Alex Silvestro enjoyed a stellar football career at Rutgers, but the most impressive statistic concerning the Paulsboro High graduate had nothing to do with tackling, blocking or scoring touchdowns.
Silvestro appeared in 49 games during his Rutgers career. And at each and every one of those contests, his parents, Alex and Debbie, were in attendance.
Whether the game was in Miami, Cincinnati, Louisville, Kentucky, Toronto or Alabama, his parents were in the stands, just as they were during his time at Paulsboro, where he also wrestled and played baseball.
At Paulsboro, he was a three-time Inquirer all-South Jersey selection in football. As a senior in 2006, he was named The Inquirer's South Jersey defensive player of the year.
"My family is such a big part of my life and it meant so much to me to have them there every game," Silvestro said Monday night before being honored as the Brooks-Irvine Memorial Football Club of South Jersey's Football Bowl Subdivision I college player of the year during the organization's 66th annual dinner at Mount Laurel's Westin Hotel.
Silvestro never redshirted at Rutgers and appeared in 11 games as a freshman, making three starts.
In his final three years, he was a fixture on the Rutgers defensive line. His parents got to see him make quite a few plays. Silvestro had 154 tackles, 351/2 for loss, and had 10 sacks in his career.
This season, the 6-foot-4, 260-pound defensive end led Rutgers in tackles for loss with 141/2 and in sacks with 51/2. He had 56 tackles, broke up three passes, and recorded five quarterback hurries.
And his parents saw every game.
Even now, with his career over, his parents are still making road trips, albeit not as far. On Sunday, they attended the Rutgers football banquet, where their son was honored as the Scarlet Knights' defensive MVP. And they were in attendance at Monday's dinner.
"We just had a lot of fun going to the games," Debbie Silvestro said.
The Silvestros have two sons and two daughters, who all played sports. Since the children began competing, at least one parent would make it to their events.
"With kids, they would have events going on the same time, so we would have to split up," Debbie Silvestro said.
The parents didn't look upon it as a sacrifice. In fact, they are as sad as their son that his college career is over.
"You can't imagine how much we looked forward to being there," his father said.
Silvestro showed the same dedication to the Rutgers program that he received from his parents.
"Alex is the type of player our program is all about - smart, tough, and unselfish," Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. "He is a player that everyone in the Rutgers football family knew they could count on."
Silvestro, an economics major, says he can't believe his college career is over.
"It just flew by and I loved every second of it," he said. "The thrill of running out of the tunnel before the game, hearing the crowd, is something that will always be special."
Silvestro is hoping that his parents' trips to watch him play aren't over. He is working out and hoping to get a chance at professional football.
He said all his efforts are to prepare himself for Rutgers' "pro day" workouts for scouts, which will take place before the NFL draft.
"Ever since I was in first grade, the NFL is something I wanted to do," Silvestro said. "I just love the game."
So do his parents. They would like nothing more than to change their weekend football traveling plans from Saturdays to Sundays next year.