SirVocea Dennis peered across the green lawn of Gateway High School’s field on Tuesday afternoon and was delighted to see the young boys play seven against seven with unbridled glee at Nike soccer camp.
However, Pete’s top defender, a camp counselor, understands that the game he’s playing at a much higher level has turned into a “wild” journey for players and coaches.
The NCAA name, image, likeness, and transfer portal opportunities have changed the rules, altered rosters (including the one he resides on), impacted recruitment and created temptations.
How wild has Dennis gotten this season? He said he dismissed offers from two schools that tried to entice him to move.
“I had (contacts) a couple,” he said. “I wasn’t worried about it. I’m here now, so…”
Dennis refused to specify schools, and for good reason, he said. “This is a violation of the NCAA,” he said of schools that contacted him, even though his name did not appear on the portal.
“I respectfully told them that what they were trying to do was illegal and could, in fact, destroy my eligibility. If they wanted to talk to me, I would have to be at the gate already.”
So why stay on while several others around the country have changed addresses, including Jordan Addison, a former Pitt wide receiver, who received the Biletnikoff Prize to USC.
“The reason for me is because I created a bit of a legacy here,” said Dennis, who earned ACC second-team recognition last season. “I am nearing completion of my studies (criminal law), which is the first thing I want to remove from my list.
“Right now, I want to keep the main thing being the main thing which is Pete football. I have a lot of friends in this team, a lot of family in this team and a lot of young people who look up to me. If I make that move, how will that look in their eyes? ? There was a lot of things that came into play, but mostly my love for football was Pete.”
He said he feels loyal to Pete, the first Power 5 school to offer him a chance to get a free education.
“Why don’t you stay?” He said.
Which brings Dennis’ legacy to what may be his fourth and final season at Pete. He managed to play the center back and money (outside), and last season he led the team with 87 tackles, lined up mainly in the middle. He also contributed nine tackles for a loss, four sacks, a blocked field goal, a stuttering recovery and an interception.
He said he likes both positions, and coach Pat Nardozy has told Dennis that he will let him choose.
He said, “They asked me what I want to play.” “I gave my answer, and this is for all to see on September 1 (opening game against West Virginia). I won’t reveal the answer because it might actually change. That’s how much I love all three positions.”
Like many athletes, Dennis negotiated deals for nothing, with the help of his agent, law school graduate Pete Alex Guminsky. Through social media, he will promote the Athletic Recovery Lounge in Braddock Hills, a company where athletes can recover from their training, and Payne Glasses, a local eyewear company. In return, he can sample their services for free.
Dennis said he spoke to Addison while his transfer story was unfolding.
“He’s doing his best for himself,” Dennis said. “None of the guys would mind it. He did what he did. We thank him for the time we spent with him.”
“He’s a great guy. We love him. But, you know, we’re not crazy. We just go play football without him. What I told him was to make the best decision for you and your family, not just your college career (football), but educationally.”
As a returning player and team maker in defense – Remember the shovel pass that was intercepted in the Clemson game? Denis sat down with Nardozzi several times off-season to discuss 2022 and his role as a top captain. It’s a responsibility that Denise doesn’t take seriously.
“I want to be a commander. I told him so. He gave me the tools and things I needed to do it. That’s not strange to me,” said Dennis, the son of two US Army veterans, Cervantes and Corliss.
Sir Vantes Dennis was awarded the Order of the Purple Heart when he was shot in Iraq.
“To be in this light and that leadership role, it’s commonplace,” Cerfucia said. “Once the season was over, (my teammates) seemed to me to be that next leader. I embraced her, and I still embrace her and work hard for her.”
Dennis is eagerly awaiting the start of boot camp in early August, but he also doesn’t want to spend his college days — or the summer.
He said, “I want the season to speed up just because I love the game of football, but I am trying to take the relaxation aspect just because this might be my last season. I just want to take it all in.”
Jerry DePaula is a Tribune Review writer. You can contact Jerry via email at email@example.com or via Twitter .