Rutgers football coach Greg Schiano on wrestlers who play football:
“They understand leverage. They’re very good tacklers. They’re very good at wrapping up. But above all else, it’s the mental toughness required. Those minutes on the mat, there isn’t anywhere to hide. It’s just you and that other guy. I just think the carryover is outstanding because those are the traits you need to be a successful football player.”
Top heavyweight wrestlers meet on the gridiron
Two of the state's top heavyweight wrestlers will battle head-to-head in the trenches in MyCentralJersey.com Snapple Bowl XVI at Kean University on Thursday.
Jeramie Powell, a right defensive tackle from Piscataway, will line up against Matt Tansey, a left offensive tackle from Governor Livingston, as a group of recently graduated seniors from Middlesex and Union counties square off in the charity football game.
All proceeds from the event, which has raised nearly $250,000 since its inception, benefit the Lakeview School for Cerebral Palsy in Edison and Children's Specialized Hospital of Mountainside.
A two-time state-placewinner as a heavyweight wrestler, Powell (6-1, 275), who earned Home News Tribune first-team All-Area honors in football, helped Piscataway capture the Central Group IV gridiron title last fall.
A district champion and Union County finalist at heavyweight last winter, Tansey (6-5, 260) led Governor Livingston to the 2008 North 2 Group III football final.
"Matt Tansey became a good football player because of wrestling," Governor Livingston football coach Terry Hanratty said. "I wasn't sure if Matt was going to play football for me and I said, "Matt, I want you to do something in the winter that's going to make you a better player for football.' He was only a freshman or sophomore. It's very rare that a kid will take your recommendation. He's the type of kid who took my advice because he wanted to play.
"Because of wrestling he was able to (turn) around and I can't say enough about that. He wasn't doing as well in the beginning and he turned around to be one of the best. That says a lot for his character and hard work."
Powell, who will continue his football career at Wesley College in Delaware, was initially more gifted on the gridiron than he was on the mat.
"Without a doubt I was better at football," Powell said, "simply because football is a team sport. If you make a mistake, you get help from other people, help from teammates, people next to you. Wrestling is a team sport, but when you are on the mat, the best way to help your team is to do it (win) by yourself. It took me a while to get into that mentality."
Powell is such a team-first athlete that he said repeatedly during his run to a seventh-place finish at the 2009 NJSIAA Wrestling Tournament that he was competing not for himself but as a representative of Piscataway and the entire Greater Middlesex Conference.
Piscataway wrestling coach Mike Awad said he believes some of the techniques Powell learned as a wrestler enhanced his performance as a football player.
"If you break down football, once you break down the 11 men on each side of the field, it's basically a game of 1-on-1, especially when it comes to the trenches," said Awad, who is a volunteer assistant with Piscataway's football program. "Wrestling is great for footwork, getting (hands) inside, getting under somebody to get leverage and for body awareness.
"I think one of the things wrestling helps with is mental toughness. I think everything that a football player does in the trenches, wrestlers do every day in practice. I think the two go hand-in-hand."
If you are an athlete and thinking about starting wrestling, listen to the best minds in sport speak about wrestling....
- John Madden, Hall of Fame Football Coach
"I would have all of my Offensive Lineman wrestle if I could."
-Knute Rockne, former Notre Dame football coach
“Wrestling is certainly an art - no longer does brute strength predominate in wrestling. It is science and condition that carry the wrestler successfully through his encounters. The idea of roughness and brutality is no longer synonymous with wrestling, because science has replaced those aspects with more beneficial retributions.
Wrestling, like football, trains the individual to think and act while in action and under pain. Scientific wrestling helps to construct a sound body and an alert mind, two precious aids of any individual in the struggle of the survival of the fittest.
I believe that wrestling as adopted and practiced in prep schools and universities, under trained coaches, is one of the best constructive sports that an individual can take part in and should be encouraged in prep schools, universities, and other institutions whose aim is to develop young men.”
-Bob Stoops, Head Coach - Oklahoma
“Having played football at the University of Iowa and gotten to know legendary Iowa Coach Dan Gable, I have become a big fan of the sport of wrestling. In addition to enjoying the sport, I am convinced that wrestling as a sport is extremely beneficial to football and believe that high school coaches would benefit greatly by allowing their players to wrestle and by recruiting wrestlers. Wrestling helps develop discipline to stay in one’s stance. Wrestlers also generally have good balance, understand leverage and know how to use their hands. This benefits them in blocking, defending blocks and tackling. Perhaps the greatest benefit of wrestling is developing mental and physical toughness. Many of the top football programs like Nebraska have a number of former wrestlers on their team. We have several and I not only allow, but have encouraged these to wrestle in the off-season. I am a football man, but have the greatest respect for wrestling and all those who compete in wrestling.”
Start of starticle from the Columbus Dispatch:
Size doesn't impress Luke Fickell.
Each year, Ohio State's co-defensive coordinator evaluates dozens, maybe hundreds of high school football players while recruiting.
They're all big, all fast, all strong.
But tell Fickell a kid is a standout wrestler, and he'll get a gleam in his eye. Now he's interested.
"We talk about competitiveness, and I don't think there's a better sport to look at someone's competitiveness than wrestling," Fickell said. "You can tell (with wrestlers), it's something that's one-on-one competitive, and that's what we're trying to look for.
"You can't define it. You don't know what someone has got inside their chest and their heart, but if you know they've been one on one and they've got that competitive nature … "
NFL Players that have wrestled
**Hall of Famer
Nick Leckey - TX State Champ
Gregory Walker - State Finalist
Luis Castillo, DT, Chargers (First Round Pick)
Lincoln Hodgdon, C, Texans - CA State Champ
Fred Weary, C, Texans - AL State Champ
Coy Wire, SS, Buffalo Bills - PA State Champ
Kevin Breedlove - SC State Finalist
Kevin Sampson - NJ State Champ
Benjamin Claxton - GA State Finalist
Clinton "C.J." Brooks, Jr.
Leon Robinson - GA State Runner-Up
Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons - 2x SC State Champ (First Round Pick)
Eric Ghiaciuc, C, Bengals - MI State Champ
Adam Seward, ILB, Panthers - NV State Champ
Marques Harris - CO State Champ
Andrew "Tyler" Lenda - District Champ
Tim Anderson - OH State Champ
Matt Roth - IA State Champ
Mike Patterson, DT, Eagles (First Round Pick)
Tim Burrough - OK State Champ
Antoineo Harris - IL State Champ
Scott Wells - TN State Champ
Alex Lewis - District Champ
Ronnie Brown, RB, Miami Dolphins (#2 Pick)
Josh Minkins - District Runner-up
Andrew Tidwell-Neal - MN State Champ
Patrick "Bucky" Babcock - IL State Champ
Art Baker, RB, Buffalo Bills
Rhonde Barber, SS, Bay Buccaneers
Tiki Barber, RB, New York Giants
Walter Barnes, DL, Redskins - SEC Champ
Eric Bateman, OL, New York Jets
Brad Benson, Giants – PA State Champ
Greg Boone, RB, Oakland Raiders
Jeff Bostic*, C, Redskins–SC State Champ
Tedy Bruschi*, ILB, New England Patriots
Bob Bruenig*, LB, Dallas Cowboys
Phil Bryant, Eagles – 2x Nat. Prep Champ
Ralph Cindrich, Oilers – PA State 2nd
Jonathan Condo, LS, Dallas Cowboys - PA State Champ, Dapper Dan Champ
Tom Cousineau*, LB, Browns – 3rd State
Tom Covert*, OT, Chicago Bears
Chris Cooley, WR, Washington Redskins
Roger Craig*, RB, San Francisco 49’ers
Damien Covington, LB, Buffalo Bills
Curley Culp*, DL, Chiefs – NCAA Champ
Larry Czonka**, RB, Miami Dolphins
Rob Davis, ST, Green Bay Packers
Dan Dierdorff**, OT, St. Louis Cardinals
Donnie Edwards, OLB, Chargers
Carl Edwards, Chargers – 3x MD St. Chp
Rob Essink, Seahawks – NCAA DII Champ
Jim Everett, QB, New Orleans Saints
DeMarco Farr, St. Louis Rams
Patrick Flannery, OL, Houston Oilers
Ed Flanagan, C, Detroit Lions
Terrell Fletcher, RB, San Diego Chargers
Bill Fralic*, G, Atlanta Falcons
Doug France*, LT, Rams – OH State Runner-Up
Frank Garcia, C, Rams – 2x AZ St. Champ
William George, Bears–2x PA St. Champ
Charlie Getty, RG, Chiefs – 2x NCAA All-American
John Gilmore, TE, Chicago Bears
Kevin Glover*, C, Detroit Lions
La’Roi Glover*, DE, Dallas Cowboys
Mike Goff, G, Cincinnati Bengals
Bob Golic*, DT, Browns – OH St. Champ
Mike Golic, DE, Philadelphia Eagles
Darien Gordon, PR/CB, Denver Broncos
Scottie Graham, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Tim Green, DE, Atlanta Falcons
Kelly Gregg, NT, Ravens, 3x KS St. Champ
Morlon Greenwood, OLB, Miami Dolphins
Archie Griffin, HB, Cincinnati Bengals
Nick Griesen, LB, New York Giants
Randy Grossman, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers
John Hannah**, G, New England Patriots
Carlton Haselrig*, Steelers, 3x NCAA Champ
Ron Heller, TE, Seattle Seahawks
Chad Hennings, DT, Cowboys – IA State Champ
Jay Hilgenberg*, C, Bears – IA State Runner-Up
Orlando Huff, MLB, Seattle Seahawks
Corey Hulsy, G, Oakland Raiders
Bo Jackson*, RB, Oakland Raiders
Mario Johnson, DT, New England Patriots
Dahanie Jones, LB, New York Giants
Henry Jordan**, DT, Green Bay Packers
Dave Joyner, OL, Green Bay Packers
John Jurkovich*, DT, Cleveland Browns
Alex Karras, Detroit Lions
Tim Krumrie*, DL, Bengals – WI State Champ
Ernie Ladd, DL, Kansas City Chiefs
Nick Lecky, C, - KS State Champ (in 2004 NFL Draft)
Jess Lewis, LB, Houston Oilers
Ray Lewis*, Baltimore Ravens – 2x FL State Champ
Ronnie Lott**, DB, San Francisco 49’ers
Kirk Lowdermilk*, OL, Minnesota Vikings
Sean Mahan, G, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Mike Malczyk, LS, New York Giants
Joel Mackavicka, RB, Seattle Seahawks
Steve Martin, DT, Houston Texans
Mickey Marvin, RG, Oakland Raiders
Napolean McCallum, RB, Oakland Raiders
Randle McDaniel*, G, Minnesota Vikings
Mark McDonald, SS, Arizona Cardinals
Chris McIntosh, T, Seattle Seahawks
Bryant McKinnie, T. Minnesota Vikings
Greg Meisner, DL, Los Angeles Rams
Matt Millen*, LB, Oakland Raiders
Ronald Moore, RB, Cleveland Browns
James Mungro, HB, Indianapolis Colts
Jim Nance, FB, New England Patriots – NCAA Champ
Lorenzo Neal, FB, Tennessee Titans - NCAA Champ
Stephen Neal, OL, Patriots – NCAA Champ
Jeremy Newberry, C, San Francisco 49’ers
Chuck Noll, Pittsburgh Steelers – PA State Champ
Leo Nomellini*, T, 49’ers – Big 10 Champ
Jonathan Ogden*, OT, Baltimore Ravens
Irv Pankey, Los Angeles Rams – 2x MD State Champ
David Patten, WR, New England Patriots
Scott Peters, G, New York Giants
Bob Pickens, OL, Chicago Bears
Jim Plunkett*, QB, Oakland Raiders
Dave Porter, T, Green Bay Packers
Mike Pyle, C, Chicago Bears – IA State Champ
Rocky Rasley, G, Detroit Lions
Mike Reid, Cincinnati Bengals
Eric Rhett, RB, Cleveland Browns – FL State Champ
Willie Roaf*, OT, New Orleans Saints
Warren Sapp*, DT Buccaneers – FL State Champ
Mark Schlereth*, OL, Redskins - Alaska State Champ
Cory Schlesinger, LB, Detroit Lions - NE State Champ
Steve Sefter, DT, Eagles, 2x PA St. Ch. & NCAA All-American
Tony Siragusa*, DT, Ravens – NJ State Champ
Fred Smerlas*, Buffalo Bills - MA State Champ
Bruce Smith**, DE, Washington Redskins
Brad St. Louis, TE, Cincinnati Bengals
Matt Suhey, RB, Chicago Bears
Bill Szott, OL, Redskins – NJ State Champ
Dave Szott, Kansas City Chiefs – NJ State Champ
Woody Thompson, RB, Falcons – PA St. Champ
Jim Thorpe**, HB, New York Giants
Mike Trgovac, DC, Panthers – OH State Champ
Kyle Turley*, T, St. Louis Rams
Ryan Turnbull, RB, Cleveland Browns
Tommy Vardell, RB, San Francisco 49’ers
Adam Vinatieri*, K, New England Patriots
John Ward, OL, Jets – NCAA All-American
Fred Weary, DB, St. Louis Rams
Charles White*, HB, Los Angeles Rams
Randy White*, DT, Dallas Cowboys
Cory Widmer, LB, New York Giants
Leo Wisniewski, NT, Colts - PA St. Champ
Steve Wisniewski, G, Raiders - CA St. Ch.
Ricky Williams*, RB, Miami Dolphins
Coy Wire, LB, Buffalo Bills – PA State Runner-Up
Greg Wojochowski, St. Louis Rams
**Hall of Famer