Strong Strojny excels in leadership role

Offensive tackle Drew Strojny is one of only six Duke football players in school history to serve consecutive seasons as team captain. Little wonder why – Strojny's leadership was invaluable last season when turmoil became a potential adversary for the Blue Devils in the midst of a 30-game conference losing streak and the mid-campaign firing of head coach Carl Franks. <BR><BR>

"When adversity came here last season, Drew and [Giants rookie free agent running back] Chris Douglas kept everybody together," noted Duke coach Ted Roof, who took over for Franks on Oct. 19. "Drew is definitely a leader."

Strojny, who started 43 straight games, is also an excellent student: a common characteristic of Duke athletes. A philosophy major with a minor in religion, the 6-8, 315-pounder is an ACC Academic Honor Roll scholar.

His work in the trenches was a major factor in springing Douglas for two touchdowns and a career-record 218 rushing yards – the third best single-game total in Duke history – as the Blue Devils ended their 30-game ACC drought on Nov. 8 with a resounding 41-17 win at Georgia Tech. Entering the contest, the Yellow Jackets defense was allowing only 94.8 rushing yards per game.

"Drew really picked up his intensity as the season progressed," said Roof, a former All-ACC linebacker and defensive coordinator at Georgia Tech. "He was getting downfield after making his initial blocks and clearing people out of the way."

"People will be surprised at my strength," Strojny said. "I'm a left tackle that's athletic and plays football really well.

"I was somewhat surprised when I was selected in the seventh round – because I was told it would be the fifth round. I was also contacted by Philadelphia and St. Louis, but I'm glad to be with the Giants."

Strojny's grandfather, Ted, is enshrined in the Holy Cross College Hall of Fame and was a 1946 draft pick of the Los Angeles Rams. Like his grandson, the elder Strojny played tackle.

Bloodlines asides, Roof believes his former player has a good shot to stick with Big Blue.

"Drew did a good job over a long period of time at Duke," Roof said. "At times he's fiery, he's a good competitor and he's intelligent. He will work on all aspects of his game, but Drew has the tools to play."


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