TOWSON, Md. - Although there nearly 100 student-athletes reporting for pre-season football camp on Sunday, it is doubtful anyone was more excited than senior fullback Paul Stefanik.
Although the Tigers spent Sunday checking into the dorms, filling out paperwork, receiving equipment and attending meetings, it was still a great day for Stefanik, who missed the entire 2010 season.
"I am so excited and it feels great to get back at it," says the Irwin, Pa. native. "It has been a long time for me. You never realize how much you miss it until it is taken away from you."
The entire 2010 year was a very difficult one for Stefanik. In the early part of the year, he was successfully treated for cancer. Once he recovered from that, he built up his strength and was ready to go for the start of pre-season practice.
However, during a scrimmage in the first week of camp, his knee gave out and he suffered a serious knee injury. Surgery followed and Paul was sidelined for the rest of the season.
Since he missed Spring Practice, he will be returning to the football field for the first time in almost a year when the Tigers practice on Monday afternoon.
Stefanik, who started his college career at Kent State, transferred to Towson prior to the 2008 season. In 2008, he played linebacker and appeared in all 12 games. He made 42 tackles to finish seventh on the team.
When Coach Rob Ambrose came to Towson in 2009, he noticed that there was a serious shortage of fullbacks on the roster. So, Paul was switched to fullback.
During the 2009 season, he played in all 11 games and started three times. He did a great job blocking and ran for 18 yards on five carries.
Last year, he was expected to compete for the starting fullback position with Tyler Wharton. But, his season came to an end before it started.
"We are really excited about this season," says Paul. "We have a lot of new faces around here and this is the best summer we've had since I've been in the program. The talent level keeps improving and we're coming together as a team. This should be an exciting season."