Having concluded a successful standout season at St. Francis High, but still searching for a future gridiron destination, the wait and worry has subsided for Jared Lebowitz, replaced by the fulfillment of a longtime dream.
The 2012 All-Area Football Player of the Year gave his verbal commitment to accept a scholarship and play for UNLV on Thursday and was headed to visit the campus on Friday morning.
“Immense relief,” said Lebowitz of his feelings on committing. “I probably lost 20 pounds of relief off my shoulders.
“It’s just what I’ve worked for and sacrificed for since I’ve known what a Division I scholarship is. It’s what I consider to be the pinnacle of my life [so far].”
Lebowitz, who transferred to St. Francis from Vermont prior to his junior season, has called football an “obsession” since he first took up the sport in the fourth grade and earning a Division I scholarship has been a goal of his since then. Thus, Thursday was a proud day for him and everyone that’s supported him all the way from his home state to his current residence of Pasadena.
“It was just a great feeling,” Lebowitz said. “It’s so great to finally tell them that I made it.
“My mom, especially, I don’t know if she had a speech prepared or what, but I didn’t talk for 20 minutes after I told her. She was just telling me how proud she was.”
Lebowitz heads to Las Vegas to be a part of a UNLV squad that struggled in 2012 under coach Bobby Hauck, finishing with a 2-11 record. Hauck made the recent hire of Timm Rosenbach, a former NFL quarterback and veteran college coach, who had previously shown interest in Lebowitz as Rosenbach had previously been headed to Weber State.
“It happened kind of fast, actually,” said Lebowitz of the process that brought him to UNLV. “[Rosenbach] brought me to their attention. I sprung up on their board.
“They were looking for a guy and I popped up in their radar.”
The Rebels had four quarterbacks on their 2012 roster with eligibility remaining, including starter Nick Sherry, who was a redshirt freshman. Lebowitz will also join a roster that includes offensive lineman Patrick Carroll, a redshirt freshman who played at St. Francis, as well, garnering All-Mission League and All-Area honors three seasons in a row.
“I was talking to him and he loved it there,” Lebowitz said.
Lebowitz began his St. Francis days just after Carroll, left, though Lebowitz’ tight end this year was John Carroll, Patrick’s younger brother. Lebowitz earned All-Area Football Player of the Year honors, along with first-team All-Mission League and All-CIF Southern Section Western Division. He threw for 2,560 yards and 23 touchdowns to just seven interceptions in 11 games as a senior. For his St. Francis career, he threw for 4,794 yards and 44 touchdowns in two seasons, which concluded a four-year varsity career that began at South Burlington High and saw 44 straight varsity starts.
While that starting streak might very well conclude in his freshman season, Lebowitz now knows his playing days will continue, with his Division I dream now a reality.