army alum,

Steven Johnson, who is currently stationed in Hawai’i. Rafferty said their conversation “had a very personal feel” and that Johnson was speaking as more of a peer and less with the intent of pushing for West Point.

That made an impression on him and, coupled with the proximity to his home, Army was the clear decision over the rest.

Rafferty had initially hoped to wait until after his senior season to make a final decision about where he would play next year, but due to concerns with the coronavirus as well as the football season being in jeopardy altogether, he felt the offer was too good to pass up on.

Tyler’s father Jim has been running the youth football league in Newburgh for years, so the Coach of the Newburgh Free Academy football team, Bill Bianco, had formed a great friendship with the family. Given their relationship, Bianco spoke to the growth of Rafferty, stating “with the combination of his physical development as an athlete and the growth as a cerebral player on the field, it is obvious why he will be playing some of the best football in the world next fall.”

During Rafferty’s sophomore season, he played as their weak safety, but made the switch to linebacker for his junior year and recorded a team high 81 tackles.

“He’s more of an aggressive player than a finesse player,” Bianco said. “With his physical tools it was an obvious transition.”

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