This is a printer-friendly version of an article from Zip06.com.Article Published September 24, 2020
Jeremy Rand has transformed himself into a physical presence as well as a solid senior leader for the Valley Regional-Old Lyme (VR-OL) football team. Jeremy earned the designation of being an inner-circle player for the Warriors and has been leading the team by example throughout the offseason.
Even though the there are plenty of questions concerning any form of a potential football season, Jeremy knows that he’s already gotten so much out of his three years competing for the Warriors.
“I think football has really helped me grow as a person—not just physically, but academically,” Jeremy says. “It’s helped me focus on school. The respect you learn from your coaches, that really has stuck with me since I started playing.”
A prime example of Jeremy’s personal growth came during the recent offseason. Jeremy earned his place in VR-OL’s inner circle as a result of his dedication and leadership.
“Our captains are elected by the players at the end of the previous season. So, our captains were selected back in November. I didn’t run for the captainship then, but in the offseason, the coaches saw how I worked. When the beginning of the season came and we started practicing, I was selected as part of the inner-circle members,” says Jeremy, a Lyme resident. “To me, leadership is setting an example for the underclassmen and showing them what they should or shouldn’t be doing. It’s how to balance academics, sports, and how to act properly.”
The mental and emotional benefits that Jeremy has gained from playing football have been huge, but he’s also has gained tremendous physical strength, too. That strength came through hard work at practice and in the weight room.
“Looking through old pictures, my change from sophomore year until now, it’s huge,” Jeremy says. “I’m really proud of how much physically stronger, faster, and better I am. I worked as hard as I possibly could in the weight room.”
VR-OL football Head Coach Tim King has watched Jeremy develop into a powerful contributor on both sides of the ball. Jeremy’s ever-increasing strength allows him to be strong enough and quick enough to play on both offense and defense.
“Jeremy has literally transformed himself physically into a big, strong kid. He put in the work in weight room over in Old Lyme to do it,” says King. “Coach Phil Cohen has watched him, and Jeremy’s been a real leader in that weight room for us over there. It’s been nice having him over there to help keep all the kids working so hard.”
While the weight room had a huge effect on Jeremy’s body, that was also where he learned how to become a leader for his teammates.
“I really tried to take control in the weight room. I wanted everyone on the schedule and working as hard as I was,” Jeremy says. “I was really confident in our ability as a team this year. I was proud of myself and proud of how the team as a whole has grown. I could have seen us going far this year. I just wanted everyone on the same level, working.”
Even though he plays on both sides of the ball, Jeremy feels that he’s most at home on defense as either a middle or outside linebacker. Jeremy is pretty versatile in how he defends and is effective when it comes to stopping the run, the pass, or rushing the quarterback.
“I’m an in-betweener. I am a linebacker who has a balance between speed and strength,” says Jeremy, who plays left guard on offense. “I blitz, and I cover the run as a first priority, but I can drop into coverage for slant routes or anything across the middle. We have bigger linebackers who primarily defend the run.”
Jeremy is weighing his options for playing at the collegiate level. It’s a difficult decision, and Jeremy wants to make sure that his studies don’t suffer during the rigors of a semester combined with the intense dedication required in football. In any event, Jeremy will focus on physicality in his major, whether that be through teaching or rehabilitation.
“I haven’t decided if I plan on playing or not yet. Of course, I love football. I love playing, but I am torn whether I should or not. I would be worried about the pandemic. Still, football is football,” Jeremy says. “Academically, it worries me that it would be all too much. I have a pretty long list of schools, and some have teams and some don’t. I’m planning on staying in the New England region. I feel like it would be nice to get some space, but still stay close enough by.”
There are uncertainties abound for student-athletes everywhere regarding football, but Jeremy is navigating his way through this rough patch with the help of the Warriors’ coaching staff. Jeremy feels extremely grateful to all of his coaches.
“I have to give props to my coaches. They have been so supportive through this entire ordeal. I couldn’t imagine having anyone else. Coach Tim King, Coach Phil Cohen, Coach Bobby Sanchez, they’ve supported me through the offseason and through online schooling,” says Jeremy. “The coaches are continuing with practice for the rest of this week at a minimum. We plan on practicing until we get a clear decision on the spring or on 7-on-7 or on anything. It could all change at any time now.”