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HUNTINGTON — When linebacker Brian Cavicante decided to leave Delaware State as a graduate transfer, he did not know the impact his decision would have.

At the time, Cavicante only wanted to complete a dream he’d had since high school — play FBS football.

In hindsight, however, Cavicante’s decision to leave the Hornets — who play in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference — not only enhanced his collegiate career; it may have saved the final season of it.

That reality came to light last week as the MEAC announced it was suspending fall sports, including football, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead of his final season being scrapped last week, Cavicante is in the midst of the second phase of mandatory summer access, along with his Marshall teammates, who are tentatively just 11 days away from starting preseason practice.

While the 2020 season of college football is still in limbo, for Cavicante, there is hope of a season of FBS football.

That’s all he ever wanted.

As the 2020 calendar year started, Cavicante’s dream came to fruition. On New Year’s Day, he announced his commitment to Marshall.

“New Year, New Beginnings,” Cavicante’s wrote on Twitter. “Blessed and thankful for this Opportunity. 2020 is personal. I’ve got unfinished business!”

It was the beginning of a dream coming to reality for the 6-foot, 220-pound linebacker from Norcum High School in Portsmouth, Virginia.

That reality is still in a bit of a holding pattern as to his first on-field taste of life as an FBS player.

The COVID-19 pandemic wrecked college sports on March 11, forcing the cancellation of spring football practice just days before it was scheduled to begin.

At Marshall, Cavicante is looking to join another talented veteran from the 757 area code — Virginia’s Tidewater area — in Tavante Beckett, who played at Indian River High School in nearby Chesapeake, Virginia.

In Beckett’s first year in Conference USA, he led the league with 121 tackles and was an All-Conference USA first-team selection.

Cavicante’s goals are to see similar success with the Herd.

If Cavicante performs anywhere near his levels from 2018 season at Delaware State, the Herd could have the league’s top 1-2 punch at linebacker for the second straight season.

Cavicante finished second in the MEAC in total tackles that year with 89 and was also second in tackles for loss with 17.

Those numbers forged him as the 2019 MEAC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year before injuries sidelined those quests.

It was a far cry from his beginnings when Cavicante had no Division I offers out of high school.

Instead of settling for Division II football, Cavicante went to Milford Prep in New York, where his numbers stood out: 80 tackles, 10 sacks, three interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

For Cavicante, the journey through football has been a process.

At each level, he’s been doubted. And, at each level, he’s risen to the challenge.

Just as he did out of high school, Cavicante is betting on himself to succeed at the FBS level.

As it stands now, the gamble to leave Delaware State for Marshall is looking like it has paid off — if for no other reason, continued hope of a senior season.

Whether that chance comes or not is contingent on COVID-19 numbers, which are out of his control.

But if it does become reality, Cavicante is eager to cash in on the opportunity.