Despite injury after injury, Episcopal Academy’s Milton Mamula never lost hope.
He posted 55 tackles and 17 sacks in his senior campaign with the Churchmen — Mamuula’s first full season without being forced to spend the majority of his time in a training room or street clothes.
Mamula, who earned All-Delco honors last fall, never abandoned his dream of playing football at the next level. He officially signed his Letter of Intent with the University of Montana on National Signing Day Wednesday.
“It means a whole lot to me and I worked very hard. I battled through years of injuries and worked my way past a broken back, torn everything, broken feet that took me out all three years, give or take,” Mamula said. “It’s definitely fulfilling.”
The son of former Eagles first-round draft pick Mike Mamula, Milton offers a similar skill set. A freakish athlete, the 6-3, 225-pound Mamula was a terror for opposing linemen, running backs and quarterbacks. His ability to dominate on defense helped the Churchmen to a 7-3 record in 2017.
“I never doubted myself,” he said. “I looked at what my dad did and what he did at the combine. I have those genes. I know I have superior athletic ability and I knew that I cannot waste that athletic ability. So, I worked my way through it and I knew I was never going to quit.”
Mamula started to receive a slew of preferred walk-on offers late in his senior year. He was told the same thing by several coaches: they love him, but they can’t offer him a recruiting spot.
But Montana came calling and provided everything he was looking for.
“I talked to my parents and I was thinking about post-grad because it would be great to have another year under my belt,” he said. “I knew it would a different story with the recruiting process and that was what it was. The walk-on opportunities, some coaches showed a lot interest in me, but it was at the end of the season and at the end of their recruiting. That’s what they told me, basically. It was like, ‘We like you, but we have no recruiting spots left, so we can offer you preferred walk-on but that’s all we can offer you.’ There were about six or seven schools that said that.
“My parents were talking to me and they said, ‘Go somewhere where you are wanted from the start, where they will invest the time and money in you from the start.’ That’s basically why I wanted to go the route with the scholarship.”
Montana is coached by Bobby Hauck, the brother of former Eagles special teams star Tim Hauck, who played with Mike Mamula in Philadelphia.
Milton noted he expects to be on the front line of defense, at end or outside backer, where he can allow his pass-rushing skills to flourish.
“The scenery out there is beautiful. Not only that, but the facilities are amazing,” he said. “They are on par with every FCS school that I know of.”
Mamula added he is forever grateful to Episcopal Academy coach Todd Fairlie and the coaching staff for never giving up on him.
“From the start, Coach Fairlie talked about grit and how you should never quit, no matter how tired you are,” he said. “It’s all about hard work and all of the coaches at EA enforced that.
Garnet Valley’s Danny Guy, the 2017 Daily Times Player of the Year, will continue his career under coach Bill Zwaan at West Chester University.
An outstanding high school running back, Guy rushed for 1,480 yards and 19 touchdowns on the way to helping Garnet Valley advance to the District 1 Class 6A final for the second straight season.
Two-time All-Delco quarterback Anthony Paoletti of Marple Newtown will play at University of Delaware. Paoletti, who was the first Delco football player to commit to a Division I program, passed for a county-record 6,944 yards in his career. In his junior year he became the single-season passing champion with 2,263 yards. In his senior year, Paoletti threw for a county-leading 2,263 yards to go with 21 touchdowns and a 54.2 completion percentage.
Other Marple Newtown players who announced their signing commitments Wednesday are All-Delco wide receiver Dash Dulgerian, defensive back Aaron Diamond and lineman Kevin Hahn, all of whom are going to Ursinus.
Haverford High’s Jordan Mosley will play at Maryland. Mosley, a two-time All-Delco, broke the school record for receiving yards in a career. He also led the county with eight interceptions as a free safety.
Upper Darby lineman and All-Delco Derrick Korboi will embark on a college career at California University of Pennsylvania, along with teammates Khalil Brown and Mike Williams. All-Delco defensive back Nasir Greer is off to Shippensburg, and linebacker Ryan Tegethoff is headed to Lock Haven.
Slippery Rock University welcomes Archbishop Carroll’s Dahmir Ruffin. The multi-purpose All-Delco had 363 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns for the Patriots in 2017. The Haverford School’s Colin Hurlbrink, a two-time All-Delco, will play at Lafayette.
Elsewhere, Cardinal O’Hara’s Jamir Redd signed with Bloomsburg University. And Sun Valley is sending running back Caliph Jones and linebacker James Gines to Bloomsburg.
Top photo: Episcopal Academy’s Milton Mamula (photo courtesy @EAfootballfans on Twitter)