Matthew Bergeron dreamed of bringing Syracuse University to a Bowl and now that it’s done, it is with a broken heart that he has to give up participating in the game. The Quebec blocker will put all his energies into his preparation for the NFL Draft.
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The Syracuse Orange will play in their first NCAA Division 1 Bowl since 2018 when the team takes on the University of Minnesota Gophers on Dec. 29 in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.
During an interview with the Journal, Bergeron said he was torn at the idea of putting a cross on the highlight of his team’s season.
More and more players who are recognized as good draft prospects are opting for this avenue, a question of reducing the risk of injury and putting all their energies into the grueling process that leads to the NFL draft at the end of April.
Bergeron is considered a prospect who could be drafted in the first three rounds, April 27-29.
“The decision was very difficult to make after all the effort I put into Syracuse. I find it hard because over the years I have built great relationships with coaches and players. I have so much love for the program and my teammates, but I had to make a decision based on the long term,” he said.
A popular captain
In Syracuse, the young man from Victoriaville was far from being a player among many others. Dominant on the field and appreciated in the locker room, he was elected among the group of captains by his teammates, before the season.
This is why it seems difficult for him to draw a line under the adventure.
“I was part of the success of the team, but I accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl (game of the top graduating prospects in the NCAA) at the end of January and playing in a Bowl on December 29 took time away from me. of preparation. I wanted to make sure I was 100% healthy for the Senior Bowl and the stages to come,” explained the former Filons du Cégep de Thetford Mines.
The steps Bergeron alludes to, after the Senior Bowl, are those that will lead him to the draft.
First there will be the NFL Combine, where more than 300 prospects are invited annually to Indianapolis. Then will follow his Pro Day, during which he will train individually in front of the recruiters, on a date to be determined.
“These are three important events for my future and I have to do everything to prepare myself well for them,” mentioned the offensive lineman.
Although he won’t be in the Pinstripe Bowl alongside his family, Bergeron can relish the fact that he was instrumental in helping the program regain its former glory after losing seasons of 5-7, 1-10 and 5- 7 from 2019 to 2021.
“I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished as leaders with the program. We had three seasons filled with defeats and it was difficult, but we did a good job of changing everyone’s state of mind.