A tackle on the original three Newark State College (now Kean University) football teams from 1970 through 1972, Joseph Schaffren was needed to play both offense and defense for the first two seasons due to the squad's lack of manpower. He was able to switch solely to the defensive line as a senior in 1972 as the team grew in numbers.
A co-captain all three of his years in uniform, Schaffren was a leading tackler on those early teams. As a lineman, he didn't receive a lot of the glamour normally associated with quarterbacks and receivers, but his leadership and the toughness he exhibited by playing on both sides of the ball served as an inspiration to the other members of the fledgling program.
As the Newark State football program was not a formal member of the New Jersey State College Athletic Conference until his career was through, Schaffren was ineligible for the All-Conference consideration his abilities on the field would have likely merited.
Schaffren earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in industrial education in 1973.