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August 2, 2011

Long finds love off the field

At 6 feet 5, 290 pounds, Jerome Long is one of the biggest members of the San Diego State football team. He plays one of the most physically demanding positions on the field, nose guard, can bench press a whole lot and can squat a whole lot more.

Yet one tiny thing on Long's massive and intimidating frame catches the eye when he's standing in a media room getting interviewed by dozens of reporters:

A small, gold wedding ring planted tightly on his ring finger.

Long, who just turned 21 in April, plans on marrying his college sweetheart and former SDSU athlete Kalynn Craig next summer. It's an interesting position for Long, because while most of his 21-year-old college teammates and friends only have the responsibility of finding their next meal, he's already committed to a marriage.

But Long wouldn't have it any differently.

"I've just been super blessed," Long said. "I've never had a girlfriend before her. She's my first. My first date, everything you could think of. It's just been really awesome. I know she's a perfect match."

Long said the two met because of former teammate Zach Shapiro, a former SDSU linebacker. He introduced them to each other, but Long was so focused on football at the time, he didn't pursue anything.

"But (Shapiro) ended up getting her number for me," Long said. "And it all happened from there."

Long dated her for a few months, and then popped the question in front of family and friends at church:



Long isn't sure how his future marriage will impact his senior season with the Aztecs.

"Obviously there's the distraction part," Long said. "Sometimes if I'm not smart, I'll let things distract me."

But Long is confident that won't happen. In fact, he's already seen Craig push him on days when he wants to be lazy.

"She gets me up and gets me to go work out," Long said. "She was an athlete too. She's really good to me."

Long and the rest of the Aztecs will kick off fall camp next week. And while most of his teammates go home to dorms, roommates and friends, Long will get to be with and talk to his future wife.

And that couldn't excite him more.

"It's been great knowing that I have another significant person in my life," Long said. "She's somebody who really wants the best for me."

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