The University of Maine football team signed 16 players to national letters of intent on Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period for NCAA Division I football. The class includes players from nine states and Canada.

The traditional signing day is Feb. 1. Coach Jordan Stevens said at least one more player could commit by the end of the week.

“I’m really excited about this class. Before December, we had five (verbal) commits. Getting 16 today shows the hard work the staff put in,” Stevens said.

Among the players signed today are two Mainers: Nick Laughlin, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound wide receiver from Cape Elizabeth High, and Mike Lewinski, a 6-foot, 215-pound kicker/punter from Wells High. Laughlin will receive a partial scholarship, while Lewinski is a preferred walk-on.

Cape Elizabeth’s Nick Laughlin will receive a partial athletic scholarship from the University of Maine, where he is expected to be a wide receiver. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

“Nick’s been on campus three or four times, and I got to see him play South Portland. Nick’s a really good athlete, that’s what I love about him,” Stevens said. “Mike’s a terrific kicker, but the biggest advantage is he’s a football player. He’s not just a kicker.”

Also on Wednesday, Laughlin was named a finalist for the Fitzpatrick Trophy, awarded each year to the state’s top high school senior in football. Laughlin ran for 1,087 yards this season, averaging 10.6 yards per carry, and caught 57 passes for 852 yards. All told, Laughlin scored 29 touchdowns this fall, including two on kick returns.


Sean Green, who stepped down as Cape Elizabeth’s head coach last week, called Laughlin the best football player he’s ever coached.

“He can literally play any skill position on offense or defense, which makes him very unique, and is the best I’ve seen in the return game,” Green said. “At Maine, he will play receiver. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him used like we did at Cape. In the slot, out wide, in the backfield, off of motions and shifts.”

Laughlin said he and his mother visited UMaine two weeks ago and came away impressed. Coaches said they plan to use him as a receiver and in the kick return game, he said.

“I felt the most comfortable up there. I liked all the coaches,” Laughlin said. “I went up to a couple games this season and liked how they play. I’ve definitely been working hard to get here.”

Wells Coach Tim Roche said Lewinski never played football until his freshman season. Lewinski worked with kicking coach Sam Lenson, a former UMaine punter and kicker.

“He really is one of those kids who worked hard to become a great player,” Roche said. “(Lewinski’s) a weight room fanatic. Maine will love his work ethic.”


Mike Lewinski of Wells High rushes against Cheverus during a game this fall. Lewinski, a preferred walk-on, was recruited as a place-kicker and punter.  Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Lewinski said the players and coaches at UMaine made him feel at home on his official visit to Maine a few weeks ago. He said he’s unsure if he’ll be used as a place-kicker or punter – or both – for the Black Bears, though Lewinski considers himself a better place-kicker right now. This fall, he made 29 of 30 extra point tries.

“That made the decision an easy one,” Lewinski said.

Wednesday’s signees include three offensive linemen, three wide receivers, two running backs, two defensive linemen, two defensive backs, and one each at quarterback, linebacker, tight end and kicker/punter. Wednesday’s commitments also include one transfer, running back Alex Berrouet. A native of Acton, Massachusetts, Berrouet comes from Colorado State and has three years of eligibility remaining.

It’s a vastly different early signing period than last year, when it fell just a week after head coach Jordan Stevens was hired. Last season, only wide receiver Rohan Jones signed with the Black Bears on the first day of the early period.

Maine went 2-9 in Stevens’ first season, including a 2-6 record in Colonial Athletic Association play.

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