DENVER – For Denver Broncos running back, Knowshon Moreno, playing in a Super Bowl in his home state, is a dream come true.
Moreno, a native of Belford, New Jersey, a neighborhood in Middletown Township, heads a Broncos contingent of Garden State standouts in Mike Adams(Passaic County) and defensive lineman Shaun Phillips(Willingboro) into Super Bowl XLVIII
More known for fine Italian dining, Wawa’s, Jersey Shore and The Soprano’s, the Garden State has produced some quality NFL players, including one Heisman Trophy winner, five Super Bowl winners and one Super Bowl MVP in the last few years.
Below is a sample of current New Jersey-born NFL players from the Garden State:
- B.J. Raji, defensive end, (Green Packers, Super Bowl XLV champion), Westwood
- Greg Olson, tight end, (Carolina Panthers), Wayne Hills
- Malcolm Jenkins, defensive back, (New Orleans Saints, Super XLIV champion), Piscataway
- Miles Austin, wide receiver, (Dallas Cowboys), Garfield
- Victor Cruz, wide receiver, (New York Giants, Super Bowl XLVI champion), Paterson Catholic
- Jason and Devin McCourty, defensive backs (New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans), St. Joseph
- Kenny Britt, wide receiver, (Tennessee Titans), Bayonne
- Joe Flacco, quarterback, (Baltimore Ravens, Super Bowl XLVII champion and MVP), Audobon
- Bryant McKinnie, offensive lineman, (Miami Dolphins, Super Bowl XLVII champion with Baltimore Ravens), Woodbury
- Brian Cushing, inside linebacker, (Houston Texans), Bergen Catholic
- Mohamed Sanu, wide receiver, (Cincinnati Bengals), South Brunswick
- Anthony Fasano, tight end, (Kansas City Chiefs), Verona
- Shonn Greene, running back, (Tennessee Titans), Atco (Winslow Township)
- Muhammad Wilkerson, defensive lineman, (New York Jets), Linden
- Kyle Wilson, defensive back, (New York Jets), Piscataway
- Tamba Hali, defensive end, (Kansas City Chiefs), Teaneck
- Donald Brown, running back, (Indianapolis Colts), Red Bank Catholic
- Ron Dayne, running back, ( New York Giants, 1999 Heisman Trophy), Pine Hill (Overbrook)
Thanks to the top-quality talent and the rise of B1G 10-bound Rutgers in college football, New Jersey is slowly—but surely—becoming one of the premier states for high school football in the country. One would not think of New Jersey as a football hotbed, unlike other football-crazy states such as California, Texas, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Georgia, let alone produce quality players such as Moreno, Flacco, Cruz and Raji.
Moreno, who starred at Middletown High, led the Eagles to three Central New Jersey Group III state championships and would finish as New Jersey’s all-time leading rusher. Moreno would take his act south to Athens and the University of Georgia, where he would team up with current Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and Cincinnati Bengals All-Pro wideout A.J. Green to form one of the most dangerous offenses in college football.
A first round pick by the Broncos in 2009, Moreno is enjoying career-highs in games(16), rushing yards(1,038) and touchdowns(10).
Now 42.5 miles away from home and sixth minutes away from a Super Bowl championship on his home soil, Moreno has a chance to have a truly memorable homecoming.