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Dec 4, 2018 6:36 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Dylan Laube's Freshman Season At UNH Was A Humbling Experience

Westhampton Beach alum Dylan Laube enjoyed his first season at the University of New Hampshire. UNH ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS
Dec 4, 2018 12:48 PM

Dylan Laube said his freshman season at the University of New Hampshire was a humbling experience.

A year after setting new school records in virtually every offensive statistical category at Westhampton Beach High School, and setting Suffolk County and Long Island records to boot, Laube only played in four games at UNH, mostly on special teams, before getting redshirted.

But it wasn’t for a lack of skill or ability. In fact, it was quite the opposite.

With a bevy of running backs on the Wildcats roster, seven to be exact, and a number of them being upperclassmen in senior Trevon Bryant and juniors Evan Gray and Brandon Gallagher, Laube, a Westhampton resident, was redshirted this season, but not before getting in four games. A new rule by the NCAA this season allowed schools to play freshmen in a maximum of four games before having to decide to redshirt a player or not. It basically allows for schools to see how their new players stack up in real-time competition while also getting a full four years out of them.

Laube was the only freshman on UNH’s roster to play in the four-game max. He played against Elon, Rhode Island, James Madison and Albany, all on special teams, either as the backup returner or as a blocker, and he loved it. Laube did get some time in at the running back position during a summer scrimmage where he rushed seven times for 55 yards.

“It was a bit of a wake-up call for me, to have to prove myself again, but I feel like in the limited time that I had that I was able to do that,” he explained. “The biggest thing they preach at UNH is that it’s like a family. They want you as long as possible, they want you for that fifth year, so they redshirt everyone, unless injuries force them to make you play. In the backfield, they already had a senior, a junior and a redshirt freshman, so I hope to be in the rotation next season.

“I love the team. I love the atmosphere. The culture there is awesome,” Laube added.

Laube shared the Carl A. Hansen Award—given to the top high school football player in Suffolk County, and named after the former Westhampton Beach coach and athletic director—with Lindenhurst’s Jeremy Ruckert last season. He also, for the second straight season, won the Joe Cipp Jr. Award, given to the top running back in the county. He was also named to the USA Today ALL-USA New York Football Team and was picked to play in the Empire Challenge All-Star Game with teammate Nolan Quinlan.

Laube set the single-game county rushing record of 454 yards in a win over Eastport South Manor and also holds the mark for single-season rushing yards with 2,684 his senior season. He scored a Long Island-record 47 touchdowns and tied the record of six touchdowns in the Long Island Championship. Laube finished his career with 120 touchdowns and 6,495 rushing yards on 655 carries in four years as a varsity player.

It could be extremely tough for players who have had so much success in high school and then have to take a back seat once they get to college. But UNH running backs coach Casey DeAndrade, who worked with Laube extensively this past season, said he took everything in stride.

“It’s tough for a lot of kids, and a lot of kids handle it differently, but Dylan came to meetings every day on time even when he didn’t have to,” he said. “He showed up and prepared like he was going to play, and when I asked him a question he answered every single time and he wasn’t afraid to ask questions himself, which is what we like to see.”

At some point, whether it be next season or the year after, Laube said he intends on being one of the team’s key running backs, with a specialty of catching passes out of the backfield, and will be one of the team’s starting kick and punt returners. DeAndrade, a five-time All-American during his career at UNH, spent his following two seasons, since graduating in 2016, as an assistant coach. He was impressed by Laube.

“He’s one of the best freshman I’ve seen come in here, not physically, but more mentally,” he explained. “He loves football, and anybody who follows our team closely is looking forward to seeing him on the offensive side of the ball. He’ll have a good opportunity in the near future to be our return guy and continue to play on special teams. I’m really excited for him.”

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