Passaic County Community College in Paterson is deep in NY Giants country. The Giants' wide receiver, Victor Cruz, is also a Paterson native.
Cruz was an undrafted free agent out of the University of Massachusetts in 2010 and he was almost cut several times by the Giants. He admits that he almost didn’t make it at UMass either because of academic problems.
If you hear him interviewed, he comes off as a smart guy who knows the right things to say. But like many undergrads, he admits to being irresponsible and too interested in having fun.
On Yahoo! Sports, he said:
“Everybody says that when you go off to college, it’s your chance to have a good time. At the same time, you have to take care of your work. I didn’t get that. I expected a lot of things to be given to me and just taken care of when I got to college and that wasn’t going to happen.”
In 2007, Victor was living back in Paterson "trying to get his grades together" here at Passaic County Community College. It was a tough year. His father committed suicide that year, and his grandfather also died that year.
“It wasn’t one thing that made me realize that I had to get this straightened out, it was a multitude of things. So many things were happening at once, and I just realized I didn’t want to be a statistic, another guy from an inner-city who didn’t make it. I wanted to realize my dreams. To do that, I had to apply myself.”
He turned it around.
This season as a player he has been great. He's a media favorite in Super Bowl coverage. He is also a favorite of the the Latin media.
He has demonstrated his salsa dancing on TV and turned down an offer to be on "Dancing With The Stars" to stay focused on football.
“I see what could happen for me and I’m going to capitalize on it when the time is right. Like I said, I have that pride in my culture and I want to show people that.”
We wish Victor and Giants good luck this weekend. And Victor, if you need any help writing a press release, drop by the Writing Center in Paterson...