CANTON, N.Y. — To get an idea of the versatility of St. Lawrence sophomore football player Mitch Gallagher, just look at where he has played the past three seasons.
This season Gallagher has been a tight end, and leads the Saints in receptions.
Last year, as a freshman, Gallagher was SLU’s starting fullback.
Two years ago, in his final year of high school, Gallagher was the starter at quarterback and linebacker.
“We wanted to be able to use his skill set to the best we could,” Saints coach Mark Raymond said. “Having [Mike Lefflbine] at quarterback, we figured we’d be wasting [Gallagher] there. We wanted to get him on the field as soon as we could, because we knew he could help us as early as possible. We tried to figure out what his skill set was, and what he was really good at and how he could help us. From Week 1 last year he’s been a huge part of our offense.”
Gallagher, who is 6-foot-2, 224 pounds, has already emerged as a leader on the team, even though he’s not even halfway through his second of four seasons.
“He’s smart, he’s tough and he has a lot of physical tools, and is selfless,” Raymond said. “You put those things together and there is a guy who is going to help your football team.”
In the first four games this season, Gallagher has caught 22 passes for 292 yards, including two touchdowns. He leads the team in receptions by six and is averaging 73 yards a game.
“I was all for [any position] as long as I got to go out there and participate and help the team out the best way I could,” Gallagher said. “That was what I was up for. I wasn’t coming in looking forward to playing quarterback or linebacker, I was just looking for a spot to make the team better.
“I like catching passes. Blocking is a big part of the game, too, and I always took pride in that part of the game. It’s a very important part of the game, and I had fun last year.”
This year, as a tight end, Gallagher is able to apply some of the knowledge he gained as a high school quarterback in his new role.
“The biggest thing is timing, and knowing the importance of timing,” Gallagher said. “If you don’t run the right route, at the right time, the quarterback will be all screwed up. I know how tough the quarterback position is. It really has helped out playing quarterback before.”
Said Raymond, “At all levels of football there are former quarterbacks playing tight end, playing receiver. The learning curve is a lot smaller for him, because he did have a quarterback background.”
“He’s a guy that defensive coaches are going to have a plan for. They will look at the tape and decide they have to find a way to stop this guy.”
Aside from his size and versatility, another thing that drew Raymond’s interest while recruiting was Gallagher’s participation on winning teams.
“We want to have guys who are used to winning and love to win and he’s that kind of guy, Raymond said. “He’s a championship-caliber football player.”