By Joseph Staszewski
Playing Division I football was never a given for St. Francis Prep’s Joey Troina, so the senior wide receiver did everything he could to make his dream a reality.
“That was the goal,” he said.
Troina, a Bayside native, didn’t wait to be discovered. He made sure coaches saw him when he visited 23 Division I school’s offseason camps and rededicated himself in the weight room.
Wagner College on Staten Island was one Troina went to while in his junior year, and he was invited back last summer. Troina immediately fell in love with the campus and the coaches.
On Wednesday, he signed a National Letter of Intent Wednesday to play football at the Northeast Conference school next fall, picking the Seahawks over Sacred Heart (Conn.) and Central Connecticut State.
Troina said his decision made all the hours he put in worth it.
“To put all this work in and finally accomplish what I wanted, sweet is the word I’m looking for,” Troina said.
He is the Terriers’ first Divison I player since running back Tristan Akong went to Albany in 2009.
Troina, an All-Queens honorable mention selection by TimesLedger Newspapers, had worried about his chances coming into the season when the Terriers changed from a pass-first spread offense to the run-heavy belly set. Still the 6-foot-2 Troina thrived, catching 31 passes for 395 yards and two touchdowns. He helped the Terriers claim an undefeated CHSFL Class AA-A division crown.
“To get 31 catches was unbelievable,” Troina said. “We don’t pass that much at all.“
And he couldn’t pass on Wagner, where he wants to study public relations. Troina feels the Staten Island school’s location in New York City will help him land an internship down the road and mentioned that it is a tough economy. His drive and forward thinking have already gotten him this far.
“It’s a dream come true to reach a Division I school,” Troina said.
Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.