Newark Academy’s Matt Ciccone signs to play baseball at Rutgers
While Matt Ciccone ’19 has been dreaming of the day he would sign his National Letter of Intent (NLI) even before he began his career at Newark Academy, when the moment finally came, Matt was happy to finish the process.
Matt signed his NLI to play Division I baseball at Rutgers today. Matt will compete with the Big Ten university starting in the 2019-20 baseball season.
“It’s obviously a proud moment for me and my family,” said Matt, who signed his NLI with his parents, two brothers, classmates and teachers looking on. “All the hard work these past three or four years ever since I was a freshman, was up to this moment. It’s kind of a relief to get it over and done with.”
Those who have watched Matt’s athletic career knew this day was a long-time coming. A two-time letter winner in football, Matt is set to take the diamond as a varsity player for the fourth time this spring. He’s already been named to All-Non-Public B Team once, the All-Prep B Team twice, and the SEC American Division Team three times. He helped the Minutemen win the State Preps and State Sectional Final in 2017.
"It’s no surprise that Matt would commit to play baseball at the Division I level. Even at a school like Newark Academy, where there are a lot of very focused kids, Matt has stood out for his single-minded focus and determination to excel as a baseball player,” Director of Athletics Ted Gilbreath said. "In my opinion, he is amongst the most mentally tough athletes to ever wear the red and black of Newark Academy. I have little doubt that he will be very successful at Rutgers and in the Big Ten Conference."
In part, because of the preparation he received at Newark Academy.
“This school has helped me establish a work ethic,” Matt said. “I’ve been playing baseball my whole life, so growing up my dad helped me with that part, but just having a good work ethic, and getting school work and other things done when I need to is going to help me in school.”
And Newark Academy will remain in his backyard.
“I’m proud [to play for my home state school],” Matt said with a smile. “My family can come to every game – they don’t have to fly out. I can come home on weekends. Just to represent the state of New Jersey – I’m excited for that.”