Cory Schulz knows he's not one of the biggest players, but he's proven one of the best and brightest seniors attending Westhampton Beach High School.
"I give as much effort as my body allows me to," said Schulz.
Giving his best effort also includes academics — He earned a prestigious county-wide award.
The starting quarterback-free safety for the 2010 Hurricanes' varsity team, Schulz was named to the "Golden 11" and is now among Suffolk County's top scholar-athletes honored by the National Football Foundation.
"It is for the person who excels on the field and in the classroom and I was fortunate to be one of those 11 players," said Schulz.
A total of 54 high schools in the county nominated a player for the honor and only 11 are selected.
"You have to be an outstanding football player and also a scholar," said long-time Westhampton Beach coach Bill Parry.
The "Golden 11" were honored during a recent ceremony at the Crest Hollow County Club in Westbury.
"I think a lot of hard work was put forth," Schulz said. "I did my work in the classroom the best I could. Studying always came first."
Schulz said he carries a 92 academic average and ranks in the top quarter of the Westhampton Beach senior class.
Parry said that Schulz is the fifth Westhampton Beach athlete in the last 14 years to receive the award.
The 5-11, 165-pound Schulz showed consistent dedication to improve his football skills, speed and strength.
"I was never the biggest kid around, but I got in the weight room (five days a week) and tried to be big, strong and fast," said Schulz. "It is not the size of the dog, but the size of the fight in the dog."
Parry quickly recalled the repeated highlights the last two seasons as Schulz competed in 18 games and helped boost Westhampton Beach to the 2010 playoffs.
"I would say he is the second-best free safety we've had and I would say the second-best quarterback," said Parry. "He is right up there. Cory plays like he is 6-1, 200 pounds. He is very physical, an outstanding runner, very fast."
Last season, as he recovered from a broken ankle, Schulz rushed for 890 yards and passed for about 800 yards. He was responsible for 15 touchdowns.
Against Miller Place, he ran for 220 yards during a 28-9 victory and against Rocky Point, a 34-7 romp, he passed for 198 yards.
When opponents had the ball, Schulz made the second-most tackles for the 2010 Hurricanes.
"He is relentless, especially on defense," said Parry. "When he steps on the field, he will knock your head off to get the ball. He plays bigger than he is."
Schulz, who was named to the 2010 all-county team, threw a touchdown pass last November and sparkled on defense when Westhampton Beach won its first playoff game since 1989, a 22-13 victory at Deer Park. Parry has known Schulz for more than eight years as he was a water boy when his older brother, Ryan, was a two-way player in the early 2000s. Currently, Schulz works at a Westhampton Beach restaurant to earn money to pay for college. He will compete for the Hurricanes' varsity lacrosse team this spring.
After he graduates in June, Schulz is determined to play football at the next level and he has traveled upstate to visit colleges and talk to coaches.
"Where ever he goes, he will fit in," said Parry. The question is how much will he grow? He has the athletic ability. He just has to fill out. If he puts on 10 pounds, he has a good shot to play as a freshman."