Fourteen years and three careers later, former Rutgers two-time team captain Mike Teel gets the same feeling when he returns to campus.
An honorary captain for last week's wrestling match, Teel enjoyed a long-winded introduction and pop from the fan base before a front-row view of the domination Rutgers victory.
“It's been a long time, I know, and it's awesome,” Teel said. “That's part of the reason why I came here. I was lucky to be here at a really good time but to come back and be honored with Kevin and Jamaal, it's unbelievable and it's awesome. It's everything that when you look back 14 years ago on why did I come to Rutgers? It's stuff like this.”
All former NFL players of their own, Teel and his teammates expressed pride in both sides.
“For as much as the program has gone through in the last couple of years, it reaffirms who we are,” Teel said. “We've got great people in the program and out of the program that are former players They represented us great all week. … It says a lot because, each year and I don't know the exact numbers, we've had guys from our teams that are winning Super Bowl rings consistently. That's hard to say at any college in the country, and it goes back to what coach (Greg Schiano) built and the foundation of his program. Get kids ready to play and make football teams.”
Teel heads into a third year as the offensive coordinator at Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep. At one of the top high-school powerhouses in the country, Teel takes lessons from his own coaching mentors from Don Bosco, Rutgers and the Seattle Seahawks.
“You've got to get better every day,” Teel said. “You've got to be consistent, and you've got to work every day. As good as you might have played or you were last week, there's still a way to get better. You always have to get better. That's been the thing I learned from coach Schiano at Rutgers and also coach [Greg] Toal before and after him. You're always striving to be the absolute best.”
On Signing Day of 2016, Teel and Toal sent offensive lineman Michael Maietti to Rutgers. Teel expects the center to thrive under new coordinator Jerry Kill and line coach AJ Blazek.
“I think he's going to do really well,” Teel said. “When you give him more responsibility up front making calls, that's where he thrives. I saw him the other day when I was down [at Rutgers], and I asked coach Blazek how he was doing. I'm really excited for Mike. I think he's got a really great future.”
An annual opponent of Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep, from one of the best all-time Rutgers quarterbacks, Teel hopes for big things from Johnathan Lewis
“He's a big, tall, strong, talented kid,” Teel said. “When we played them this year, he was out with an injury so I didn't get to see him live and I didn't watch any film but I know the reputation. I've seen him before. When you see him in person, he looks the part. Nowadays, that's a part of it. I'm excited for him.”