Blackstone Valley Tech Star To Play Football at D1 Bryant Univ.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Football, A Family Affair
Football and family were always closely associated throughout Shawn's youth. Shawn fondly remembers experiencing the game at many different moments of his childhood. "Football has always been such an important part of my life. My Dad is a huge Notre Dame Fighting Irish fan, and I always had a Penn State Nittany Lions football around until I was about 11 years old" said Shawn. Football progressed from an infant's interest to a young man's yearning as Shawn began to take football very seriously in his Pop Warner years in middle school. "I feel like so many kids have dreams of becoming professional athletes. But, when I got older, I really took my dedication to another level. My dad was a big part of that. We would always look at film together and take the time to go over what parts of my game I could improve."
Shawn's father Mark has experience throughout Central Massachusetts as a head coach. Shawn's father most recently coached for Uxbridge High School, but took the year off to watch Shawn play his senior season. "Football is something that is unbelievably important to my son and I," Mark said. "I would often talk to Shawn during games just to see how things were going and to talk strategy, which did not always go over well with the coaches. What can I say, it was hard to resist."
Putting The Work In
When Shawn arrived at high school, he decided that football would be his main athletic priority. Shawn began training at places such as Athletic Evolution and took advantage of many opportunities to train in camps ranging from Carolina and all over the East Coast. Shawn soon learned that the competition was strong and extremely athletic. "After those work outs, I realized that I needed to work so hard to be able to compete. Whether it was cone drills, parachutes, or joining track to improve my straight away speed, everything I did was geared towards improving my game." Without the big name high school, Shawn not only realized that he had to work extra hard, but he had to be his biggest promoter. "When it comes to making the contacts for camps and colleges, Shawn did that on his own," Mark said. "This is something Shawn has truly strived for."
Jack Of All Trades
Shawn dedication to training paled in comparison to his passion for the game. "You would rarely see me off of the field" Shawn remembers. "My speed and my knowledge of the game enabled me to be involved on basically every component of the team. Whether it was offense, defense or special teams, I wanted to help my team win." Shawn admitted that his desire to do whatever it takes to help his team win took time to develop. "Early on, I always wanted to be the one scoring the touchdowns and in the spotlight. When I wasn't starting on offense, I was kind of upset. That's when my dad told me that I can still make big scoring plays on the defensive side of the ball at safety. That's when I started to look at the game in a more mature and detailed way."
While Shawn focused on the individual at first, he now knows the sport is all about the team. "Maybe I could have broken offensive records. But, when we won the Super Bowl my senior year, it was all about doing what you needed to do for the team. Football is all about a family atmosphere where you know they are there to help you on and off the field."
With his Blackstone Valley Tech days behind him, Shawn's decision to play for Bryant University took serious thought and consideration. "I was receiving letters from 75 different colleges," he said. "At first, I was paying the most attention to schools that gave me the best scholarships. Yet, after talking to my parents, I realized that education is such a crucial piece of the college experience. I wanted to go to a school that will get me a great job when I graduate. Bryant was the best academic college on my list, and I think I made the right decision." Shawn plans to major in Computer Information Systems due to the fact that his father uses computers often in his job as a Police Officer and because Shawn admits that he is "a gamer".
Representing the East
With Shawn's collegiate football career about to begin, there is still much to prove. Shawn's own goal is to demonstrate that the Northeast can produce quality football players although they cannot play outdoors all year round. "I play with a bit of a chip on my shoulder to prove that players from the East really care about this game and can play at a high level. I played at a tech high school and will play for a Division 1 School next year. The most important thing is the will to succeed". With a bright future ahead of him, Shawn still remembers his supporting cast that propelled him to this moment. "I am very appreciative of all of my coaches that have gotten me to this moment. All of them have been so helpful to me. They have told me time and time again that I can always go to them to see how to bring my play to its highest potential."
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