Players like Jerry Stabile only come along every so often.
He was a rare combination of size (6-0, 195 pounds), strength (threw the shot put 53-9), speed (hurdler/sprinter in track), toughness and brains (won BC football’s prestigious Scanlan scholar-athlete award).
With Stabile, a ferocious linebacker, Andover’s first-team defense in 1976 gave up just three touchdowns all season en route to winning its second straight EMass. Division 2 Super Bowl.
“When Jerry hit you, it hurt,” said Tom Coffey, a fellow starting linebacker. “He was fast, tough and had a mean streak. He was the definition of a football player.”
For Stabile, it was all about believing.
“When you are on that field, you have to know you are tougher and better than everyone else,” he said. “If you truly believe it, you can do whatever you want.”
Stabile made a lot of believers. And his combination of size and speed earned him plenty of suitors. He chose Boston College over Syracuse, Georgia Tech, Navy and the Ivy Leagues.
There, he played (and played right away) with some top-flight talent like former New England Patriots Fred Smerlas and Steve DeOssie and his roommate, Mike Mayock, now with the NFL Network and ABC Sports.
He played against some top talent, too. His senior year, he faced third-ranked Pitt with Dan Marino and then the next week it was 11th-ranked Stanford with John Elway.
BC nearly pulled the upset against Marino (14-6 loss), then rolled past Stanford 30-13.
Stabile was all over the field that day, including an interception on Elway to go with a whopping four pass-breakups and six tackles. The strong safety was named ECAC Player of the Week and earned Eagle-Tribune Performance of the Year honors
“Looking back at what Elway became, it was a sweet memory,” Stabile said.