As a college recruit, Braden Marceau-Olayinka has the perfect blend of athleticism, work ethic, and academic prowess.
That is why the Melrose senior lineman held over 20 Division I offers from top-tier football programs, with a verbal commitment to Columbia University, before another door opened.
When Stanford hired Troy Taylor as head coach in December, Cardinal defensive assistants started to reach out to Marceau-Olayinka, and when he received a formal offer in January, the 6-foot-3, 260-pounder committed to the Pac-12 program with the highest academic standards.
“Throughout the original recruiting process I had always valued education highly, which is why I was so happy to commit to Columbia,” said Marceau-Olayinka.
“It’s a great school, but Stanford is right up with the Ivy League schools every year. And the psychologoy school is fantastic, which is an area I’m looking to study. The opportunity for a phenomenal education on top of playing high-level football is tough to beat.”
On Wednesday afternoon, in the Melrose School Resource Center, Marceau-Olayinka signed his national letter of intent to accept a scholarship at Stanford.
A first-team all-state selection by the Massachusetts High School Football Coaches Association, he is the first Melrose football player to sign with a Power Five FBS program since Jonathan Needham inked his commitment to Duke in 2007.
Last winter, Marceau-Olayinka helped Melrose wrestling win a Division 3 state title by finishing second in the state meet in his heavyweight class. And it happened to be his first varsity season. He also competed in shot put last spring, but his main passion is football.
The versatile senior played left tackle and defensive end for Melrose last fall, although head coach Tim Morris said he could have put Marceau-Olayinka at linebacker, or anywhere on the line, and he would still thrive. At Stanford, he is expected to play defensive tackle. He will head out to Palo Alto, Calif., for freshman training camp on June 26, a little less than three months before his 18th birthday.
“Athletically, [Marceau-Olayinka] picks up things very easily, so that helped him become a good wrestler as well as a football player,” said Morris, who was an assistant wrestling coach at Melrose for 15 years.
“[Stanford will] use him inside on the defensive line and use that speed and quickness to make him a terror rushing the quarterback, and hunkering down in the ‘B’ gap. I think there’s a lot of potential there. He’s young and he’s already a leader. He’s an excellent young man and someone you want to have your other kids emulate.”
Down the road at Middlesex League rival Reading, four-year quarterback James Murphy inked his commitment to Brown University. The son of former Northeastern great Jim Murphy set school records in passing yards and touchdowns while winning three league MVP awards and posting a 32-7 record as a starter.
Duxbury quarterback Matt Festa committed to the University of New Hampshire. The 6-foot-2 signal caller passed for a state-best 50 touchdowns and just four interceptions while leading the Dragons to a 12-0 record and Division 4 state title this fall. Festa de-committed from Maryland, where he had a baseball scholarship, after winning the Super Bowl, and announced his plans to play at UNH via Twitter on Jan 29.
Here is a list of student-athletes who signed their NLI to a Division I program or inked their commitment to play at the D2 or D3 collegiate level for the Feb. 1 signing date:
Landon Bailey, St. Sebastian’s (Middlebury)
Jack Boyle, St. Sebastian’s (Bates)
Dante Bruschi, Bishop Feehan (Ithaca)
Cameron Burns, Bishop Feehan (Hamilton)
Ty Cannistraro, Central Catholic (New Haven)
Eddie Cinelli, Bishop Feehan (Saint Anselm)
Ryan Donovan, St. Sebastian’s (St. Lawrence)
Joey Duggan, Nobles (Fordham)
Pius Ejindu, St. John’s Prep (Maine)
Matt Festa, Duxbury (New Hampshire)
Jack Finnegan, Milton (Saint Lawrence)
CJ Finucane, Bishop Feehan (Endicott)
Nathan Glover, Carver (UMass Dartmouth)
Jake Gosselin, Bishop Feehan (Hamilton)
Nick Ioveino, Bishop Feehan (Salve Regina)
Isaac Jones, Dexter/Boston (Bowdoin)
Andrew Leigh, Dexter/Brookline (Tufts)
AJ Lysko, St. Sebastian’s (Tufts)
Braden Marceau-Olayinka, Melrose (Stanford)
Case Mankins, Bishop Feehan (Rhode Island)
Eric Miles, Bedford (Stonehill)
James Murphy, Reading (Brown)
Jack Poirier, Proctor/Wellesley (Franklin Pierce)
Tyler Potter, Milford (Central Connecticut)
Brady Sweeney, Holliston (Assumption)
Takai Whitmore, Dexter/Dorchester (Bucknell)
Aris Xerras, Danvers (Saint Anselm)
Nick Yanchuk, Bishop Feehan (Sacred Heart)
Congratulations! pic.twitter.com/FsLu88F7cf— Coach John Fiore (@coachjohnfiore) February 1, 2023
Welcome to #BlackBearNation, @piusejindu ‼️— Maine Football (@BlackBearsFB) February 1, 2023
OL | 6-3 | 320
Saint John's Prep School pic.twitter.com/vkHgvO4qn1
Welcome to the Blue Devil Family 🔥— CCSU FOOTBALL (@CCSUfootball) February 1, 2023
6’3 285 OL
Milford HS#Pushin23 pic.twitter.com/OUEUG1PPLU
Congrats to our Class of 2023 student-athletes moving on to play at the next level: Andrew Leigh/Tufts, Isaac Jones/Bowdoin, and Takai Whitmore/Bucknell. This group may be small in number but is big in talent and character! pic.twitter.com/Kqev2gFpcQ— Dexter Southfield Football (@DXSF_FB) February 1, 2023
Sam Hinman, St. Sebastian’s (Tufts)
Cooper Wright, St. Sebastian’s (Colgate)
Peter Kramer, Thayer/Bridgewater (Bentley)
AJ Lysko, St. Sebastian’s (Tufts)
Will Tryder, St. Sebastian’s (Trinity)
Dani Atherton, Milford (Barry University, Fla.)