Focus '08: Gabe Hernandez

Gabe Hernandez, the 6-foot-1 and 175-pound QB by way of St. Joseph Regional HS [Montvale, NJ], helped lead the Green Knights to a 9-2 record in 2007. Hernandez, who threw for over 600 yards and 6 TDs in '07, has started off 2008 just like he finished his junior season campaign.

Gabe Hernandez is a 6-foot-1 and 175-pound QB by way of St. Joseph Regional HS [Montvale, NJ]. Hernandez looked impressive during his last outing at the Chuck Mound Football Challenge during mid-March, bringing home the MVP award for top quarterback.

"The Chuck Mound Challenge at Giants Stadium was great. I ran a 4.53 forty and my 5-10-5 was 4.13, and I also won the Quarterback MVP," stated Hernandez.

The 40-time, hovering around 4.5 seconds may have been surprising to onlookers but not to Hernandez, who's been working diligently during the offseason.

"I have been working on my 40, on my shuttle and overall speed and strength since the end of last season. I have been working out at Acceleration Plus three times a week with my trainer Bruce Bowers who is great. He has degrees in every aspect of speed and strength training and he has a couple of free agents and Giants players working out there too, so it makes it even more challenging. I have also been working on becoming a complete quarterback, woring on the cerebral part of the game, reading defenses and controlling the game," continued Hernandez.

For his efforts, Hernandez has been seeing a steady flow of interest come his way from a variety of schools, including Rutgers, Connecticut, Boston College, Stanford, Syracuse, Buffalo, N.C. State, Army, Temple, Virginia, and a number of 1-AA programs such as the Ivies (e.g., Yale, Harvard, Cornell).

In addition to his off-season training, Hernandez has had the opportunity to see some of the schools showing him interest, in person.

"Rutgers invited me to attend all their home games (in 2007), which I did, and they invited me to attend their spring practices. Coach Schiano has been great. Every time I show up he takes time to come over and speak to me."

"I was invited to Uconn, to attend one of their recent scrimmages and I met with Coach Lakatos and he was great. The facilities at Uconn are second to none, everything is state of the art. He wants me to get down there for their camp."

"Coach Archer from Cornell has been great also. He is excited about my planned visit to Cornell."

With the camping/combine season already underway, Hernandez has begun looking toward the future for additional events in which to showcase his skills. "I received personal invitations to attend the Showcase camp at Rutgers, Connecticut, Boston College, and Purdue wants me to attend their elite QB school. I will also attend the Cornell one day camp." In addition, Hernandez will make the short drive to compete in what was formerly known as the Elite College Combine while also participating in the Nike Elite 11 QB Showcase at Penn State, and Reebok Stack Elite tour.

"This is great because you get to compete against the top players you would normally not play against. I can't wait," said Hernandez.

In the meantime, his senior year in high school is rapidly approaching and this Green Knight is expected to take on more of a leadership role.

"We have a challenging schedule this upcoming season. We will be opening up the season against St. Peters Prep at Giants Stadium and we will also go to Connecticut to play one of the top football programs in that state. This will be my senior year, my team, and I have been working hard this off-season as have all the seniors. We are working toward another state championship."

Hernandez also reports a 3.5 GPA.

Matei may be reached at mgeorge@rutgersfootball.com

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