RU Commit Longa Learns at "The Opening"

Saddle Brook (N.J.) High linebacker and Rutgers commit Steve Longa proved he is one of the nation's elite when he competed in "The Opening" last week, a Nike-sponsored event in Beaverton, Ore. Longa spoke to about his experience, a vaulue lesson learned and much more.

Many of the top players in the 2012 class converged on Beaverton, Ore., late last week to meet at Nike headquarters and compete in The Opening, a Nike-sponsored combine event in which players were tested and competed in a 7-on-7 tournament.

The lone Rutgers commit at the festivities was Saddle Brook (N.J.) High linebacker Steve Longa, who was a member of the championship team.

"It's very honorable, and it showed me I was one of the Top 150 that got chosen to go over there," Longa said. "It was amazing being on the Nike campus. Outside of the Tiger Woods building, there was a heavy marble ball and the water was coming under it, and making the ball spin. That stood out."

Part of the event included instruction and life-lessons from NFL players, and Longa was fortunate enough to speak with former Nebraska standout and current Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamuknong Suh.

"It was very good," Longa said. "I got to learn from a couple of current NFL players, and a lot of my teammates. The (NFL players) said something that really, really touched me, and I'll use my whole life; that is to do the right thing. No matter what, do the right thing."

The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Longa added he also picked up plenty of technique-oriented tips to improve his game before from the event at the end of the weekend, but he is not resting. He is moving right into workouts to ready for training camp.

"I'm going back to the weight room and my routine, and with my team, to prepare for the season," he said. "Just like everyone else, I'm trying to get bigger, stronger and faster."

Longa's focus is leading Saddle Brook to a state title, and he hasn't thought about opposing teams game-planning to slow him down.

And while it has been two months since his commitment to Rutgers, he said he hasn't been to campus "for a while" because of a busy schedule, but that should change soon.

Also, there is no concern of other schools trying to get Longa away from Rutgers.

"They leave me alone. They respect my decision," he said. "I'm enjoying things more now and not worrying about (recruiting)."

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