NCAA FB

NFL-bound OL helps storm victims

Share This Story

   
 

NEW YORK (AP)

Miles from home, Oday Aboushi watched all the news reports and felt helpless as Superstorm Sandy tore through the neighborhoods in which he grew up.

The offensive lineman from the University of Virginia, a potential first-round pick in the NFL draft, knew what was happening: homes of friends destroyed, parts of Staten Island where he once hung out under water.

And Aboushi, all 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds of him, couldn't do a thing about it.

''Yeah, it was a little tough hearing about all the damage being done and having your family on the island, as well, close to the water,'' he said Saturday. ''We were blessed to have nothing happen to us, my family. But just to hear about what was happening and seeing pictures of what was going on here was so nervewracking.''

Done with his studies — officially a UVA graduate as of this week — and looking toward an NFL career, Aboushi needed to take care of things back home.

He trained for a week at Athletes Performance, a pre-draft camp, in Pensacola, Fla. Aboushi then returned to Staten Island and the Midland Beach neighborhood, one of the harder-hit areas along the east coast of the New York borough, to lend a hand to nearly 1,000 residents in need of food, clothing and supplies.

''On the way here, I drove past New Dorp Lane and Midland Beach and to see how the houses look now, which I know wouldn't even compare to how they looked the day after the storm, it's definitely an eye-opener,'' he said. ''It makes you feel blessed and privileged to be in a position where you can actually give back and help people.''

ACCORDING TO JIM

This could be a season of destiny for the Harbaugh-led 49ers. See who's in the playoffs, and when they play.

Aboushi was joined by his family in giving out donated items at the Olympia Activity Center, a modest building usually used for parties, banquets, meetings and sports events. On Saturday, it was a makeshift safe haven for families still without heat, homes or food. Across the street, the ruined innards of some homes sat in large metal dumpsters. Other houses still had their windows ominously taped — just as they were before the storm hit on Oct. 29.

Hundreds of people lined up outside the center, which had a banner draped across the entrance: ''Occupy Sandy Relief.'' Inside was a room filled with canned goods, dry food and mounds of warm clothes, including 100 Reebok winter coats donated by Jets linebacker David Harris. Mark Rosen of Sabrett Hot Dogs had nearly a half-dozen vending carts set up outside to cook thousands of free frankfurters for anyone who came by.

Aboushi, wearing an orange Virginia Cavaliers hoodie, also spent time signing autographs for fans proud of the local kid who came back to help.

''It brings you back to earth where you think to yourself, `I could be that person or that could be my family,''' Aboushi said. ''So I know if I was in that position, I know people would be trying to help me, too.''

Aboushi grew up in Tottenville at the southern tip of Staten Island and went to Xaverian High School in Brooklyn, right over the Verrazano Bridge. In the days following the storm, Aboushi read on Facebook and Twitter about how some former high school classmates had been hit hard, guys with whom he spent time in class and on the football field.

''I knew there was something I needed to do about it to try to help,'' he said. ''People are cleaning up and getting better every day, so I didn't want to wait until it was too late to help. And I wanted to do it before I even got to the NFL.''

That time is coming soon. Aboushi is expected to be picked in the first round or early in the second, at left or right tackle. He is athletic and agile. He was a first-team all-ACC selection this season and was an early roster selection to the Senior Bowl on Jan. 26 in Mobile, Ala.

NEED SOME? GET SOME

Feed your NFL addiction! Come feast on all the news in our updating blog.

Aboushi will remain in Staten Island through the holidays and then return to Florida to train for the Senior Bowl.

''I'm going to enjoy my family and enjoy my city over the next week,'' he said with a big smile. ''I'm not going to see a lot of people for a long time with all the training, so it'll be nice to hang out with everyone.''

After the Senior Bowl, Aboushi will prepare for the NFL combine in Indianapolis in February and try to impress scouts. Then he'll find out what his future holds with the April draft.

''It's encouraging to see those projections and have people noticing you, knowing that your hard work is paying off,'' Aboushi said. ''Growing up, when I picked Virginia, I had this in my head from Day 1. This has always been part of the plan. So to see it come together, there's nothing better.''

Moments after saying that, some of the first groups waiting outside were let into the center. Aboushi was there to greet them.

''This was the next big thing on my calendar,'' he said. ''I was prepping myself for it and busy getting everybody on board with it. I was anxious about it, but the day for me to help is finally here.''

Tagged: Virginia, Oday Aboushi

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

College Football Pick'em on FOX


NCAA FB Videos

Sumlin annoyed by media's Manziel questions Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Kevin Sumlin responds to questions about life after Johnny Football by toying wi...

AJ Pasquale's journey back to UCLA Posted: Jun 17, 2014
UCLA football ops intern AJ Pasquale describes his own personal journey after th...

Winston issued adult civil citation Posted: Apr 30, 2014
Get the latest news surrounding Jameis Winston's recent shoplifting fiasco.

Get Inside the Locker Room with Scout.com

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/759777/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_759000/ff_759777_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_State_Spartans/browse/featuredproduct/760171/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_760000/ff_760171_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White
    Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_USC_Trojans/browse/featuredproduct/761373/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_761000/ff_761373_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/829709/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829709_xl.jpg&w=100 64.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimso..
    Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_LSU_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/829740/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829740_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple
    Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_Sooners/browse/featuredproduct/830935/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_830000/ff_830935_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/861243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861243_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue
    adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Nebraska_Cornhuskers/browse/featuredproduct/861247/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861247_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapback Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1087345/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1087000/ff_1087345_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapba..
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1093431/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1093000/ff_1093431_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash