Every week Morris Sussex Sports, along with co-sponsors Football University and Athletic Republic of Randolph, identify one player out of the 37 teams we cover as our Player of the Week. We look beyond just stats. Our goal is to honor the best individual performance and how that effort was able to lift his team beyond its perceived boundaries. If you play varsity football in Morris Sussex next week just could quite possibly be your turn to be the FBU Player of the Week Powered by Athletic Republic of Randolph.
There were four Morris-Sussex teams that played last week to kick off the season for Week Zero. Our area needed to start the season with a bang to set the tone for the rest of the year. Well, Morristown-Beard’s Tahj Valentine delivered in a monster way by rushing 19 times for 338-yards and three TDs in a whopping 50-22 dominance over Pennington.
Valentine’s performance earned him a unanimous nomation from all of the Morris Sussex Sports writers to be the FBU Player of the Week Powered by Athletic Republic of Randolph Week Zero Player of the Week. We caught up with Tahj to talk about this weeks’ performance, who the funniest guy on his team is and where he sees himself in ten years.
Morris Sussex Sports: How important was this win for the Crimson?
Tahj Valentine: The win was extremely important. The last two seasons have been tough. So this win is what we needed to boost our confidence and morale.
MSS: What expectations did your team have coming into this season?
TV: Coming off a good summer and preseason we came ready to bring it! Our team is fired up and we definitely have our eyes on states!
MSS: What would suprise people to know about your team?
TV: We are a young team but a dedicated, committed and focused one.
MSS: Who is the strongest player on your team?
TV: Everyone on our team is strong in their own right. I have nothing but respect for what each person bring to the game.
MSS: Who would finish 1-2-3 in the forty?
TV: I don’t know about this one. We have some flashes in the team. Let’s just say things might be a little close! (laughs)
MSS: Who is the most intense player on your team?
TV: Like I said everyone is pretty driven. This is a nice feel because the intensity that is being shown is what we needed to pull this team up. The three of us captains (Tahj, Declan Kelly and Ryan Russo) are definitely trying to model work-hard, play-hard and so far the team seems to be rising to the occasion.
MSS: Who is the funniest?
TV: Isiah our defensive lineman is definitely the one to keep the humor on our team. His funny remarks at the most randomness times always lighten up the mood.
MSS: What is the funniest thing that ever happened in the huddle?
TV: I don’t know that we’ve ever had a funny moment in the huddle, we’re all pretty focused.
MSS: What current or past NFL player do you think you resemble on the field?
TV: I have to say Adrian Peterson because we both are fast and we both keep our feet moving pushing forward through tackles, breaking through to get as many yards as possible. Then once through, we both have the speed to make the fast break to the end zone.
MSS: What was your “welcome to varsity football” moment?
TV: The game at Hanover Park when I was a freshman I took on a tremendously big hit on a kick return and fumbled the ball. That was definitely a “welcome to the real world of varsity play”!
MSS: Who is your role model?
TV: On the field, Ray Louis who used to play for the Ravens because was fierce at his position, but yet humble and an all around nice guy. He is also a motivator. All of these things I pride myself to aim for both on and off the field. Off the field, my mother is by far my top role model for actually the same reasons. She’s fierce at everything she does, including raising me and my sister and brother alone. She’s very generous and humble and she motivates me and my siblings and everyone that she comes in contact with to be standout people of integrity.
MSS: Where do you see yourself in ten years?
TV: That’s a lot of years. I guess I see myself having graduated with a degree in Business and Sports Management and either still exhibiting and contributing my talents on one of the NFL teams or having completed this part of my journey and working on my Sports Law degree. It’s my goal to one day be the first African-American to own my own NFL team just like they do in the NBA.
MSS: What can we expect from the Crimson the rest of the way?
TV: Coming out firing hard, mentally and physically sound and giving everyone a run for their money.