Even as he lay in pain on the ground, the broken bone and torn ligaments in his ankle in need of surgery, Marko Piedmont had no regrets about his decision to attend Bryant University's one-day football camp last June. And for good reason.
Despite missing one game last season and not regaining his dominant form until late in the year, Piedmont left such a lasting impression on the Bryant coaching staff that day that he was offered a scholarship in December.
Piedmont's dream of playing Division I football became a reality on Wednesday when the Wilton senior signed a National Letter of Intent to continue his career at Bryant in Smithfield, R.I., next fall.
Bryant, an NCAA Div. I Football Championship Subdivision program, finished 7-4 last season and will be counting on the 6-foot-1, 240-pound Piedmont to keep the winning seasons going over the next four years.
Piedmont, now fully healthy, is ready to take the next step.
"There's so much to like about the school," Piedmont said. "I'm not sure what to expect. Playing I-AA is a big step up from the FCIAC, and I have a lot of work to do as far as my agility and conditioning goes between now and August. It's a great honor to sign, I'm really looking forward to playing at the next level."
A two-way standout on the line as junior, Piedmont played primarily on offense at right guard this past season as he worked his way back from off-season surgery. Also a three-technique lineman on defense, Piedmont eventually starting wrecking havoc once again -- much like he did as a junior en route to second-team All-FCIAC honors.
The versatile Piedmont is expected to play on defense initially, but his role could change. He has prototypical fullback-size, and that could be a position for him at Bryant.
"Marko had a big-time junior year and naturally we were expecting a lot out of him this past season," Wilton coach Bruce Cunningham said. "He had a bad injury at Bryant's camp so it took him a while, but by season's end he was back to his dominant self. I think he'll do fine at the next level, I'm very happy for him."
Piedmont is one of several FCIAC seniors taking his talents to the collegiate gridiron. Joining Piedmont at Bryant is Danbury's Aaron Dixon, while teammate Austin Calitro is headed to Villanova.
Greenwich's Shane Nastahowski, the MSG Varsity Player of the Year, will do a PG year at Milford Academy, where St. Joseph product Tyler Matakevich went last season before signing with Temple.
New Canaan recruits include Matt Milano (Middlebury), and the Muhlenberg-bound duo of Thomas Rochlin and Rami Hamdan.
Bunnell's David Camille will sign a Letter of Intent on Thursday to play at St. Anselm.