St. Peter’s Prep has had a host of top NCAA Division I football products over the last quarter century. More than 100 former Marauders have moved on to the top level of college football.
But never had a Marauder headed to one of the most storied college programs of all time.
Until now. Minkah Fitzpatrick, the cornerback ranked as the top New Jersey product among all high school players, gave a verbal commitment last week to the University of Alabama.
Yes, that Alabama, like in Bear Bryant and Roll Tide and even “Forrest Gump.”
It was a huge step for the Marauder program.
“Alabama has a certain brand name and it commands respect,” Prep head coach and athletic director Rich Hansen said. “It has the recognition. You try to get away from being mesmerized by the big name and the culture, but it is one of the premier programs in the country. I feel good for Minkah. It’s a school he’s always had interest in. For it to work out so well for him, it’s a great thing.”
The Marauders have a host of major college products on the 2014 expected roster.
Quarterback Brandon Wimbush, another of the state’s top products, is expected to make his college decision official “within the next two-to-three weeks,” according to Hansen.
Lineman Dave Tolentino has offers from Nebraska and Syracuse. Linebacker Jordan Fox has offers from Virginia, Boston College and Syracuse. Devon Walker has an offer from Pittsburgh. Cheyanne Robinson is an Ivy League product and could be headed to Cornell.
“They’re getting a lot of attention,” Hansen said. “They definitely have a lot of people interested. We don’t want to rush the process, but for me, as a coach, I’d love to have a piece of mind going into the season. It’s definitely a positive to have it done, but we have to make sure they do the right thing.”…
While those Marauders are doing the right thing, a former Marauder continues to do wrong.
Former Prep great and current New York Giant safety Will Hill, easily recognized as the best football player to ever grace fields in Hudson County, reportedly failed his third drug test in as many years and faces a year-long suspension from the NFL. The situation was reported on NFL.com, NJ.com and in other outlets.
It’s more than likely that this latest indiscretion will cost Hill his position with the Giants and perhaps end his brief pro career.
Hill had previously failed a test for the banned stimulant Adderall in 2012 and last year failed a test that forced him to the sidelines once again. Hill admitted that he smoked marijuana, telling the press that it was because he faced the pressures of playing pro football close to his East Orange home.
When Hill played last year, he was downright dominant and perhaps the Giants’ best all-around defensive player. He collected 77 tackles in 10 games, including two interceptions, one that was returned for a touchdown.
If Hill had kept his nose clean and concentrated on football this season, continuing the incredible play, he stood to make as much as $25 million in a contract. Now, it appears as if it’s all over. At the very least, his career with the Giants appears done, because they paid for Hill to receive treatment last spring for drug addiction in Boston and outpatient in Parsippany, telling him at the time that it was his last chance.
The Giants had their first organized team activity (OTA) Tuesday for strength and conditioning. His teammates tried hard keep a stiff upper lip.
“I have to support Will,” said fellow starting safety Antrel Rolle, a resident of Guttenberg. “Will Hill is a great guy and a great teammate. I treat him like my little brother. I don’t want to hear this about him. My concern is for him as a person, not as a football player. I’m going to try to keep his spirits up.”
“Will has our support,” said cornerback Prince Amukamara. “I only wish the best for him. Will and I are good friends, but if he was my best friend, I’d have to get on him and give him some tough love.”
It’s hard to say what that tough love would do now that Hill has apparently burned his final bridge…
St. Peter’s Prep secured its place atop the local baseball rankings with a solid 3-1 win over surprising Union City last Tuesday. The Marauders got great pitching from young pitcher Antonio Velardi, who fired a five-hitter over eight innings, and clutch hitting in the extra frame from Mike Cirilo and T.J. Ward….
The Marauders are ranked No. 8 in the entire state in the last Top 20 rankings…
In softball, St. Dominic Academy has come on strong for new coach Mike Nieves. Christina Mezey had 13 strikeouts and Mary Kate Cannito had three hits and four RBI in a huge 6-2 win over Hoboken…
North Bergen’s Victoria Avella struck out 15 and allowed just four hits in an 1-0 eight-inning win over Ferris. Ferris’ Victoria Vogt had six strikeouts in a heartbreaking loss, a battle of the Victorias…
It seems as if every week, there are more noteworthy people who passed on. This week is no exception.
First, former Marist and New Jersey City University standout football player and local assistant coach Alex Vega died tragically at the age of 39. Vega had a host of tryouts with the NFL, because of his massive 6-foot-8, 385-pound frame. Vega also dabbled a bit with professional sumo wrestling and was doing well.
I personally knew Vega from his childhood days in St. Paul’s of Greenville and followed him as he grew up. It’s personally sad to see someone die younger than me, someone who I remember as a baby…
Then, former St. Dominic Academy official and Hudson County United Way official Ben Dineen died after a brief battle with cancer. Dineen was one of the most giving people in Hudson County and an avid follower of local sports, making sure that the United Way distributed funds to the most needy, even in the sports world. It’s a huge loss…
Hudson Reporter H.S. Baseball Top Five: 1. St. Peter’s Prep (12-2-1). 2. Union City (9-3). 3. Bayonne (6-3-1). 4. Marist (7-5). 5. Hudson Catholic (6-4)…
Hudson Reporter H.S. Softball Top Five: 1. North Bergen (8-4). 2. Secaucus (8-4). 3. Marist (8-1). 4. Hudson Catholic (9-2). 5. St. Dominic Academy (8-5)…--Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.