Eustace friends commit to same school

Tim McConnell (left) will play defensive back at Duquesne. His friend and teammate Matt Fitzpatrick will play on the offensive line, likely at center. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Tim McConnell (left) will play defensive back at Duquesne. His friend and teammate Matt Fitzpatrick will play on the offensive line, likely at center. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Posted: February 01, 2014

Since they were 4 years old and playing on the same T-ball team, Tim McConnell and Matt Fitzpatrick have been riding in the backs of automobiles and talking about their next game.

They did the same thing on Thursday afternoon - except their next game will be for the Duquesne University football team.

McConnell and Fitzpatrick, seniors at Bishop Eustace and best friends, both committed Thursday to attend Duquesne on football scholarships.

The two plan to sign their national letters of intent on Wednesday. They discussed their decision as they rode back to South Jersey from the Duquesne campus in Pittsburgh.

"It's awesome that we both will end up at the same place," Fitzpatrick said. "We both loved it there."

The 6-foot-3, 275-pound Fitzpatrick, a first-team all-South Jersey selection by The Inquirer, was recruited as an offensive lineman. He said he likely will play center.

The 5-11, 180-pound McConnell was recruited as a defensive back.

"We're best friends," McConnell said of himself and Fitzpatrick. "It's great that we're going to be going to college together."

Duquesne is an NCAA Division I program that competes at the Football Championship Subdivision level. Duquesne is a member of the Northeast Conference with programs such as Sacred Heart, Robert Morris, St. Francis, Wagner, and Bryant.

Fitzpatrick was a dominant offensive lineman for Bishop Eustace last season. The burly center was credited with 41 "pancake" blocks by the coaching staff.

McConnell was a standout quarterback and defensive back for the 6-5 Crusaders. He passed for 1,159 yards and seven touchdowns and ran for 905 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Fitzpatrick said he plans to major in business. McConnell said he was undecided.

"It's a great place," McConnell said of Duquesne.


panastasia@phillynews.com

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