SOMERVILLE – Hillsborough wide receiver Scott Levonaitis will not play football for The Ohio State University Buckeyes.
But he’ll walk the same campus as preseason All-American defensive end Joey Bosa and running back Ezekiel Elliott and the rest of the defending national champions.
Levonaitis was set to play his final organized game in Thursday night’s Gunnery Sgt. Basilone Bowl III at Somerville’s Brooks Field. The game was sponsored by the U.S. Marines and the Somerset County Football Coaches Association.
Levonaitis won the first-ever Captain Joe Duff Award given to the player, showing the most commitment, courage and honor. Hillsborough coach Kevin Carty said Levonaitis was arguably his ‘all-time favorite’’ pla yer to coach.
“He made every play, he was so smart, so instinctive, so good and he was unselfish, always telling me about this guy and that guy who a play should be run for,’’ said Carty.
Levonaitis said he considered playing at college, but is committed to being a student first.
“I’m really excited about playing in this game, with the Marines and everything, it’s really been awesome this whole week,’’ said Levonaitis, who’s enrolled at Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University
Some of Levonaitis’ exploits on the field last year probably would impress Buckeyes’ coach Urban Meyer and some of his receivers. He caught 53 catches for 1,012 yards and seven touchdowns for Hillsborough last season, leaving teammates and coach Kevin Carty speechless at times. Same for the Raiders’ opponents.
“That catch he made against Union ... that catch was ridiculous,” Montgomery coach Zoran Milich said.
Levonaitis, who will major in business, said he’s fine with just being a student. He said he spoke to East Stroudsburg University about possibility of playing football there, butis content just being a full time student.
“I talked to some D-1 schools, but I just loved Ohio State, I visited probably 15 schools and everything that I liked about school was all in one at Ohio State,’’ said Levonaitis, who’ll be one of six Hillsborough students who will be enrolled at Ohio State.
Basilone Bowl notes
The game pitted the “Devil Dogs” and “Leathernecks” and was made up of just-graduated seniors from 12 of Somerset County’s 13 football-playing high schools and Delaware Valley Regional High School in Alexandria Township in Hunterdon County.
Immaculata players didn’t participate this year.
Bound Brook, Bridgewater-Raritan, Hillsborough, Manville, North Plainfield and Ridge made up the Devil Dogs. Players from Bernards, Delaware Valley, Franklin, Montgomery, Somerville, The Pingry School and Watchung Hills made up the “Leathernecks.”
The first two games of the series were played at Bridgewater-Raritan’s Basilone Memorial Field, but since it was expected that the B-R track was to be redone, the game was moved to Somerville. As it turns out, the project was not done, but it was too far into the planning of the game to return to Basilone.
Staff writer Harry Frezza: 732-565-7363; hfrezza@gannettNJ.com