Deering senior Raffaele Salamone, joined by his parents, coaches and teammates, signs his National Letter of Intent Wednesday to attend and play football at the University of Maine. 

“Today’s really special,” said Salamone, who plans to study education and play defensive line for the Black Bears. “This has been a dream of mine since I played for the Portland Raiders (youth team). I thought the whole experience of playing college football would be pretty cool. Only two percent of high school players play in college. It’s great to be part of that two percent.

“Just to be able to play for my home state team means a lot to me. It feels good knowing all the hours in the gym, all the running, the training, has paid off. The summer of my junior year, I met one of the coaches at a camp. He reached out to me after my junior season and we hit it off from there. I feel at home there.”

Deering coach Jason Jackson said that Salamone represented the Rams well and should be a factor at the next level.

“It’s a great day for our program,” Jackson said. “Everyone expected this to happen even when he was a little guy, because he was never truly a little guy. He has a passion for football and loyalty to this program. He overcame trials and tribulations and I’m proud of him. He’s a student of the game. That goes a long way. He pays a lot of attention to small details. Maine’s getting a good one.”

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