Greg Scruggs is rookie defensive end for the Seattle Seahawks, drafted out of the Louisville in the seventh round of the 2012 NFL draft. A Cincinnati native that was in the band three years prior to joining the St. Xavier High School's football team. Scruggs, with two quarterback sacks, four hits and seven hurries in 196 pass rushes this year, submitted the winning nomination for his high school coach Steve Specht, this year's Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year.
"He's the reason I'm here," Scruggs said via Bengals.com. "I've been blessed athletically, but without him bringing people through to see me, contacting people … he made my highlight film and I don't know how he did it."
"The Bengals offer Steve our most enthusiastic congratulations on this national honor," said Bengals president Mike Brown. "It’s a joy for us to hear. Steve is a leader among the exceptionally strong community of high school coaches we have in our area, and his selection is a tribute to all of them. The Bengals are fortunate to be in a community where the football foundation is so strong, and of course we are proud to have one of our Paul Brown Award winners achieve this distinction."
Despite the great relationship between Scruggs and Specht (which you can read in the two links above), Scruggs, who met Marvin Lewis at 13 years old, remains a hardcore Bengals fans.
How big of a Bengals fan? Scruggs said it was a thrill for him to play against the Raiders in the preseason, since Carson Palmer was the Bengals quarterback when he first got into football.
"They're still my favorite team except when we play them," Scruggs said. "I was praying to the God Lord Jesus that I would get drafted to the Bengals, but I knew it wouldn't happen with the D-line they have. They're all my type of D-linemen (tall and fast.) They've got Carlos (Dunlap), Mike (Johnson). Even the bigger guys … Domata (Peko) can move. Just go down the line. Geno (Atkins). It keeps going."
You can take the kid out of Cincinnati, but never Cincinnati out of the kid. Or something cliche like.
As quickly as Scruggs arrived Thursday night under the radar, he's leaving just as fast. He's headed back to Cincinnati for the Boys Hope gala Saturday night, a must for the guy that considers himself "the poster child" for the group.
"I take pride in that. Not in an arrogant way, but in a humble way," Scruggs said. "I'm proud of where I came from."