By Joseph Santoliquito
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS)—To see Ron Jaworski, you would never think he ever had a bad day in his life. The former Eagles All-Pro quarterback is a perpetual smile, but nothing seems to brighten him up more than talking about football. And there may be no better celebration of football—at every level—than the Maxwell Club, the nation's oldest football club.
Jaworski, President of the Maxwell Club, kicked off the 75th anniversary dinner at Harrah's in Atlantic City on Friday afternoon, honoring Andrew Luck as the Maxwell Club's Collegiate Player of the Year, LSU's Tyrann Mathieu as the winner of the 17th Chuck Bednarik Award for the Defensive Player of the Year and locally Jim Cashman from Haddonfield High School, Noah Spence, from Bishop McDevitt (Harrisburg), and Brendan Nosovitch, from Allentown Central Catholic.
"This is fairly simple, the Maxwell Football Club is all about football on every level, and we've kept consistent from where and when the club started to where it is today," said Jaworski, an ESPN football analyst who still lives in the Philadelphia area. "It's what we preach and practice here, and it's why this club is so important, because it is a celebration of our game."
For high school stars like Cashman, Spence and Nosovitch, it was an eye-popping experience to be presented Friday morning before a hundred media members and have cameras flashing, as the photographers jockeyed for position to get shots of Luck and Mathieu.
"It is humbling," said Cashman, a large offensive tackle who's committed to Boston College and was named New Jersey Player of the Year by the Maxwell Club. "It's such a big deal, but I think the best part of this has been to talk to guys like Mathieu and Luck. Luck was great. He spoke the importance of spending time with your teammates and the adjustments you have to make at the next level."
Spence, named National Player of the Year and Ohio State commit, was blown away by the attention. The soft-spoken defensive end is still getting accustomed to all this attention.
"I feel really blessed to be here," said Spence. "Being recognized like this does humble you, but it also makes you feel that all the time and commitment and dedication you gave turned into something, and it's shown me I still have to work harder to succeed at the higher level."
Nosovitch snapped almost every Pennsylvania passing record in history, won a state championship his junior year by directing the Vikings over Spence's McDevitt team, the high school alma mater of Eagles' All-Pro tailback LeSean McCoy, and was the recipient of the Maxwell Club's Jim Henry Award.
The Henry Award is unique because it recognizes a player's attributes on the field, in the classroom and the countless hours a high school star commit to community service.
"This is still all sinking in," said Nosovitch, who will play for Steve Spurrier at South Carolina. "Winning the Henry Award means a lot to me, because of everything is represents for football, academics and helping out the Little Vikings, kids coming up playing football. I got to meet Andrew Luck, I got to meet Tyrann Mathieu. I look back on everything I've done and I can't be more grateful than to all the people who helped me get here, like my family, my coaches, my friends, and Allentown Central Catholic. This whole thing has been a great experience, something I'll never forget."
for more features.