Drew Prieto’s knowledge of Army football was extensive entering the recruiting process.
Prieto followed the team growing up with his father, Mike, who has served in the Army for 31 years.
The Marist School (Ga.) long snapper Prieto started developing more of an appreciation for Army in his early conversations with special teams coach Sean Saturnio in February, with each chat and learning more about the academy through his own research.
“He (Saturnio) talks a lot about how important it is for him to have a strong bond with all of his players, and how he is much more than a football coach,” Prieto said. “Especially being far from home, this meant a lot to me.”
Prieto’s fondness of Army continued during his first visit to West Point at the Black Gold game Friday and through the weekend. So much that Prieto didn’t leave the academy without giving his verbal commitment after a Saturday brunch before the Army-Navy men’s lacrosse game.
“As soon as the day (Friday) was over, I knew it was home,” said Prieto, who is entering his third season as Marist’s long snapper. “I got to spend a lot of time talking to coaches and learning about what West Point can do for me after I graduate. After the brunch, I called my mom and asked her if she supported my decision to commit. I walked back into the building and told coach Monken that I wanted to commit to West Point.”
Prieto said the vibe around the program also played a role in his decision. He visited Notre Dame, Florida, Florida State and Tennessee during recruiting. Prieto has also committed to the 2023 All-American Bowl.
“It was very clear that the brotherhood is a real thing, and everyone genuinely cares about each other,” Prieto said. “I loved the coaching staff and the culture of toughness and hard work that they have created.”
Prieto started long snapping when his middle school team needed someone to fill the position. He picked it up quickly and began attending Rubio long snapping camps. Prieto comes from the same high school program as former Army standouts Mike Gann and Kenneth Brinson.
“I started to take it seriously in high school and have become really dedicated to it,” Prieto said.
2023 Army commits (5)
DE Sean Donovan, 6-2, 230, Hotchkiss School, Lakeville, Conn.: First offer – Army
DL Matt Gemma, 6-3, 280, Delbarton School, Morristown, N.J.: Other offers – Navy, Temple, Buffalo, Bowling Green, Kent State, Rice
DL Patrick Kendall, 6-5, 270, Cathedral HS, Indianapolis, Ind.: Other offers – Navy
LS Drew Prieto, 6-foot, 210, Marist School, Atlanta, Ga.
QB Will Smiley, 6-foot, 167, Bay HS, Panama City, Fla.