Text and Photos by Jerry Del Priore
As Palyte Stubbs’ high school career at Canarsie Educational Campus started to wind down in May, he grew increasingly anxious because he had not yet heard from any college football programs.
“Yeah, that was going through my mind a lot, every morning and night,” Stubbs said when asked if he thought his playing days were over. “I was thinking if I was ever going to put on helmet again, if I am ever going to get the opportunity to play football again.”
But then he received word from Hudson Valley Community College Head Coach Michael Muehling, that he was interested in him joining its National Junior College Athletic Association Region III (NJCAA) football program, lifting a huge weight off his shoulders.
“It was overwhelming. I didn’t know what to do, or what to say,” Stubbs recollected. “But I know what to do now. I know how to handle situations better, where I am not going to mess up again.”
And that’s to study and play hard, which, Stubbs said, should help him avoid a few senseless mistakes he made in high school.
“I am going to keep it real. I didn’t graduate on time, but God gave me the opportunity to do what I got to do to make it right,” the Brownsville native admitted. “I went to summer school, and finished school. Now I get to do my thing.”
Canarsie head coach Kyle Allen believes Stubbs has what it takes to thrive on the collegiate level, both academically and athletically, as long as he keeps his feelings in check.
“He was one of those kids that had so much hard work and potential inside of him, but he had to learn how to control his emotions,” Allen said. “Once he became more of a master of his emotions, he was able to clearly see what was going on around him. And as long as he takes that with him to the next level, he’ll be real successful. He’s hard a worker, so he’ll be able to get through academically and obviously, athletically. He just has to stay focused.”
When healthy, Stubbs was one of the PSAL’S better running backs. But avoiding getting hurt was tricky. He played through a few nagging injuries in his junior and senior years, which hampered his play, and cost him a game both seasons.
However, Stubbs has been working out hard during the summer, and says he’s healed and ready to hit the field with a vengeance.
“I’m ready to go,” he said emphatically. “I am very excited. I can’t wait to get in there with my new teammates. I’m going to miss my old teammates, but life goes on.”
Stubbs won’t be totally alone, though, as he will be playing with a few former Chief chums. Devonte Malone, Jesse Rivera, Shawn Cabbell and Ralph Foreste are all headed to HVCC in Troy, N.Y.
“It makes me feel more comfortable, because I have someone to talk to, get advice,” the 19-year-old two-sport athlete explained. “We can learn together, grind together, and pick each other up because we’re from the same place.”
This school experience will be much different for Stubbs this time around, as he said he will be a student first and athlete second.
“I am going to be a real student-athlete this time,” Stubbs said. “In high school, I was just an athlete. Coach Allen was telling me for the longest that school means more than anything in life. I saw it the hard way. So I know I got to be a student-athlete the right way.”
Hit the books first, gridiron second—because Coach Allen always says there’s no football without the grades. And Stubbs evidently understand that.