The numbers — eight solo tackles and 1.5 sacks in three seasons — don’t really tell the story when it comes to the career of Temple defensive lineman Brandon Chudnoff.
They don’t account for the considerable time he’s spent on shelf rehabbing neck and shoulder injuries. They don’t account for the mental adjustments he’s had to make since being recruited by Al Golden, before Steve Addazio took over the reins for two years, followed by Matt Rhule. And they certainly don’t account for some of the issues he’s had to deal with off the field, in particular his mother’s breast cancer, which was first diagnosed in 2006.
But through it all Brandon Chudnoff has persevered. So has his Mom, Sylvita.
Now a redshirt senior who’ll technically soon graduate even though he still has a year of eligibility left, (he will continue to take classes next fall), he’s hoping next season will be his best.
First, however, he has some business to take care of. On Sunday, in conjunction with the Susan G. Komen Mother’s Day “Race for the Cure’’ on the Parkway, he’ll lead a contingent of Temple Owls showing their support for the women who mean so much to them.
"I’ve been doing the breast cancer walk with Temple football the past four years," said the 6-foot-2, 250 pound Chudnoff, who figures to rotate between defensive end and tackle this season. "Last year we had 30 guys walking and about the same number would help set up the day before and that morning. We’ll do the heavy lifting."
Brandon’s investment goes beyond that. Not only is he out there supporting his Mom’s recovery, but it's also a special thank you for making his life what it is. Otherwise, he might still be in San Lorenzo, Paraguay, where he was born before Sylvita and her husband Michael brought him here.
"I was only there for a year when my parents adopted me," said Chudnoff, whose middle name, Sergio, is the lone tie to his native land. "I don’t even remember living over there and haven’t been back. I’ll probably go sometime after I finish college."
Growing up in the Northeast, Chudnoff played at George Washington High before moving on to Temple, where his career’s hit a bit of a snag.
"I’ve had two injuries that have really held me back," said the 22-year-old Chudnoff, a kinesiology major, who wants to teach people to exercise and live healthier lives. "I had a left pec tear and then shoulder surgery. This off season I’ve finally been able to get stronger and a little faster. The past two off-seasons affected me, because I wasn’t able to prepare as well as I have now. We have a lot of older guys on the defensive line, so it’s real competitive."
Whether he starts or not, Rhule says Chudnoff is special.
"He’s the epitome of what we want here," said Rhule, who expects No. 51 to be a valuable contributor on the D-Line as well as special teams. "He’s a kid who’s tremendous for the program and a tremendous student. He’s had a couple of pretty significant tears to his shoulder and neck. But he always found a way to get on the field. He does a great job giving us versatility."
But it’s his work at events like The Race where Brandon really stands out.
"He does a lot of things like that," said Rhule, whose Owls will open the 2015 season on September 5 vs. Penn State at the Linc. "He’s been instrumental with this with everything his family’s been there.Cancer is something that unites our whole team. We have kids from all different backgrounds who’ve had to deal with it. I lost my mother-in-law to cancer and my mother had cancer. So it’s a common bond."
For Brandon Chudnoff, though, it’s simply continuing a family tradition.
"My Mom’s friends got together and started it the year she got sick," said Brandon, "I was pretty scared for her and the rest of us then. She’s a nine-year survivor now."
Happy Mother’s Day, then, Sylvita Chudnoff and your fellow survivors who’ll be out on the Parkway Sunday. In your case the number really does tell the whole story.