Local Footballers Look To New Season; Others Cut

Former Southern Regional standout Mike Gesicki (86) competes during the preseason for the Miami Dolphins. (Photo courtesy Miami Dolphins)

Former Southern Regional High School players Mike Gesicki and Clark Harris have landed berths on National Football League rosters.

Gesicki, a tight end out of Penn State University, hopes for a big rookie season with the Miami Dolphins.

Harris, a long snapper from Rutgers University, is with the Cincinnati Bengals and hopes to earn All-Pro honors for the second straight season.

Both played for coach Chuck Donohue at Southern.

Former Southern Regional standout Mike Gesicki (86) competes during the preseason for the Miami Dolphins. (Photo courtesy Miami Dolphins)

The news was not as positive, however, for ex-Brick Memorial and Lakewood standouts Mike Basile and Tyrice Beverette. Basile was waived by the New York Giants. Beverette was cut loose by the Bengals.

Miami coach Adam Gase said Gesicki, drafted 42nd overall and 10th in the second round by the Dolphins, has proven he’s ready to be a starter or at least handle a large role in the offense thanks to the tremendous progress he has made since being selected. Gesicki, best known for his pass catching ability and athleticism, has developed mentally and as a blocker since coming to the Dolphins.

“I’m still learning and still trying to pick up some new things,” said Gesicki, whose team opens its regular season Sunday, Sept. 9, against the Tennessee Titans at 1 p.m. “I’m not even close to where I want to be, but I’ll continue to keep working and learning from the other guys and just continue to progress. But I definitely feel a lot more comfortable than when I first got here.

“When you first get here, it’s a matter of trying to grasp the playbook and all that stuff. I have made my fair share of mistakes and have learned from those mistakes. I will take those experiences, learn from them and take it into the regular season.”

Gesicki is the Dolphins’ highest-drafted tight end since 1974 and the team chose him with the intention of starting him. He caught one pass for 10 yards during the preseason.

“He’s going to play,” Gase said. “We’re going to have a mix of packages and things that we’re going to do. We have a plan.”

He will have several family members and friends flying to Sunday’s game.

Ex-Southern Regional star Clark Harris is one of the National Football League’s top long snappers. He’s shown with his award after setting a world record. (Photo courtesy of Jim Hutchinson)

“It’s gonna be exciting,” he said. “I’ve obviously been working for this for a long time and everybody in this locker room went through training camp and all that kind of stuff. It’s ultimately what you work for.”

Gesicki signed a $6,611,924 contract. It features $4,149,214 in guaranteed money, including a $2,888,672 signing bonus. The other guaranteed portions of the contract are his 2018 and 2019 salaries.

Gesicki, an advertising and public relations major, was a four-year letterman and a three-year starter at Penn State. He played in 51 games with 36 starts. His 129 receptions were ninth overall in school history and the most among tight ends. His 1,481 receiving yards were the most in school history by a tight end and 17th by a player at any position.

His 15 receiving touchdowns were the most in Penn State history by a tight end and ninth by a player at any position.

As a senior, Gesicki started all 13 games and caught 57 passes for 563 yards and nine touchdowns. He averaged 9.9 yards per catch en route to second team All-American and first team All-Big Ten Conference honors.

He’s a 6-foot-6, 245-pounder. He wears jersey No. 86 with the Dolphins.

Harris, last season, played in the Pro Bowl – the league’s All-Star Game. He was selected by the American Football Conference, the staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was chosen by coach Mike Tomlin as a “need” player. He was the first Cincinnati long snapper in history to earn a Pro Bowl nod.

He had four snaps in the game (one field goal and three extra points), including one for the winning point, in the AFC’s 24-23 victory over the National Football Conference. He was named one of the AFC’s team captains.

During a Pro Bowl practice prior to the game, Harris set a Guinness World Record for the longest recorded snap at 36 yards, eight inches, shattering the previous record of 34 yards by Jase Whitner in Perrysburg, Ohio, in 2017.

Former Brick Memorial standout Mike Basile. (Photo courtesy Monmouth University Athletics Communications Department)

Harris competed in each of the Bengals’ 16 regular season games. He made four tackles on special teams. He handled all 143 deep snaps, 89 on punts and 54 on placekicks, without an unplayable delivery.

Harris has played in all but three games, including the playoffs, since joining the Bengals on Oct. 13, 2009. He has yet to botch a snap as a Bengal. He has played in 123 straight games, including the postseason, with Cincinnati.

Harris was drafted in the seventh round by the Green Bay Packers in 2007. He has also been with the Detroit Lions and the Houston Texans.

Harris did not earn an accrued year of experience toward NFL free agency in 2007 or 2008 because he was not on a 53-player roster, a Reserve/Injured list or a reserve/physically unable to Perform List for the required minimum of six games in either season.

Now in his 10th professional season, Harris this year will earn a base salary of $1,015,000 and a workout bonus of $10,000. He will carry a cap hit of $1,070,000 and a dead cap value of $55,000.

Former Lakewood standout Tyrice Beverette, wearing the white jersey, is a picture of determination on defense for Stony Brook University. (Photo courtesy Stony Brook University Athletics Communications Department)

The visiting Bengals will open their regular season Sunday, Sept. 9, at 1 p.m. against the Indianapolis Colts.

Harris starred at tight end at Rutgers and handled the Scarlet Knights’ long snapping duties. He was a three-time first-team All-Big East Conference selection. He played in 46 games from 2003-06 with 42 starts. He finished his career ranked sixth in program history in receptions (143) and receiving yards and tied for seventh in touchdown catches (11).

He caught a pass in 38 straight games for what was the third-longest streak in Big East history. He had five career games of either 100 or more receiving yards.

Harris is a 6-foot-5, 250-pounder. He wears jersey No. 46.

Basile, a former Monmouth University star as a defensive back, made one solo tackle and notched one assisted stop with the Giants during the preseason.

Beverette, who starred in the defensive backfield at Stony Brook University, made three solo tackles and added one assisted tackle during the preseason.

  NOTE: miamidolphins.com, mypalmbeachpost.com, overthecap.com. cincinnatibengals.com, newyorkgiants.com and sportrac.com contributed to this report.

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Chris Christopher covers sports for Micromedia Publications Inc. with knowledge, pride and passion. His beats are the high school, college, professional, youth and recreational scenes. A three-time New Jersey Press Association award winner for sports writing, Christopher was inducted into the Shore Football Coaches Foundation Hall of Fame in 2015 for his work in the media. The Lakewood resident enjoys taking walks in Ocean County Park and on the boardwalks in Ocean and Monmouth counties and rooting for the New York Mets.