Syracuse Orange senior quarterback Ryan Nassib went into preseason camp at Fort Drum in New York not knowing what to expect. It's safe to say he didn't envision being reunited with a childhood friend.
Lieutenant Joe DeNenno and Nassib both hail from Westchester, Pa., but DeNenno wasn't exactly recognizable to Nassib right away.
"At first I didn't know who this guy was when he was staring at me because I haven't seen him since I was five, six years old," Nassib said. "Then once I put the name together and I was reminded who he was and who his family was, all of those memories started coming back. I was more friends with his younger brother and he was more friends with my older sister. It's a small world."
The two hadn't seen one anotherf for about 20 years, but that didn't prevent DeNenno from giving Nassib some preferential treatment.
"His dad's really proud of him and talked to my dad who gave me the heads up a couple of years ago," Lt. DeNenno said. "I didn't put two and two together until I realized he played for Syracuse and he is coming up here. I looked at a few pictures online so I could get his face and hone in on him and try and save him from the drill sergeants."
The team has experienced much during their stay, including various skills training and weaponry and vehicle analysis. Both the military involved and the Orange players have enjoyed the learning experience.
"Coming into this, I didn't know what to expect," Nassib said. "Being here for a few days, I'm shocked with how much I've learned. I never really understood how much leadership and teamwork are involved in the Army. All of those little things that they talk about and they preach, I always find myself kind of thinking I can work that into the football team. I think it will help our team, but we are learning from the best team in the world."
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