Duquesne football transfers hope to make impact

Courtesy of Villanova Athletics | Tight end Todd Summers, a Villanova transfer, figures to provide Duquesne's passing attack with a steady option in the middle of the field.

Brentaro Yamane | Staff Writer

Sept. 10, 2020

Duquesne’s football team has received nothing but spectacular news as of late, recently garnering three commitments from high-profile transfer players.

Todd Summers, Rahmon Hart Jr. and Nathan Proctor Jr. each transferred to Duquesne in the past month as they look toward embarking on the next chapter of their respective careers.

Summers, a graduate student, announced his commitment to DU on Aug. 17. A 6-foot-5 tight end, Summers spent the previous four seasons at Villanova, where he redshirted his freshman year, then recorded 48 receptions for 571 yards and nine touchdowns in 33 games over the course of the past three seasons.

His statistics have steadily improved since he entered college, and he is excited to continue his development on the Bluff.

“During my time at Villanova, I started my career as a very skinny player, but I was able to gain 30 pounds of muscle and was able to have a good meal plan. My improvement in footwork, reading coverages, perfecting my route running and learning my fundamentals better is what I got better at Villanova that I can attribute to Duquesne,” said Summers, a 2016 Franklin Regional graduate.

At Franklin Regional, he was courted by numerous programs, including Villanova, Kansas State, Iowa State, Robert Morris and Duquesne.

Give current Duquesne football coaches Scott Farison and Matt Stansfield a lot of credit for recruiting Summers. When Farison was a linebacker’s coach at Robert Morris, he kept close tabs on Summers, who was being recruited by schools as both a tight end and a defensive end.

Little did Farison know that even though Summers would attend Villanova out of high school, he would eventually be Summers’ coach five years later at Duquesne.

Summers said he’s also had a good relationship with his new coach, Jerry Schmitt, since he started living on campus two weeks ago.

“He [Schmitt] has been a great coach, and even a better guy. I am excited to play on his team and I want to win an NEC championship with him,” Summers said.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in economics in the spring at Villanova, Summers wanted to pursue a master’s degree in business administration, with Duquesne ultimately being his preferred destination. Now back on campus, Summers said he enjoys being back in his hometown and is making new relationships with his new teammates, all while making new memories during a weird time in the world.

“Being back in the city of Pittsburgh is awesome. Growing up here is really nice and being back is even better. Knowing people that also attend Duquesne is really nice to me as well,” Summers said.

“Even with COVID-19 regulations and precautions, practice has been different only with 10 other players at a time, but it is still fun,” he continued. “Learning a new playbook and watching new film is what I will have to get used to as I am also enjoying working out and creating new relationships with my other teammates.”

Hart, a 6-foot-3 wide receiver, decided to transfer from Ball State to Duquesne on Aug. 27. The Pittsburgh native played one game at Ball State last year as a freshman before deciding to transfer in the spring.

The Imani Christian Academy product said, while it was two largely similar processes, his recruitment was simpler the second time around.

“Transferring from one college to another at the same level is not much of an adjustment, and you know what to expect,” Hart said.

When Schmitt first spoke to Hart, topics such as Duquesne’s mission as a football team and campus life were discussed, those talks eventually helping Hart to make his decision to commit to the school. Hart, who’s currently living on campus, had ties with Duquesne before arriving on campus.

“I’m really familiar with Duquesne because my dad used to work there and I’m from around the area,” Hart said. “Right now, they have me in quarantine. The biggest adjustment is that I don’t know many people on campus and it’s hard to get to know people because of the virus. There are not many activities to do outside of football.”

Ball State competes in the Mid-American Conference, and following the MAC’s announcement that its fall sports season was being canceled, Hart decided to transfer.

Even though Duquesne will not compete during the fall semester, it is still possible that the team can compete in the spring. Knowing there’s still a possibility of football this season is what’s going to keep Hart working, he said.

“I think the main thing is to keep working and stay ready. Other schools are still playing during the pandemic. Hopefully, they find out a plan in terms of the season,” Hart said.

Duquesne being one of the first schools to reach out to Hart helped to make him feel comfortable, and especially confident that the program wanted him. Other factors helped him make his decision as well.

“I like the culture at Duquesne. They were one of the first schools to reach out to me. Being close to home, and the good academic reputation is what helped me make my decision,” Hart said.

With everything Hart learned at Ball State, he hopes he can take some of the fundamentals that he learned at Ball State and transfer them to Duquesne to make him an even better player.

“It was a learning experience [at Ball State] seeing how people work hard at practice and seeing how they practiced transformed into the game, and the other players working on their craft. Hopefully, I can reach my potential at Duquesne and help my team out,” he said.

The other athlete to make their decision to transfer to Duquesne is defensive lineman Nathan Proctor Jr.

Proctor played at Virginia Tech from 2017-18 before transferring to Iowa Central Community College in 2019. In the 2018 season, Proctor recorded three tackles in eight games as a Hokie.

Besides Duquesne, he also received offers from Morgan State, North Alabama, and Southern Illinois while he was at Iowa Central Community College. In the 10 games that he played at the community college in 2019, he recorded five sacks and had 46 tackles.

Overall, Duquesne has three transfer students coming in who have already played at the Division I level who possess the capability of helping the Dukes win an NEC championship. Hopefully, it can be sooner rather than later when students on the Bluff can watch football games again and see how Summers, Hart and Proctor do in their first years at Duquesne.