08/30/13 6:59pm
08/30/2013 6:59 PM

Miguel Maysonet was waived by the Cleveland Browns Friday. The former Riverhead and Stony Brook running back saw time in each preseason game for the Browns. Photos by: Barbarellen Koch (left), Robert O’Rourk, AP/David Richard)

Miguel Maysonet was waived by the Cleveland Browns Friday on the eve of the final deadline for NFL teams to trim their rosters from 75 players to 53.

The former star running back from Riverhead was fighting for the final running back position on the Browns, who lost two established players at the position to serious injuries.

Maysonet suited up in all four preseason games for the Browns and saw limited action, mostly toward the end of each game. In Thursday’s final preseason game against the Detroit Lions, he caught 1 pass for 1 yard and did not have a carry.

Jamaine Cook, who like Maysonet was an undrafted rookie, signed with the Browns after they lost running backs Montario Hardesty and Dion Lewis to injuries. Cook carried the ball 12 times in Thursday’s game and rushed for 28 yards while veteran Brandon Jackson got the start.

Jackson will begin the year backing up former Heisman finalist Trent Richardson. The Browns also have Chris Ogbonnaya, who plays fullback and running back.

Maysonet will be placed on the waivers until noon Sunday. If he’s not claimed, he can sign as a free agent with another team. At that time, teams can also begin signing players to their practice squad, which Maysonet would be eligible as a rookie.

Maysonet originally signed with the Philadelphia Eagles shortly after the NFL Draft ended in April. He was cut in May and claimed off waivers by Cleveland.

joew@timesreview.com

Correction: An earlier version stated Trent Richardson won the Heisman Trophy. Richardson was a finalist and finished third in the voting in 2011.

08/08/13 11:04pm
08/08/2013 11:04 PM

AP/SCOTT BOEHM PHOTO | Miguel Maysonet played in his first NFL game Thursday night as the Cleveland Browns won a preseason game against the St. Louis Rams.

Update: Miguel Maysonet carried the ball nine times for 25 yards Thursday night in his first NFL game as the Cleveland Browns won 27-19 against the St. Louis Rams to open the preseason.

Maysonet was the last running back to get into the game for Cleveland and most of his work came in the fourth quarter. He also had two catches for 13 yards.

He finished the game with the second most carries for the Browns behind Brandon Jackson, who carried 11 times for 32 yards. Starter Dion Lewis rushed for 12 yards on five carries.

Late in the third quarter Maysonet caught a 10-yard pass from quarterback Brian Hoyer. His longest run was for eight yards on a first-and-10 late in the fourth quarter.

The Browns were without two running backs, including their top back Trent Richardson, who was sat with a minor injury.

Original StoryMiguel Maysonet will make his unofficial NFL debut tonight when the Cleveland Browns face the St. Louis Rams at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland.

The former Riverhead and Stony Brook University running back is facing an uphill battle in trying to make the active roster for the start of the regular season. The Browns feature six running backs in training camp, highlighted by former Heisman winner Trent Richardson.

The good news for Maysonet is Richardson and running back Montario Hardesty are both sidelined for tonight’s game with injuries. That could open the door for Maysonet to receive more playing time.

Dion Lewis, a third-year tailback out of Pittsburgh, and Chris Ogbonnaya, a fourth-year player out of Texas, are expected to get the first crack running the ball, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The Browns also feature Brandon Jackson, who’s in his sixth year out of Nebraska.

Cleveland’s starters are only expected to play the first quarter, which is typical in the first preseason game.

The game is scheduled for 8 p.m. and can be viewed online via NFL.com. The online feature, which grants access to live coverage of 65 preseason games, costs $19.99.

Maysonet was picked up off waivers by Cleveland after being cut by the Philadelphia Eagles, the team he signed with immediately after going undrafted in April.

joew@timesreview.com

07/17/13 7:00pm
07/17/2013 7:00 PM
ROBERT O'ROURK FILE PHOTO | Miguel Maysonet of Riverhead was named Stony Brook University's Co-Male Athlete of the Year on Wednesday night.

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Miguel Maysonet of Riverhead was named Stony Brook University’s Co-Male Athlete of the Year in May. Wednesday, he was announced as the Big South Conference Male Athlete of the Year.

As Miguel Maysonet prepares to fight for a spot with the Cleveland Browns in the NFL, he can add one more accolade to his already impressive resume: Big South Conference’s Howard Bagwell Male Athlete of the Year.

Maysonet, a star running back at Stony Brook University, became the first football player to win the award, which was announced Wednesday. Maysonet earned 79 points and eight first-place votes to edge out Coastal Carolina soccer All-American Ashton Bennett.

Maysonet, the 2008 Hansen Award winner from Riverhead, went undrafted in the April NFL draft, but quickly signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. His time in Philadelphia was short-lived, but after the Eagles dropped him, the Browns scooped him up off waivers May 21.

The Browns’ training camp starts next week.

Maysonet was a finalist for the Walter Payton Award as the top player in the Football Championship Subdivision.

05/21/13 7:03pm
05/21/2013 7:03 PM
ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Stony Brook running back Miguel Maysonet, a Riverhead High graduate, rushed for 220 yards against Army this season.

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Stony Brook running back Miguel Maysonet, a Riverhead High graduate, rushed for 220 yards against Army this season.

The Cleveland Browns claimed Riverhead’s Miguel Maysonet off waivers this afternoon, the team announced.

Maysonet was cut by the Philadelphia Eagles Monday morning, a move that put him through the NFL’s waiver process. The Browns opted to pick him up and waived another player, Jamaine Cook, to create a spot.

Maysonet boarded a plane for Cleveland after being informed of the pickup. He tweeted that he arrived in Cleveland just after 10 p.m. Tuesday night.

Maysonet is the sixth running back on the Cleveland roster, highlighted by former Alabama star Trent Richardson, who rushed for 11 touchdowns last season.

After a stellar career at Stony Brook University, Maysonet had high hopes of being drafted into the NFL. But the disappointment of going undrafted quickly faded when he signed with the Eagles shortly after the draft ended, and inking a $10,000 signing bonus along the way, a higher figure than most undrafted rookies receive.

Maysonet spent three days from May 10-12 at the Eagles’ rookie minicamp before returning to Stony Brook. NCAA rules prohibited him from continuing with the team’s Organized Team Activities (OTAs) that followed until Stony Brook held its graduation.

The Eagles picked up former Dallas Cowboys running back Felix Jones last week, a move that added depth to their running back spot behind LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown, who rushed for 564 yards last year.

The Browns feature four-year veteran Montario Hardesty at running back. He rushed for 271 yards and a touchdown last year. Dion Lewis, a third-year player from Pittsburgh and fourth-year player Chris Ogbonnaya would be next on the depth chart. They also featured sixth-year player Brandon Jackson from Nebraska. Jackson started 13 games in 2010 for Green Bay, rushing for 703 yards.

joew@timesreview.com

05/20/13 9:57am
05/20/2013 9:57 AM

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Stony Brook running back Miguel Maysonet, a Riverhead High graduate, rushed for 220 yards against Army this season.

Miguel Maysonet’s run with the Philadelphia Eagles is over.

The Riverhead native was released by the team Monday morning, according to the Eagles’ website. CSNPhilly.com had previously reported his imminent release.

Maysonet’s days in Philadelphia appeared numbered after the Eagles signed former Dallas Cowboys running back Felix Jones last week. That move all but ended the local man’s chances of securing the third spot on the depth chart in new head coach Chip Kelly’s lightning fast spread offense.

Under NFL rules, Maysonet will retain the $10,000 signing bonus the club gave him after he signed immediately following the NFL Draft. While he had been projected as a late round pick, no team selected him during the three-day event.

There could still be more teams interested in the Riverhead product. Maysonet and his agent received several phone calls during the draft from other teams interested in signing him, he said that day. The Buffalo Bills, San Diego Chargers, New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins all called, he said.

Maysonet capped off his college career at Stony Brook University with a jaw-dropping 2012 senior season that landed him the Big South Conference Offensive Player of the Year award for the second straight season.

Maysonet was one of three finalists for the Walter Payton Award as the top player in the Football Championship Subdivision. He ended up second in the voting, which was announced during a ceremony Dec. 17 in Philadelphia.

Maysonet was named to a bevy of All-American teams following the season, including the Associated Press first team.

At 5-foot-10, 210-pounds, Maysonet rushed for 1,964 yards this season, tops in the FCS. He scored 23 touchdowns to join former Stony Brook running back Brock Jackolski as the only players in Big South history with a 20-touchdown season.

His rushing total was the 11th most yards in a season in FCS history.

He helped lead Stony Brook to a 10-3 season that ended in the second round of the FCS playoffs against Montana State. Maysonet scored two touchdowns in the Seawolves’ playoff victory over Villanova.

gparpan@timesreview.com

 

05/15/13 11:02pm
05/15/2013 11:02 PM
ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Miguel Maysonet of Riverhead was named Stony Brook University's Co-Male Athlete of the Year on Wednesday night.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Miguel Maysonet of Riverhead was named Stony Brook University’s Co-Male Athlete of the Year on Wednesday night.

Miguel Maysonet of Riverhead, who played for Stony Brook University’s football team, was named the school’s Co-Male Athlete of the Year on Wednesday night along with Tommy Brenton of the men’s basketball team. The presentations were made at Stony Brook’s annual awards ceremony, The Wolfies, at the Student Activities Center on campus with more than 475 people in attendance.

Maysonet had one of the greatest seasons in Stony Brook, Big South and Football Championship Subdivision history when he rushed for 1,964 yards, the 11th most in FCS history, and 21 touchdowns. He rushed for over 200 yards three times last season, including his signature game — a 220-yard, two-touchdown performance in Stony Brook’s 23-3 win at Army, the program’s first ever victory against a member of the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Maysonet was the runner-up for the Walter Payton Award, given to the FCS Player of the Year, named a first-team All-American and was selected as the Big South Offensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. He graduated as the Big South’s all-time leader in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. He recently signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Eagles.

04/27/13 9:48pm
04/27/2013 9:48 PM

JOE WERKMEISTER PHOTO | Riverhead’s Miguel Maysonet receives a phone call on draft day. Maysonet was receiving calls Saturday from NFL teams interested in signing him as a free agent.

Sorry Giants fans, Riverhead’s Miguel Maysonet has signed with the rival Philadelphia Eagles.

Soon after being passed up in the 2013 NFL Draft, the 2009 Riverhead High School graduate received a phone call from the Eagles, offering him a chance to make the team as an undrafted free agent. Stony Brook University announced Saturday night that Maysonet has inked a deal.

Should he make the team, Maysonet will become the fourth Riverhead High School graduate to sign with an NFL team and the second to play for the Eagles. Ted Wegert, Class of 1951, played two seasons with Philadelphia in 1956 and 1957.

The Eagles, which did not select a running back in the draft, called him expressing interest earlier Saturday and even hinted they might use their final pick on him. The team ultimately selected Oklahoma defensive end David King in the final spot.

A quick glance of the Eagles roster shows Miguel Maysonet's No. 5 is available.

A quick glance of the Eagles’ roster shows Miguel Maysonet’s No. 5 is available.

Maysonet will now head to Philadelphia’s rookie camp looking to earn a backup spot behind All-Pro running back LeSean McCoy. Second year players Bryce Brown and Chris Polk are the only other halfbacks listed on the Eagles’ roster.

McCoy played in just 12 games and scored only five touchdowns in 2012 after his breakout 2011 season that saw him total 20 scores. Brown scored four touchdowns in 16 games for the Eagles last year, and Polk did not play after signing as an undrafted free agent following last year’s draft.

Maysonet and his agent received several phone calls Saturday from other teams interested in signing him, he said. The Buffalo Bills, San Diego Chargers, New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins all called Saturday, he said.

Maysonet hung up after one phone call from a team and jokingly said “I don’t even know what team that was,” after earlier telling the caller he’d “love to be there.” He later said he thinks the team was the New York Giants.

Just before the final pick was called, ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr., mentioned Maysonet as one of the best players still available.

“He has ability, he showed it against Army, he showed it against Syracuse,” he said.

About 70 friends and family members gathered along with media at the Hubbard family home in Riverhead to watch the draft Saturday. They applauded their friend as the final pick was called.

Maysonet, who helped lead the Blue Waves to an undefeated season his senior year of high school, capped off his college career at Stony Brook University with a jaw-dropping senior season that landed him the Big South Conference Offensive Player of the Year award for the second straight season.

[Related: As NFL draft unfolds, Maysonet takes it all in stride]

Maysonet was one of three finalists for the Walter Payton Award as the top player in the Football Championship Subdivision. He ended up second in the voting, which was announced during a ceremony Dec. 17 in Philadelphia.

Maysonet was named to a bevy of All-American teams following the season, including the Associated Press first team.

At 5-foot-10, 209-pounds, Maysonet rushed for 1,964 yards this season, tops in the FCS. He scored 23 touchdowns to join former Stony Brook running back Brock Jackolski as the only players in Big South history with a 20-touchdown season.

His rushing total was the 11th most yards in a season in FCS history.

He helped lead Stony Brook to a 10-3 season that ended in the second round of the FCS playoffs against Montana State. Maysonet scored two touchdowns in the Seawolves’ playoff victory over Villanova.

Ed Danowski (Class of 1930) and Scott Mersereau (Class of 1983) join Wegert as the only two Riverhead players to make an NFL team.

joew@timesreview.com

04/26/13 8:00am
04/26/2013 8:00 AM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | The NFL draft began Thursday night with the first round. Miguel Maysonet of Riverhead will be waiting to see if his name gets called, most likely Saturday during rounds four-seven.

In one month, Miguel Maysonet will return to LaValle Stadium, the field he made home with dizzying runs and acrobatic hurdles, surrounded by hundreds of classmates as his time at Stony Brook University draws to a close.

The cameras won’t be pointed squarely in his direction. There will be no scouts clocking his 40-yard dash, no ESPN analysts breaking down the event.

The day will be as much about everyone else as it is about its most famous current student, the man from Riverhead who put Stony Brook football on the map.

By the time Maysonet’s name rings out over the field on May 24, he will in all likelihood be a member of a National Football League team, an accomplishment never before achieved by a Stony Brook player.

Earning a chance to play football at its highest level will undoubtedly be the culmination of years of hard work and dedication. But it’s with the same fervor Maysonet speaks about accomplishing another goal, one that won’t draw the same headlines, but will bring just as much satisfaction to the 23-year-old star running back.

“I know for a fact that the NFL doesn’t last forever,” Maysonet said in the week leading up to the draft. “When I get that degree from Stony Brook, that’s definitely going to last forever.”

As the three-day NFL draft unfolds this weekend at Radio City Music Hall, Maysonet is expected to land anywhere between the fifth and seventh rounds.

As his notoriety continues to grow, Maysonet takes it all in stride, still the same humble kid who wowed football fans with his spectacular runs as a Riverhead Blue Wave from 2005-08.

“At the end of the day, I’m not getting hung up on whether I’m drafted or anything like that,” Maysonet said. “If I get drafted, cool. If I don’t, cool. I didn’t want to focus everything on me being drafted.”

DANIEL DE MATO FILE PHOTO | Maysonet cheered on his former school in November when the Blue Waves won the county championship at Stony Brook.

To say Miguel Maysonet came from nothing would be somewhat unfair. Sure, he lacked many of the basic comforts most of us take for granted, like a shower. He grew up in a small apartment in Riverhead above a now boarded-up auto repair shop where he would fill a bucket with water to shower. “I make sure it’s not burning hot so I don’t get burned,” Maysonet told Newsday in 2008.

The humble beginnings have become as much a part of Maysonet’s identity as his touchdown runs.

For all that the Puerto Rican-born Maysonet lacked, he possessed an unwavering desire to succeed.

“I think that fuels the fire, knowing that you can’t look back and you always have to move forward,” said Andrew Smith, who was teammates with Maysonet at Riverhead and for one season at Hofstra University. “I’ve always seen that in him. He knows where he came from and he’s trying to better his life.”

It was the values instilled in him by his mother, Yolanda Santana, — a gift more valuable than any monetary item — that allowed Maysonet to stay on the path toward stardom. Temptation existed all around him to stray as a youngster. But Maysonet understood there were consequences for negative actions and he did his best to avoid them. And it wasn’t so much football that motivated him to do the right thing as it was his desire to place no unnecessary burden upon his mom, who raised him by herself.

“Growing up, seeing the hard work that my mom was doing working two jobs to make ends meet, I didn’t want to be that child that she also had to worry about,” Maysonet said. “I didn’t want to be the kid out getting in trouble.”

Riverhead football coach Leif Shay said it can be difficult for any kid to stay on the right path, let alone someone in Maysonet’s shoes.

“He’s never wandered far away from what his goals were,” Shay said. “You have to respect a kid that knows what he wants out of life.”

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Maysonet soars across the goal line to score a Stony Brook touchdown.

Anyone who watched Maysonet perform — and his games were very much a performance — can recount at least one play that left them with their jaw hanging.

For Shay, it was a game against North Babylon when Maysonet hurdled over the top of a defender.

“It was just an outstanding, athletic play where I was like, ‘Wow, this kid is really special, and might have the ability to go to the next level,’ ” Shay said.

Hurdling defenders became a staple of Maysonet’s running attack. His most famous hurdle came this past season against Syracuse on one of his team’s biggest stages. The 5-foot-9, 209-pound Maysonet took a handoff, cut up to the right and jumped over a diving defender. He bounced off another defender and charged up the right sideline for a 72-yard touchdown.

The play was later featured on ESPN’s Top 10 plays of the day.

For Smith, who plays defensive tackle for SUNY/Albany, his Maysonet moment came during a home game at Riverhead. On the play, the offensive line was overwhelmed by a blitz, leaving a sea of defenders swarming toward Maysonet.

“He made moves to the right, to the left,” Smith said. “He literally broke eight defenders and scored. I’m like, ‘Wow.’ It was amazing.”

Maysonet’s introduction to football came at a later age than most. When he was in eighth grade on the junior varsity team, Maysonet was playing offensive guard. After several kids became academically ineligible, the coaches moved Maysonet to tailback out of necessity.

“He took the ball and ran for a touchdown,” Shay said in an interview after Maysonet won the Hansen Award as the top player in the county in 2008.

As a Blue Wave, Maysonet ran for 5,971 yards, placing him second all-time in Suffolk County behind Jason Gwaltney of North Babylon. He scored 75 touchdowns, 33 of which came during the Blue Waves’ undefeated season in 2008 that culminated with a Long Island championship and Rutgers Trophy as the best team in Suffolk.

At Stony Brook, Maysonet capped off his career last fall with a sensational year in leading the Seawolves to their best season in program history. He finished the season with 1,964 yards and 21 touchdowns to earn Big South Conference Offensive Player of the Year honors.

He was one of three finalists for the Walter Payton Award as the top player in the Football Championship Subdivision and received multiple all-America honors.

RIVERHEAD SCHOOL DISTRICT FILE PHOTO | In February 2009, Maysonet and teammate Andrew Smith signed to play football at Hofstra University.

If not for a cruel twist of fate, Maysonet may never have ended up on the radar of nearly every NFL team (28 teams attended his Pro Day workout at Stony Brook last month).

As Maysonet’s high school career began to take off, he still had no idea of the possibilities that existed. He didn’t know how he could earn a scholarship or how college coaches would be traveling to see him, pulling him out of classes on a daily basis.

He ultimately settled on Hofstra and in February 2009, he and Smith joined together for a signing ceremony in the high school library, inking their futures together to play for the Pride.

Smith and Maysonet were friends since fourth grade. As seniors, Maysonet led the offense, Smith the defense.

“Everything he did looked natural,” Smith said. “His movement — he made it look easy. I was always impressed with how he would go through practices just because he would practice really, really hard.”

Their career together at Hofstra ended after one season when the school’s football program was unexpectedly dropped, leaving Maysonet and Smith without a home.

For Maysonet, the choice was simple. He would head to Stony Brook so he could stay close to home.

“I tell people all the time, the whole Hofstra dropping of the program hurt,” Maysonet said. “People loved Hofstra football so much. But I was able to land on my feet. My style, it worked out better for me at Stony Brook than it would have at Hofstra.”

Placed in an offensive system that favored the running game, Maysonet blossomed playing alongside another Long Island star, Brock Jackolski of William Floyd. The two quickly became a perfect complement of runners, Jackolski the speedster, Maysonet the grinder.

“Having Brock there was awesome,” Maysonet said. “Off the field he was able to let me know what I was going to get into my first year there. Like Brock, I didn’t get red-shirted. They just threw me into the fire.”

JOHN NEELY FILE PHOTO | Maysonet hurdles over a helpless defender while playing for the Blue Waves.

Around Riverhead these days, Maysonet remains very much a celebrity figure. Not a day has gone by in recent weeks when someone didn’t ask about the upcoming draft. Random people approach him regularly, just hoping for a quick chat and to say they’re behind him.

Maysonet’s always willing to oblige, flashing his patented smile and talking football with whomever is asking.

When his schedule allows it he attends Riverhead football games, sometimes surprising the players with a locker-room visit to offer a few words of advice.

When the Blue Waves advanced to the county championship game last fall, Maysonet got to watch his former team play at Stony Brook.

“To Miguel’s credit he always comes back and talks to the younger kids,” Shay said. “He tries to motivate them. I think that helps that he’s stuck with his hometown roots.”

It’s a humbling experience, Maysonet said, when people approach him to congratulate him on his success.

“I definitely appreciate them going out of their way just to say good job,” he said. “A lot of people are like ‘Riverhead is behind you all the way’. That’s definitely an awesome feeling to have people in my town standing behind me.”

After attending the NFL combine in February and then showcasing his athletic ability at his Pro Day in March, it’s come down to a waiting game for Maysonet.

On Saturday, when the final four rounds of the draft begin, Maysonet will be home in Riverhead, surrounded by some friends and family while he waits for his cellphone to ring.

And if it doesn’t, Maysonet will take it in stride.

Even if he goes undrafted, he should still receive an invitation to training camp from at least one team for a chance to prove himself.

“I’m pretty relaxed about the situation,” he said. “No anxiety, no nerves.”

The NFL may very well be in his future. But if it isn’t, that won’t be the end of Maysonet’s dreams.

He hopes to go back to school and continue his education toward becoming a teacher and coach.

“You never know with this whole NFL thing where my life may take me when it’s all said and done,” Maysonet said.

Another chapter remains to be written. One that begins this weekend.

joew@timesreview.com