Tight End Cameron MacPherson, who just finished his senior season at Syracuse, recently gave a speech at the NFF Central New York Chapter's Awards Banquet. A semifinalist for the 2016 William V. Campbell Trophy, he is the grandson of College Football Hall of Fame coach Dick MacPherson. Click here for a story about Cameron on FootballMatters.org.

Thank you. And on behalf of the High school scholar athletes assembled here, of which I am a proud alumnus, and the college athletes here, of which I am a humble representative, I want to thank you all for this wonderful event.

Thank you to Ed Ferrante, Rick Rannucci, Barry, Howie, Rose, and everyone at the CNY National Football Foundation for making today possible. I know I speak for everyone here in saying that we are honored and very grateful to have a team so committed to the success of Central New York Football. And thank you to Tuxedo Junction for the most difficult task of all; making this gruff assortment of football players look dapper for the day.

Well my grandfather was a football coach and he made a living speaking to football crowds. He offered me advice for occasions such as these, “Short speeches make for long friendships.” So I will be brief.

To be a scholar-athlete requires uncommon determination, grit, and focus. But to come from football and to have those values forged in the crucible of the gridiron, you arrive at a much different understanding of success. All of the student-athletes up here are and should be proud of the success they’ve had as stars on the field, scholars in the classroom, and citizens in the community. And it took incredible drive for us to reach these heights and achieve what we have.

But I also believe that if you asked any single one of these fine young men about their success, they would immediately refer you to those who helped them achieve it. In football, we learn that the success of the team is the success of the individual. We learn to look outwards, to play for the brother next to us and to treat his success as our own. We learn the strength of bonds formed through the course of harsh sacrifice in pursuit of a common goal. We learn, in short, to celebrate with our teammates.

So while it is an incredible and proud honor to be recognized among this group of hardworking, exemplary athletes and citizens, it would be false to claim this success as my own. This award belongs as much to me as to my teammates. Teammates like the players I competed with, who shared struggles and laughter and memories that I will carry with me forever. And I mean that. Teammates like my coaches, who insisted upon excellence when I settled for competence. Teammates like my mother, whose sacrifice is not measured in sweat or wind sprints but in miles on an odometer and hours invested in my character and leadership.

So I encourage all of us to celebrate this success proudly, but remember to do so with your teammates. And to everyone on my team who made it here, I want to thank you for everything you’ve done to mold me into the man I am today.

Football has a unique ability to bring people together, which is especially important in these divided times. Just think, one week from today, despite all of our proclaimed differences, millions of people in the United States and billions around the world will unite for four hours with one thing in mind that’s as American as apple pie: rooting against the Patriots.

I am thankful for all the people football has brought together in my life and for the team I have assembled. On behalf of all the athletes who join me on this stage, I want to thank everyone who made this event, and the success it commemorates, possible.