Nearly 100 of the Greater Middlesex Conference’s top football players were honored during MyCentralJersey.com’s second annual Pigskin Preview and Media Day on Monday night.
The event, held at Metuchen High School, featured former Penn State University team captain and 1994 Citrus Bowl Defensive MVP Lee Rubin, a three-year starter at defensive back under the legendary Joe Paterno.
Now a renowned public speaker and author who travels across the country speaking to college and high school football programs, among others, Rubin delivered an inspirational keynote address with which the players identified.
“I had more opportunities because of my academic success than my athletic success,” said Rubin, a former scholar-athlete and All-State player at Manalapan High School who stressed to the honorees that success in the classroom was paramount.
“What am I saying? Handle your business in the classroom and more doors will open for you.
“Your experience as a student-athlete is going to benefit you for the rest of your lives. The fact that you are on a team, the fact that you are being coached, the fact that you have to manage your time, the fact that you have to make sacrifices for your teammates – those things the world sees as intangibles are skills that you learn playing this game.”
Rubin impressed upon the honorees three key messages: be responsible, be your best and be consistent.
“Stop trusting in your talent,” Rubin said. “Stop trying to be spectacular here and there. Rather, be consistent.”
Four players from each of the league’s 24 teams were selected to take part in the free event, which included the taping before a live audience of MyCentralJersey.com’s GMC football preview videos.
Those videos, filmed in 24 two-minute segments, will be available for online viewing when MyCentralJersey.com unveils its exhaustive 2015 GMC gridiron preview package on Sept. 10.
All of the players were invited in groups of four to participate in the taping of their respective team video previews. One representative from each school fielded questions from a member of our media panel.
The Pines Manor in Edison, one of the event’s many sponsors, catered a meal for the players and their invited guests.
In addition to receiving a free copy of Rubin’s book (WIN: Simple Insights to Help Student-Athletes Win the Game of Life), which donations from Dick’s Sporting Goods and Riddell helped subsidize, each player also received a commemorative GMC Top 100 T-shirt courtesy of event sponsor Sports Paradise, and two weeks of free complimentary access to MyCentralJersey.com.
Media representatives who attended the event included MyCentralJersey.com football analyst Marcus Borden, Home News Tribune sports writer Greg Tufaro, Courier News sports writer Harry Frezza, MSG Varsity sports writer Mike Kinney, play-by-play announcer Korbid Thompson of the King James Radio Network, MyCentralJersey.com Snapple Bowl videographer Joe DaRold and former Rutgers University Senior Associate Athletics Director John Wooding.
Ron Mazzola, public address announcer for the Old Bridge and Spotswood football programs, served as Master of Ceremonies for the event. Miller’s Rentals of Edison provided decorations.