Jets linebacker Jamaal Westerman only played one year of college football with Rutgers defensive lineman Eric LeGrand, but it was enough to leave an impact.
LeGrand was a freshman when Westerman was in his final year as a standout defensive end with the Scarlet Knights in 2008. Despite the gap in age and playing experience on Saturdays, Westerman always saw the then 18-year-old as a leader on a team brimming with senior experience.
“For the young guys, he was definitely one of those who stepped up, was ready to be a leader,” Westerman said.
As a junior in high school, LeGrand was among the first commits of his recruiting class, a powerfully built tackling machine who became the voice of the RU class and a key recruiter in convincing other players to join him in New Jersey. LeGrand is as versatile as any player Greg Schiano has had, playing linebacker, tackle and even fullback.
“He’s one of those kids who just loves to play football,” Westerman said. “He loves playing, loves being on the field, loves Rutgers.”
Westerman wasn’t able to see his former teammate in the hospital but spent time praying with the LeGrand family. Ultimately, the time Westerman spends on his knees will hopefully lead to LeGrand landing back on his feet.
“There is no doubt in my mind that Eric LeGrand will someday be leading the charge out of the tunnel,” Westerman said. “I firmly believe that.”