CONWAY — Nearly two dozen NFL teams have come through the Stony Brook football complex this season to meet with senior running back Miguel Maysonet. Coastal Carolina, meanwhile, would probably prefer not to get another look at the Big South Conference’s all-time leading rusher.
They will meet again Saturday at Brooks Stadium, though, and after the Chanticleers were gashed for 399 rushing yards by Appalachian State in their last game, well, this would seem a less-than-ideal matchup for the home team.
“We don’t really go into the game thinking about that,” Maysonet said over the phone. “We just primarily go into the game doing what we do best and focusing on our stuff. We don’t really worry about the opponents.”
Yeah, it really hasn’t mattered much for the No. 11-ranked Seawolves (5-1, 1-0 Big South) who they have played this season – nobody has been able to stop or really even slow down the 5-foot-10, 210-pound Maysonet.
He’s averaging 148 rushing yards per game, which is good for fourth-best in the FCS. That number is even more impressive, though, when considering that his two lowest rushing outputs (53 yards vs. Pace and 88 against Charleston Southern) came in the Seawolves’ two most lopsided wins when his services were only needed for a combined 18 carries.
Then there are the games where he has been unleashed within Stony Brook’s high-octane offense:
• 171 yards and two touchdowns in 16 carries against Central Connecticut.
• 158 yards and a score in 21 carries at Syracuse.
• 198 yards and a touchdown in 27 attempts during a narrow 32-31 win over Colgate.
• And a season-high 220 yards and two scores in 32 totes in a 23-3 win over FBS foe Army.
Last week in that 49-7 romp over Charleston Southern, he added yet another accolade to his resume while becoming the Big South’s all-time leading rusher with 3,649 career yards.
“Today will be the 23rd [NFL] team that came into see him,” Stony Brook coach Chuck Priore said. “I think they’re all excited about his potential, and certainly over the course of this season his stock has risen – which I think it should have. So hopefully we’re looking at a kid that will get drafted somewhere down the line.”
Coastal senior defensive tackle Johnny Hartsfield, who has an interesting perspective on the matter, was asked if he thinks Maysonet can play in the NFL.
“Yes sir, I thought that his freshman year, to be honest,” he replied.
Hartsfield and Maysonet were teammates at Hofstra as freshmen before the university decided to end its football program. Hartsfield came south to Coastal, and Maysonet stayed instate at Stony Brook.
The players have met on the field two times since with Maysonet running for 193 yards and three touchdowns in 2010 against the Chants in the Seawolves’ last trip to Brooks Stadium and then going for 191 yards and three more scores last year in Coastal’s forgettable 42-0 loss on Long Island.
“When you look at next-level running backs, you always look for things that separate guys from other guys,” Hartsfield said. “And Miguel’s just a workhorse. His legs never stop moving, he never strays away from contact, he has a nice combination [of size] and speed. He’ll bust through an A gap on you and then he’ll hit it outside and turn the corner on you as well.”
The reigning Big South Offensive Player of the Year, Maysonet is having an even better senior season. His 888 total rushing yards are more than double that of any other player in the conference and he is the odds-on favorite to repeat that postseason honor.
Looking back on these last three years and the move to Stony Brook, though, Maysonet admits even he’s a bit surprised how well it’s gone.
“No, honestly, I definitely did not expect for it to be going the way it is right now,” he said.
He recalled his first conversation with Priore after Hofstra had cut its program.
“It was short and sweet,” Maysonet said. “He said if you still want to play football, you have a home here. That was basically it. ... It definitely was probably the best decision I ever made.”
And one for which the rest of the Big South – the Chants included – continue to pay the price.
Contact RYAN YOUNG at 626-0318.