He was a 5-foot-8-inch basketball player who could dunk two- handed, but [Troy Stradford] was mainly a 1,000-yard tailback each of his last two years at Linden High School. Such numbers were a beacon for the shanghaiers. Penn State wanted him, but to play defensive back. "Penn State always gets a lot of Jersey guys," Stradford said.
He learned about losing by winning. Stradford had gained 132 yards in his third game as a freshman, but the Eagles still trailed, 13-6, with 1:18 and no timeouts left, the ball at their 13. "[Doug Flutie] drove us down, no hesitation," Stradford said. "He knew the whole time that he was going to do it." Stradford caught the winning touchdown pass while slipping to his back. That was how BC beat Rutgers that year.
A defensive back. So this was how a Jersey school treated its own. "They'd never told me they were going to switch me," Stradford said. He grew defiant, and tackling a Jersey guy scorned is not a pleasant stroll through Palisades Park. "This is a chance," Stradford would describe his career at BC, "to get away from New Jersey."