NFL GMs are scouring pro days for the next Alfred Morris — a product from an unheralded program that can breakout professionally.
Stony Brook running back Miguel Maysonet fits the bill. He enters next month’s NFL draft without a ton of fanfare, despite his Walter Payton Award finalist senior season that included 21 touchdowns, 1964 rushing yards at a nation’s best 7.36 per carry. Maysonet’s running powered the Seawolves to 35.4 points per game and their second consecutive NCAA Playoffs.
Yet while every draft class has a lower tiered FBS or FCS program diamond that sparkles in the rough, those who can shine must catch some attention. Maysonet is doing just that.
I’m told Stony Brook RB Maysonet had strong showing at pro day. Ran in high 4.4′s. Runs w/ quicks, pad-level and chip!. Value pick on Day 3
— Todd McShay (@McShay13) March 22, 2013
ESPN New York’s Rich Cimini is chronicling Maysonet’s road to April’s draft. The physical distance between Stony Brook and Radio City Music Hall is only about 55 miles, but the figurative span is much wider.
There are no Stony Brook alumni currently in the NFL. Maysonet is trying to blaze a trail between the suburban New York university and the pros. His path has hardly been direct.
Maysonet starred for Chuck Priore’s Seawolves teams, but only after arriving there when Hofstra shut down its football program. The Long Island-based program produced former New York Jets wide receiver Wayne Chrebet.
His freshman season at Hofstra, Maysonet was the Pride’s leading rusher at 385 yards. He now has the distinction of carrying for the most yards on the last team in program history. The university announced its decision to cease football operations in December of that year.
When he came to Stony Brook, the Seawolves were remembers of the Big South Conference. The league was small-time by FCS standards, with just seven programs and before 2010 lacking an automatic berth into the postseason. But in the three years since Miguel Maysonet first suited up in Stony Brook red-and-silver, the program gained enough notoriety to gain an invitation to the Colonial Athletic Association, perhaps the most respected conference in the subdivision.
The two straight playoff appearances are just part of an overall sports renaissance ongoing at Stony Brook. The men’s basketball team won the America East Conference regular season championship and gained automatic entry into the NIT. The baseball team reached the College World Series last June.
And Maysonet is likely the first of two straight Seawolves running back to be selected in the NFL draft. He leaves featured back duties to former Iowa Hawkeyes standout Marcus Coker, who transferred to Stony Brook last year.
Coker was among the top rushers in the Big Ten Conference in 2011, but his BCS pedigree wasn’t enough to move Maysonet aside. He was certainly a major part of the offense, rushing 210 times for over 1000 yards. But Coker was a complementary piece last season.
He will move into the primary role Maysonet vacated, surely to see his own production increase and regaining the attention of NFL scouts. Coker’s path will be a bit more beaten following Maysonet.
For professional teams, Miguel Maysonet can be a draft day steal. For Stony Brook, the running back can be the foundation on which a rich tradition is built.