It was the Long Island Class III championship — the biggest football stage of Paul Magloire Jr.’s life. Even then, the high school senior showed the type of grit, determination and smarts that eventually led him to a shot at an NFL career.
Magloire, playing quarterback, had the game of his life that night in 2010 at Hofstra University’s Shuart Stadium, rushing for three touchdowns and a pair of 2-point conversions against Sayville. But one play outdid everything: In one of the conversion attempts, Magloire leaped over two defenders on the 5-yard line and into the end zone to put the Owls in the lead for good — a display of athleticism that his high school coach, Stephen LoCicero, has never forgotten.
“It’s gotta be one of the greatest memories of my life and in Long Island football history,” LoCicero said. “Because when you see it on tape, you just can’t imagine how this man was able to get in. It’s insanity.” Magloire was instrumental in Lynbrook’s notching the Long Island championship in what was the Owls’ first appearance since they won the inaugural Nassau-vs.-Suffolk contest in 1992.
Magloire’s high school heroics were just the beginning. On April 29 he signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent. The 6-foot-1, 227-pound linebacker was born 186 miles southeast of Tampa Bay in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
“I feel great about being with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers,” Magloire said. “I’m extremely proud of myself for overcoming all the obstacles along this journey.”
His road to the NFL began when he transferred to Lynbrook from Freeport High School as a ninth-grader. Though he was mostly known for his defensive skills, LoCicero said, he put Magloire at quarterback during his senior year because he always puts his best athlete at signal caller. He was the first African-American quarterback in the school’s history.
The decision paid dividends.
“In the Long Island championship game, right before halftime we had no timeouts left,” LoCicero recalled. “He called his own play — a quarterback sneak — without anybody’s help. He was so smart to call the play, and scored a touchdown.”
After graduation, Magloire bounced around colleges as he looked for the right fit. He was quarterback at Milford Academy before switching to safety. He played at Appalachian State in 2012 and 2013. Then he transferred to Arizona Western in Yuma, Ariz., for a season, in hopes of gaining more exposure.
In 2015, Magloire attended the University of Arizona, where he flourished. In two seasons with the Wildcats, he had 153 tackles and 2½ sacks, mostly as a linebacker. He was so successful that many experts believed he would be selected in the 2017 NFL Draft, which took place April 27-29. Though he wasn’t chosen, Tampa Bay signed him almost immediately after the draft concluded.
“Each school that I attended taught me a lesson,” Magloire said. “And so has the game of football itself. One day, I hope to have my son follow in my footsteps, playing football — hopefully at a Long Island school.” Magloire’s son, Brayden, turns 1 on May 27.
Magloire, 25, is now working out with the Buccaneers. He said he wakes up at 5 a.m. every day and trains until 5 p.m. and studies plays when he returns to his apartment. He planned to return to Long Island over the holiday weekend to celebrate Brayden’s birthday, and then head back for minicamp as he continues to vie for a spot on the team’s roster.
LoCicero said he was confident that an NFL team would sign Magloire because the Raiders, Seahawks, Cardinals and Broncos all contacted LoCicero to find out more about the type of person and player Magloire was in high school. LoCicero described him as “electric and energetic” and said he is “as fine a person as he is a football player.”
“There’s no person I’ve ever met in my entire life that wanted something so bad and was gonna get it achieved in all possible means,” LoCicero said. “He’s driven for success.”
Magloire comes from a football family. His brother Mitchell played at the University of Akron and signed a free agent NFL contract, but was cut before he ever played a game. Magloire is also the second player from Lynbrook High to generate interest from the Buccaneers. Last year, defensive end Mike Kozlaowski was invited to Tampa Bay’s training camp, but was eventually cut.
LoCicero, who is in his 27th year as a high school football coach and is looking forward to his 12th season at Lynbrook, where he also teaches history and finance, said he has stayed in touch with Magloire, and was texting with him during the draft. “I know that faith plays a big part in his life,” LoCicero said. “And he kept saying, ‘Everything is really good. I’m very blessed. I’m very fortunate.’”
LoCicero noted that he intends to use Magloire’s success to show his student athletes that a Lynbrook player can reach the pinnacle if he or she works hard.
“He’s an exceptional young man,” LoCicero said. “It’s very rare in your life that you meet someone who is driven for their own personal dreams and then can achieve them. I think it’s exciting for me personally to be around that caliber athlete and that caliber human being. The reason why I teach and I coach is to hopefully be a small part of someone’s success when they’re chasing their dreams.”