Eric LeGrand: Hometown Hero
Eric LeGrand is a Junior defensive tackle for the Rutgers University football team. On the team since 2008, Eric has enjoyed successes on and off the football field. Labeled “one of the most popular players”, Eric has grown into somewhat of a fan favorite inside the Rutgers community. So naturally, when Eric lay motionless on the field for almost seven minutes in the game against Army on October 16th, the entire community stopped and put their hearts with the young athlete.
An Avenel native, and Colonia High School alumni, Eric grew to become of the most known football players in the county. His 6 foot 2 inch, 200-pound frame was hard to miss among other high school athletes. When words of Eric’s success were passed, many people were jumping for joy, but not Eric, who stayed humble and maintained a work ethic that never changed. His high school career was full of successes, which included a scholarship to Rutgers, and visit during a school day by then head coach of Notre Dame Charlie Weis, and rankings nationally as the 14th best recruit out of New Jersey in 2008. Eric grew into one of the most popular athletes in Colonia High school, partly because of his on the field success but mostly because of his off the field humbleness, and down to earth attitude.
When entering Rutgers in 2008, Eric hadn’t really found a position. He was moved from linebacker, to fullback, and also defensive tackle, which he eventually stayed. This season he was going to split time at tackle with Senior Charlie Noonan, and most likely get the start during his senior season. When Eric’s injury had occurred, naturally the nation’s hearts had sunk, and the outpouring of support flooded in. People wishing him well came from all over the place, whether it was from his hometown, different parts of New Jersey, other Universities in college football, and people all over the world on ESPN.com. The support for Eric has been immense, which is fitting for a kid whose heart is as big as the field he plays on.
Supporters can do many things to help Eric’s cause. The Rutgers University campus is selling wristbands with all proceeds going to a foundation in Eric’s name. T-shirts have also been circulating as well. Big Shots Sports Bar in Woodbridge is hosting a fundraiser for Eric on November 27th. Facebook groups have been created to let supporters leave their thoughts and hopes. Also, the Rutgers athletic website is letting supporters leave get-well wishes for Eric.
When an athlete gets taken out of a game, his team will try anything to rally behind him and win. When an athlete gets knocked out of the sport he loves, a campus, a state, a nation, and the world is ready to step up and show their support. Eric LeGrand is a special player on the field, and a special person off the field. The support for him is only fitting for the type of human being he is, and hopefully Eric can fight for a speedy recovery, just as he fights through the offensive line for a sack.