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

02/18/13 1:00pm
02/18/2013 1:00 PM
ROBERT O'ROURK FILE PHOTO  |  Miguel Maysonet will not the 40-yard dash at this week's NFL scouting combine.

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Miguel Maysonet will not run the 40-yard dash at this week’s NFL scouting combine.

During training for this week’s NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, Miguel Maysonet popped a hamstring, which will prevent him from running the 40-yard dash — a key measurement scouts use in ranking skill players like running backs, Newsday reported.

Maysonet, who is working out at the TEST Football Academy in New Jersey, placed his hamstring condition at 75 to 80 percent healed but said: “I’ll be able to do some stuff at the combine. I probably won’t be running the 40. I don’t want to go to the combine and run a really bad time and embarrass myself. I’d rather get it better, so I’ll probably just run at my pro day.”

Maysonet, who completed his senior season for Stony Brook University this fall, was one of 38 running backs invited to the combine. Aside from physical tests, the combined features meetings with the NFL Players Association, psychological testing and interviews with teams. The 40-yard dash was originally going to be on the fourth day of the combine. Other physical tests include vertical and broad jumps, three-cone drill and shuttle run.

Maysonet led the Blue Waves to an undefeated season in 2008.

Read the full Newsday story here.

02/07/13 11:16am
02/07/2013 11:16 AM
ROBERT O'ROURK FILE PHOTO  |  Miguel Maysonet

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Miguel Maysonet will participate in the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Stony Brook senior Miguel Maysonet of Riverhead has been invited to participate in the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, it was announced today.

Maysonet is one of only 38 running backs invited, and has been designated as RB23 based on alphabetical order.

Stony Brook’s all-time leading rusher will arrive in Indiana on Feb. 21 and go through registration, an examination, orientation and interviews.

On Day 2, Maysonet will be tested on his measurements, such as height and weight. Following more examinations, he will meet with the media and conduct interviews with potential teams.

Day 3 includes meetings with the NFL Players Association, psychological testing and more interviews with teams.

The final day may be the most important of the four. Maysonet will be tested in the 40-yard dash, vertical, broad jump, three-cone drill and shuttle run. Many players who have excelled in the on-field workouts have seen their draft stock rise.

The four-day combine in an intense, four-day job interview in advance of the NFL Draft, which will be held April 26 through 28.

Maysonet, a finalist for the Walter Payton Award, given to the outstanding player in FCS, rushed for 1,964 yards, the 11th most yards in a season in FCS history, and scored 23 total touchdowns in 2012.

The 5-foot-10, 210-pound back accounted for more than 100 rushing yards in a game six times and had three games with 200 or more yards in 2012. During a four-game span, he rushed for a career-high three times, capped by a 233-yard, two-touchdown performance at Coastal Carolina.

In Stony Brook’s two FBS games last season, Maysonet totaled 158 yards and a touchdown against Syracuse and 220 yards and two scores in a 23-3 win over Army. Maysonet increased his rushing totals in each of three seasons as a Seawolf, rushing for 1,128 yards as a sophomore to 1,633 as a junior to 1,964 as a senior.

When factoring in his freshman season at Hofstra, he finished his college career with 5,110 yards, good for 17th all-time in FCS history, and 51 touchdowns, despite averaging only 16 carries per game.

The 2011 and 2012 Big South Offensive Player of the Year recorded 21 games with 100 or more yards, had six games with three touchdowns and is the only player in school and conference history with two games of four scores.

Maysonet also owns school and conference records for career rushing yards (4,725), yards per game (127.7), touchdowns (53) and rushing attempts (695).

12/30/12 12:00pm
12/30/2012 12:00 PM

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

As Miguel Maysonet soaked in the Riverhead football team’s county championship victory over North Babylon at Stony Brook University in late November, he joked about how he heard he’s responsible for a decline in attendance at Riverhead games this season.

People kept telling him, Maysonet said, that everyone in Riverhead would travel to Stony Brook on Saturday afternoons to watch him play.

There was plenty of reasons to make the trip west, as Maysonet put on a weekly show as running back for the Seawolves. A 2009 Riverhead graduate who helped lead the Blue Waves to an undefeated season his senior year, Maysonet capped off his college career with a jaw-dropping 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.

READ MORE ABOUT MIGUEL MAYSONET

12/17/12 9:44pm
12/17/2012 9:44 PM

SBU ATHLETICS | Stony Brook University started a Maysonet 4 Payton website to promote Miguel Maysonet in his quest to win the Walter Payton Award as the top football player in the FCS.

Following a historic season as running back for Stony Brook University, Miguel Maysonet finished just short in the voting for the Walter Payton Award as the top college football player in the Football Championship Subdivision.

Old Dominion quarterback Taylor Heinicke was honored with the prestigious award at a ceremony in Philadelphia Monday night. Maysonet joined fellow finalist Eric Breitenstein of Wofford for the ceremony as the 26th annual award was presented. Maysonet finished second in the voting and received 13 first-place votes, according to Stony Brook’s athletic department.

Heinicke was the ninth straight quarterback to win the award. He threw for 5,076 yards this season and accounted for 55 touchdowns (44 passing, 11 rushing).

The back page of the News-Review after Maysonet won the Hansen Award as a high school senior in 2008.

Maysonet, a 5-foot-10, 210-pound senior, rushed for 1,964 yards — tops in the Football Championship Subdivision. 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 rushed for 100-plus yards in six games and 200-plus three times.

Maysonet tallied a bevy of postseason awards. He was the Big South Offensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. He also won the team’s Ernest Owusu Offensive MVP award.

He was selected to the Associated Press, Sports Network and American Football Coaches Association All-America teams.

Stony Brook launched a website to help promote Maysonet’s accolades this season, http://maysonet4payton.com.

Maysonet helped lead the Seawolves to a 10-3 season that ended in the second round of the FCS playoffs against Montana State. The Seawolves won their playoff opener at home against Villanova in a game Maysonet scored two touchdowns.

Maysonet graduated from Riverhead in 2009 after a senior season in which he ran for 2,328 yards while scoring 33 touchdowns.

joew@timesreview.com

12/02/12 9:22am
12/02/2012 9:22 AM

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Miguel Maysonet in his final home game last week.

Several hours after the Suffolk County Champion Riverhead football team saw its season end Saturday, the young man who led the team to its previous title four years ago, played in the final game of his college career.

Miguel Maysonet and the Stony Brook University football team fell 16-10 at Montana State Saturday night in the quarterfinals of the college football championship subdivision playoffs. It was the second straight year in which the Seawolves (10-3) lost in the second round of the postseason.

Maysonet, who was named this past week as a finalist for the Walter Payton Award, given to the top player in the FCS, finishes his college career with 5,248 all-purpose yards and 53 touchdowns. He is the all-time leading rusher in Stony Brook and Big South history.

A three-year player at Stony Brook after transferring from Hofstra, Maysonet rushed for 1,970 yards and 21 touchdowns in his senior season.

He’ll now prepare for the NFL Draft and he’s already moved up the charts as a prospect, where several scouting websites rank him as a top 20 running back. A total of 22 running backs were taken in the 2012 draft.

“Maysonet has more power than his size would indicate, and his instincts are improving,” ESPN’s Todd McShay recently wrote. “After rushing for 220 yards and two TDs in Stony Brook’s 23-3 win over Army on Oct. 1, his stock is rising.”

Army head coach Rich Ellerson said after that game that Maysonet was as “good a back as the team would face all season.”

Scouts from 28 of 32 NFL teams visited Stony Brook this season to watch Maysonet play, according to a recent Newsday article. The NFL draft will be held next April. The Walter Payton Award announcement is scheduled for Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas.

11/26/12 4:01pm
11/26/2012 4:01 PM

DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Former Riverhead star Miguel Maysonet enjoyed watching his high school team win the Division II county championship Sunday night. A day earlier, Maysonet led Stony Brook to a playoff win over Villanova.

Miguel Maysonet stood on the field he’s made famous late Sunday night, only this time as a spectator.

On Saturday afternoon Maysonet led the Stony Brook University Seawolves to a 20-10 victory over Villanova in the first round of the Football Championship playoffs at LaValle Stadium. Maysonet, a 2009 Riverhead graduate, rushed for a pair of touchdowns and 160 yards in his first game since being named Big South Offensive Player of the Year.

Wearing a Stony Brook sweatshirt and a New York Yankees cap, Maysonet watched his alma mater play for the Division II county championship Sunday night against North Babylon on the same field he tore up just over 24 hours earlier.

“I’m excited for my team to be here in this position again,” Maysonet said after the Blue Waves put the finishing touches on a 52-20 victory. “Last time they were here was when I was in high school. I’m excited for them to be out here and compete for a Long Island championship.”

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Miguel Maysonet scored two touchdowns Saturday against Villanova at LaValle Stadium.

It was Maysonet’s senior season in the fall of 2008 when the Blue Waves last won a county title. In a historic season in which the Blue Waves went undefeated to earn the Rutgers Trophy as the top team in the county, Maysonet was the star of the offense with 33 touchdowns.

For as vaunted as that team was offensively, it never reached the 50-point mark like the Blue Waves did Sunday.

“They looked great,” Maysonet said of the offense. “Bitzer and the receiver Quinn Funn, they’re a great combination. With their running game, it’s superb as always. I’m excited to see them hit on every single cylinder.”

It was the second Riverhead game this season Maysonet got a chance to watch in person. He was also at the Blue Waves’ semifinal victory over West Babylon.

Most of the time, though, Maysonet has been busy on Saturdays leading the Stony Brook offense.

Maysonet said he’s felt plenty of support from his hometown throughout the season.

“They made a few jokes about it before that they get no fans at the Riverhead games because they’re always here watching me play,” Maysonet said. “Every time I look in the stands I always see some blue sprinkled around. And after the game I always see Riverhead fans here coming to support me, which is a humbling feeling for them to still come out here and support me and watch me play.”

Maysonet will lead Stony Brook (10-2) on the road against No. 2 Montana State Saturday in the second round of the playoffs. It’s the second straight season Stony Brook has advanced this far. The Seawolves game will be broadcast on ESPN3 at 7 p.m.

joew@timesreview.com