North Brunswick offensive lineman Paul Terrell, a senior who can play tackle or guard, comes from quality stock.
His father, Paul II, is an 18-year U.S. Army veteran, having served four tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“He’s just the nicest human being,” North Brunswick coach Mark Zielinski said of Paul Terrell II, who is assisting with the Raiders’ freshman program this season. “He’s been a great role model for the kids.”
Zielinski said the younger Terrell, who transferred to North Brunswick from Tennessee before the start of his sophomore year, is a reflection of his father.
“He’s like an old-fashioned guy,” Zielinski said. “He’s quiet and he just works. He’s had a great desire to better himself over the course of the past three years.
“He improved his physical skills significantly. He provides the steady leadership a team needs when they are in a rebuilding process like we are. It’s nice to have somebody like him up front who is really bringing the work ethic every day and kind of has the proverbial lunch pail with him.”
Terrell, who started every game at offensive tackle last year, will be asked to play on the defensive line, as well, this fall.
North Brunswick had an ignominious debut in the Red Division, finishing last with a 2-8 record including an impressive upset of J.P. Stevens and a nonconference victory over winless West Windsor-Plainsboro North.
With the graduation of quarterback Tim Parson and receiver/return specialist Nick Sidotti, who combined for 2,442 yards from scrimmage, the Raiders will be hard-pressed to move up in the division standings. But Zielinski likes his team’s attitude and dedication.
“We’ve had a little struggle in the cycle of talent and competition and we are working hard to move forward,” said Zielinski, whose Raiders, until last fall, hadn’t posted a losing record since 2006.
“We are ready to take a step forward as far as rebuilding the program to where we had our expectations just a short while ago.”
The Raiders finished with an 8-3 mark in 2010 behind one of the most prolific offenses in school history.
“This year we are a young team,” Zielinski said. “I’m real happy with the commitment we got form the players in the offseason. Our numbers are up. We expect guys to compete.”
North Brunswick has a quality competition going on between Kevin Poindexter and Rafieu Alharazim at quarterback, while Gabe Rosado may be the front-runner at tailback.
“If (Rosado) continues to win the position, he’s going to have a pretty heavy workload,” Zielinski said. “He’s got some special abilities. As a young guy he’ll have some growing pains and some things to learn. So far he’s been very coachable and willing to improve.”
Zielinski said both quarterbacks “have really stepped up their game” in the last month.