LYNN — Classical senior receiver Nashaun Butler has always prided himself in defying the odds.
At 5-foot-6, 160-pounds, most would say Butler is undersized on the football field. But that hasn’t stopped him from catching 152 passes for 2,144 yards and 25 touchdowns over his two seasons on the varsity team.
Now, Butler hopes to carry the success he built during his high school career to the college level. Butler has committed to join the football team at Division III Framingham State University.
“There’s a great atmosphere at Framingham State,” Butler said. “I’ve been there three times. How the coaches speak with me, how I speak with the coaches. It’s where I need to be. They take brotherhood and football very seriously. I had that at Classical and I want to continue that at the next level.”
Butler, who plans to major in financing, will join a college Rams team that competes in the MASCAC Conference. Framingham State went 8-3 last season, won the MASCAC title and reached the first round of the Division III NCAA Tournament, where the Rams’ season ended with a 40-27 loss to Brockport State.
Other locals on the team include Lynn’s Rufus Rushins, a Bishop Fenwick graduate, and Peabody’s Cam Powers.
“I went down for a practice and it was surprising,” Butler said. “They’re very together. There’s a lot of competition. They have a lot of fun. It opened my eyes a lot. It’s a lot different than high school. Everybody takes it seriously. In high school there’s only a couple kids that want to do this. They all want to win. They all want to get better and I like that.”
A two-time Item all-star, Butler said he’ll miss suiting up in green and gold for Classical. He played a key role in helping the Rams go from the bottom of the Northeastern Conference to a competitive program over the past two years. The Rams missed the postseason in 2018 but finished the year at 7-4 with wins in five of their last six games.
“There’s nothing like Friday night lights,” Butler said. “Hopefully college football is more fun. Sometimes you have to move on in life. I grew up with my teammates. I played Pop Warner with some of them. But you have to move on and meet new people.”
Classical coach Brian Vaughan feels Butler will excel at Framingham State.
“Nashaun’s a very hard working individual who will be successful at the next level,” Vaughan said.
Classical’s senior class features three players who’ve made their college commitments. Chase Buono, a safety/linebacker, will join Butler at Framingham State. Quarterback Keith Ridley announced his commitment to Boston College earlier this month.
“I’m happy for them,” Butler said. “I grew up with Chase and his family. Keith’s been a great friend of mine. I’m glad that he got that offer at BC. Hopefully he goes down there and gets some playing time as soon as possible. Chase is going to Framingham with me and that should be fun. I’m very happy for the both of them, continuing their football careers.”
Butler said his next step is gearing up for the elevated level of play on the college gridiron.
“The grind never stops no matter what,” Butler said. “Growing up I was always told by my father that the grind never stops. I’ve always been undersized. I’ve always pushed myself. If that’s what I have to do to continue playing at the next level, that’s what I’ll do. I love football and I’ve always loved football. I want to continue playing for as long as I can.”