NFL scouts know who Miguel Maysonet is … you should to get to know him, too.
The senior running back from Stony Brook in New York has made a name for himself as one of the top rushers in FCS football, while leading the Seawolves to a 9-1 record in 2012 and an opportunity to claim their second consecutive Big South Conference title. If Stony Brook wins its regular season finale at Liberty on Saturday, the Seawolves will not only secure the conference crown, but also an automatic berth in the NCAA football playoffs.
Maysonet has been an integral part in the Seawolves’ postseason quest, rushing for 1,652 yards in 10 games this season. The native of Riverhead, N.Y., ranks second in the nation with 165.1 yards rushing per game, and has scored 19 touchdowns on the year. He is the school’s and Big South’s career rushing leader.
Not bad for a kid who was forced to switch programs after his freshman year at Hofstra – a former FCS program that had a knack for producing NFL players such as Wayne Chrebet and Marques Colston. Out of high school, Maysonet had chosen Hofstra over Stony Brook because of that tradition.
“I saw that and thought it could be me one day,” Maysonet said.
But, the Pride decided to drop football due to fiscal reasons after the 2009 season, and Maysonet needed a new team. It didn’t take long for him to find one – or for them to find him.
“It happened so fast,” Maysonet said. “Stony Brook called me the day Hofstra dropped the program. The next day I decided to go to Stony Brook, and it’s worked out like a charm ever since. I’m happy I made the decision to come here.”
Maysonet, who was Hofstra’s leading rusher in 2009 with 422 yards on 78 carries, made an immediate impact for Stony Brook as a sophomore, earning All-Big South first-team honors. Last year, he rushed for 1,633 yards and 15 touchdowns in 13 games, and was voted the Big South Offensive Player of the Year.
This season, Maysonet has already surpassed last year’s mark with at least one game – and the possibility of more – remaining in his senior season.
The gaudy statistics, coupled with the Seawolves’ success, have made Maysonet one of the leading contenders for the Walter Payton Award, which goes to the most outstanding player in FCS. Stony Brook even set up a web site to promote Maysonet’s candidacy for the award – Maysonet4Payton.com.
“It’s exciting to be mentioned in the same sentence as this prestigious award,” Maysonet said. “But at the end of the day, the individual awards don’t mean anything … I’m just trying to bring more wins to Stony Brook and win a national championship. The individual awards are great, but I’d rather win a national championship.”
Stony Brook head coach Chuck Priore, in his seventh season at the helm of the Seawolves, knows well why Maysonet is turning heads on the field.
“He’s a football player that really plays the game at the correct speed,” Priore said. “He gets a lot of yards after the first hit. He understands body control and how to maneuver in very small corners. He’s got tremendous core strength and balance. He finishes his plays … he’s always the thumper … never getting thumped.
“If there’s a better player out there at our level, I’d like to see him.”
Stony Brook is in the midst of the program’s seventh season of scholarship football, and Priore sees the recognition of Maysonet as a program accomplishment.
“We’ve had great development over the course of my tenure,” Priore said. “We’ve worked our way into being a top program at the FCS level. We have a great balance of academic programs and athletic facilities and programs. To have Miguel mentioned for that award is certainly a great thing for him, but also a team award. It has taken a lot of parts to get here – whether is it our strength coaches or trainers or academic counselors – they’re all involved when something like this happens.”
And, it is not lost on Maysonet that his teammates have been a tremendous supporting cast, a group that includes several returning starters including four offensive linemen and quarterback Kyle Essington.
“Sometimes my teammates are more excited for me,” Maysonet said. “It’s a team sport and they have a part in it.”
“He gets his name in the paper a lot and has the opportunity to be at the forefront, but it has been a team effort,” Priore said.
Maysonet’s stellar play has also attracted the attention of several NFL scouts, and put him in the position of possibly being the school’s first NFL Draft pick.
“It’s humbling,” Maysonet said. “I’m a kid from a small school and to have all of these NFL scouts come here and take time to speak to me … that means a lot. That shows the history we’re building here at Stony Brook.”
Stony Brook is No. 8 in the latest national rankings and heads to Liberty on a seven-game winning streak. A Seawolves’ victory will give the program its fourth consecutive Big South championship. It will also be the school’s final Big South contest as it moves to the Colonial Athletic Association next year. Stony Brook earned its first win over a FBS opponent this season, defeating Army at West Point 23-3 and was competitive against Syracuse in a 28-17 loss to the Orange.
“Here at Stony Brook, we’re making a big jump,” Maysonet said. “We’re good and people are noticing us. That means a lot to us and our coaches, and that we’re making it happen. I’m excited to be a part of it.”
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