A Look Back at Cecil Shorts’ Amazing Sophomore Season in the NFL

A Look Back at Cecil Shorts’ Amazing Sophomore Season in the NFL

It was a great 2012 season for 2nd year NFL breakout player Cecil Shorts of the University of Mount Union. Cecil ended the regular season with 55 receptions for 979 yards and a team-leading 7 touchdowns, while being picked a Visio Top Value Performer finalist along with Eric Decker, Stevan Ridley, Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson and … Read more




It was a great 2012 season for 2nd year NFL breakout player Cecil Shorts of the University of Mount Union. Cecil ended the regular season with 55 receptions for 979 yards and a team-leading 7 touchdowns, while being picked a Visio Top Value Performer finalist along with Eric Decker, Stevan Ridley, Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson and Alfred Morris.

I visited ESPN’s split stats for the season and found some eye-opening numbers. Right as Cecil became a starter, he increased his total receptions and yards by 40 and nearly 500 respectively, making the most of his opportunity. He also was most productive on first and second downs, accounting for 40 recpetions and 766 yards with 6 of his total 7 touchdowns. By down and length, Cecil was most productive on first down with 10+ yards to go, where he averaged 22 yards per reception. He also excelled when the Jaguars were trailing, catching for 718 yards and 5 total touchdowns, the most memorable an 80 yarder again Indianapolis. Needless to say, Cecil has been quite the deep threat, and should stay in that starting role come 2013.

Being such a deep threat, he was tied for second in the NFL for yards per catch in 2012 with San Diego’s Danario Alexander at 17.8, behind only Tampa Bay’s VIncent Jackson at 19.2, and also ranks second in the NFL with four receptions of 50-plus yards and an 18.9-yard per catch average. That being said, he also was No. 6 on Pro Football Focus’ list of receivers with the worst drop rate. Safe to say and arguing for his side, he was behind Indianapolis receivers Donnie Avery and T.Y. Hilton with rates of 16.67, a team where Cecil had his highest production totaling in 7 receptions for 185 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Cecil has created some buzz around the league at large as well. NFL analyst Trey Wingo (@wingoz) had this tweet to say about his 67 yard TD catch against the Houston Texans:

Cecil Shorts with a 67 yard TD #allhedoesiscatchridiculouslylongTDs

He has earned many other admirers during his breakout year, and a special one in Patriots coach Bill Belichick. The highly touted NFL coach had some good things to say about Cecil and his breakout year before heading into a game with the Jaguars.

“He’s done a great job; he’s really impressive,” he said on a conference call. “He’s one of the best guys we’ve played against this year. He competes hard — he doesn’t take any plays off and he works hard on every route,” Belichick said. “I think he does everything well. Excellent downfield receiver, he’s got really good quickness off the line of scrimmage against press coverage, he breaks tackles and can take it all the way.”

In an interview with Yahoo Sports, Cecil remains to be humble, despite putting up great numbers in his amazing sophomore season. After continuing to make the most of his opportunities, getting more targets and gaining quarterback trust, he believes he can still improve much, much more.

“As a total wide receiver, I think I have some work to do. I always see myself as needing to improve. Last offseason, this offseason, just improving my total game. I don’t want to focus on just one thing – my hands or – just trying to focus, as a total receiver, just getting better. I think my route-running can improve, especially on some certain routes. You can get cut if you can’t get off the press. I think I did a good job of getting off the press, but you can never be too good at it. So getting off the press is definitely an important thing I think I need to work on. But I’m excited for this upcoming year. Third-year campaign and I think I can do some good things next year.”

I think I speak on behalf of a lot of people, that Raider Nation is looking forward to seeing another tremendous season from Cecil in 2013. He’s making a name for himself, giving opportunity to other Mount Union players who are trying to make it to the league, and he’s going to be one of the league’s best values until the end of the 2013 campaign if he keeps on the same track.

The Legacy #11in11

The Legacy #11in11

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It has indeed been awhile since I last posted … I guess the Thanksgiving food coma, Black Friday hangover and the end of the semester blues have gotten to me, but I realize it’s time to make a comeback. This comeback is going to be about a comeback for the Mount Union football offense and NOT the Wesley College football team.

I’m currently sitting distributing care packages to students whose parents love to send them some cheer during this wonderful exam season. During the long spurts of waiting between people who actually come to pick these things up, I’ve been alternating between Facebook creeping, Pinterest pinning and d3football.com skimming. Let me just tell you, normally Pinterest would be winning all the way, but it’s d3football.com that is really getting me fired up.

Now, by no means do I think I’m a football expert. In fact, most games I go to I find it slightly difficult to keep track of the ball on the field because all the cute butts distract me, but I do know a thing or two.

  • I know that it takes 10 yards to make a 1st down. There are four quarters in a game. And, offense is when you have the ball and defense is when you don’t.
  • And when a flag is thrown on the field that means there is a penalty… and if that penalty is against us, then that’s a bad thing.
  • I know that a touchdown is worth six points and you can get an extra point if the kicker kicks the ball through the field goal.
  • It gets a little fuzzy with other ways to get points, but I think there’s something called a two-point conversion.
  • Last week at the game, I learned about something called a safety, which can be intentional. A safety has something to do with the other team getting a point by pushing you out of bounds past the end zone when you have the ball.

I think that about sums up what I know about the play of the game, but there’s a lot more to it. These articles I’ve been reading online about the game this Saturday have really got me thinking and you can blame it on the fact that I’m a girl and get emotional sometimes or the fact that my boyfriend plays and I feel really protective. But, I was honestly near tears thinking of the idea of losing this Saturday. To think that something our guys have been working all year for could not come to fruition nearly put me over the edge! I know that Wesley College football team probably has worked as hard as they could and hoped as hard as they could that they would make it to the Stagg Bowl this year. And, by the looks of the opinions online, they’ve done a pretty good job bettering them this year. I’ll give them that, but it is our time. It is our time to not only make it to the national championship, but to win it! Here’s what I know about Mount Union football, which is more important than any understanding of any playbook, touchdown, interception or anything else that happens on the field.

  • Larry Kehres is an unbelievable coach. He has led this team to all that they have become and our football program would not be where it’s at right now without him (even if he scares me when he gets really revved up at the games and I can hear him all the way from the stands). I love a coach that loves the game!
  • Our players have more heart than any other team. Ever. The look on their faces on game day is priceless. You can tell they are ready to put their all into it, they’re ready to leave everything on the field.
  • Even with one of the most winning records in Division III football with 10 national championship titles since 1993 and the all-division record for the most consecutive victories at 64 wins, the players don’t go into each game taking their winning for granted. They know that winning doesn’t always last forever.
  • They have respect for each other, themselves and the other teams. College football players may be some of the most competitive college athletes. Obviously, you see some animosity on the field after a particularly hard play or a cheap shot, but they admire the other team for all that they do well, pointing out that even the worst team has good players.

I hope that the rest of Mount Union’s campus, the rest of our community and the rest of our state see what I see in the players here at Mount. Football is a legacy at Mount Union. We knew that when we decided to attend college here, so let’s support that legacy and hope it lives on until our children attend Mount Union or until our grandchildren attend Mount Union. #11in11

A Great Day in Sports

A Great Day in Sports

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This past weekend marked a very eventful day in the Mount Union sports world. Being a part of the football team, I can honestly say that our game against Baldwin-Wallace was single-handedly the best game I have experienced to date. The stadium was packed and loud, and it was a very fun environment to be a part of. The game was a deciding factor for the OAC title and essentially came down to one last play on 4th down for us.

The play was a jump ball thrown from Matt Piloto to Chris Denton, with two defenders covering Chris. Somehow he came down with the catch and the stadium erupted. The photo is from the athletics website and shows how close of a play it truly was. Amazing. Then our defense was able to hold B-W for the last two minutes and the game ended on an incomplete pass. Just another step to winning our 11th national title this year, which has gathered the slogan of “11 in 11.”

It was a great game for my relatives and cousins to come to as well; their first game attended for the season was one of the best. What also added to the day was the Game Day Challenge I previously blogged about and helped to organize. There were stations set up throughout the whole stadium to help divert all the waste from the game away from landfills. I can’t wait to see the results and how much trash we diverted! Lastly, during the game there was an announcement that the woman’s volleyball team won their first-ever OAC title over Heidelberg, who are ranked ninth nationally. This just capped off an unbelievable weekend in Mount sports, and I hope the success continues throughout the post season!

“Forever Mount”

“Forever Mount”

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Last weekend was one of excitement and craziness here on Mount Union’s campus. It is a weekend that all Purple Raiders and even community members look forward to each year. It is a weekend that can be found marked on the calendars of Mount Union alumni, written in many students, faculty and staff members planners and even scribbled down on a note on the refrigerators of many community members. So you may be wondering what this so called special weekend is… am I right? Well, the weekend I am referring to is Alumni Weekend and Homecoming. This weekend is special all around at Mount Union as there are many fun and exciting events that take place all throughout the weekend for everyone.

The theme this year for the weekend was “Forever Mount.” The weekend kicked off Friday night with the Mr. UMU pageant. This is an annual event attended mostly by students, and in simple terms, is basically a male beauty pageant. Different organizations on campus select one male to represent them in the pageant. At the pageant, the men participate in events similar to that of the Miss America pageant such as a talent portion, a question/answer session, formal wear and Raider gear. The judges were faculty and staff members. The pageant has a humorous tone and is not serious in any way. This year’s winner was senior Josh Jones, who was representing Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed service fraternity. Additional events that took place on Friday were the Mount Union Board of Trustees meeting and the Department of Theatre’s presentation of the comedy Bus Stop.

 

Saturday is the day that holds the most events and the most excitement of the weekend. This past Saturday there was an Alumni Brunch in which different alumni were honored, multiple class reunions, the annual Run-A-MUC race, the Homecoming parade and a Raider pep rally as well as tailgating before the annual Homecoming football game. This year at the Homecoming game, the Raider football team beat Marietta with a 62-0 win. During halftime of the game, this year’s Homecoming King Marcus Williams and Queen Kaitlin Petrilli were revealed and crowned. On Saturday, different organizations also held events such as the Alpha Delta Pi sorority silent auction, the Delta Sigma Tau sorority alumni tea and the Sigma Nu fraternity reception honoring Jim Williams.

Compared to Saturday of Alumni Weekend and Homecoming, Sunday is more of a laid back day that in a way wraps up the weekend. Sunday was not too crazy of a day or full of commotion. This year, the Class of 1976 held a breakfast on Sunday and there was an alumni baseball game and cookout.

This weekend is so very special to all Purple Raiders and many look forward to it each year as the campus is crowded with alumni, students, faculty, staff and community members. And when I say crowded, I mean packed! – prayers are said to find a parking spot. Not only do people in the area attend all of these events, but also people come from all over the country just for this weekend. The high population of people that come to campus for this weekend and the distances they travel says a lot about Mount Union. It shows that people are proud to be a Raider and truly enjoyed the time they spent at the University of Mount Union.

Cecil Shorts drafted to Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011 NFL Draft

Cecil Shorts drafted to Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011 NFL Draft

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cecil to jaguars

Congratulations to Cecil Shorts on being drafted to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2011 NFL Draft! He’ll do Mount Union proud. Be sure to follow him on Twitter at CShorts10!

INTERVIEW: Jonah Wilson. The artist behind popular “Raider Nation.”

INTERVIEW: Jonah Wilson. The artist behind popular “Raider Nation.”

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I woke up this morning with a link in my inbox to a YouTube video from one of my friends. “You have to check this out” was all the message said. After clicking through, I was taken to a video titled “Raider Nation” and the beat from Wiz Khalifa’s “Black and Yellow” started playing. Within seconds, I was listening to one of the coolest remixes of “Black and Yellow” I had heard since Lil Wayne’s “Green and Yellow” for the Super Bowl. With over 700 plays in just 24 hours, I did some searching and finally found the Facebook profile of the account, which uploaded the video.

Meet Jonah Wilson. An alumnus of Mount Union and former football player, I asked him if he would be willing to do an interview with me about his song and also get us a link to the MP3 file for download. He enthusiastically agreed to both and I spent a couple hours messaging him with questions and reading his answers. Read on to see where Jonah got the inspiration for the track from, who his collaborator was and what he plans to do next! I’ll put the video and link to the MP3 after the interview. Enjoy!

UMU: Hi, Jonah. Thanks for agreeing to this interview about your video/music track “Purple Nation.” At almost 700 views on YouTube and being shared all over Facebook, I think we can say you have a hit on your hands. Can you give us the backstory to how you came up with the idea or were inspired to remix “Black and Yellow” with a purple twist?

JW: I am a Mount Union alumnus and former football player, so the song was inspired by my own personal experiences with Mount Union. Me and my best friend, VT, who collaborated with me on the song, planned to do a resin for Mount and it actually fell together in about two days after we started writing it.

UMU: I think the track gained a lot coming from someone who was on the football team and went to Mount; it added that authenticity factor. What about your collaborator VT, does he have ties back to Mount Union?

JW: He went to high school with me and has been my friend since my sophomore year at Copley, but no ties to Mount Union. He has been on campus and experienced the Raider experience, but no actual ties to the school.

UMU: You mentioned it took two days to put the track together after you started writing it. One of my favorite lyrics is “this is Mount Union / all we do is win / we at home on the road / yea we moving in.” Judging from how well this song came together, I’m guessing this isn’t the first time you’ve both came up with lyrics before. What was the actual writing process like? Any writers block, or did it all come pretty easy?

JW: In fact, we just started writing and making music about two months ago or so and we haven’t hit writers block or a proverbial wall yet. The writing process for this particular song was strange. Neither one of us had planned it. I was at home and decided to just record the chorus, so that took about 20 minutes to write and record. That night, Versean (VT) stopped by and listened to it and loved it, so he went home and came back the next day after he finished the middle verse. I wrote the first and third verse the same day, and we recorded and edited the second day. The rest is history. It all came easy to me because everything I talked about I’ve actually been a part of and it came easy to him because there is just so much history with Mount Union.

UMU: That’s really impressive for just two days of work. After you had finally finished, did you share it with your friends privately or did you just put it up on YouTube and let the Internet do the rest?

JW: After I wrote the chorus and recorded it, I sent a snippet of it to a few close friends and that was Wednesday. That Thursday, we finished the song and I was visiting a few alumni and coaches at Mount so I brought the finished song and surprised them with it because they all wanted to hear it after I sent them the teaser. That night they ended playing the song a few times at the bar stopped in. After I saw how excited people were about it I ended up putting it online Friday around noon.

UMU: It seems to be doing pretty well with the online audience as well with over 700 plays and no signs of stopping. Now for the question I’ve been most looking forward to: any future songs planned you want to tease for our readers?

JW: Haha, we have a lot planned for some music finished already. And if Mount Union keeps showing love, Raider Nation part two will definitely be a priority!

UMU: Sounds good! Now to wrap up this interview, I’ve already provided our readers with the link to the YouTube video, but do you have any plans to put up a link to the MP3 file for us to download to our computers and iPods?

JW: Absolutely, I’m currently trying to figure out the best way to put a link in the description of the YouTube video for download so by the end of today [April 30] it will be up and available for download!

UMU: Excellent, I know a lot of people will throw this into their warmup playlist!
Thank you again, Jonah, for doing this interview with me. I know our readers appreciate the insight into the making of “Raider Nation” and we all look forward to your next tracks!

JW: Thank you.

I would just like to thank Jonah again for doing this interview and be sure to check out the video on YouTube and download the MP3 today!

“Raider Nation” music video on YouTube
“Raider Nation” MP3 Download

 

The Life of an Ohio Sports Fan

The Life of an Ohio Sports Fan

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Last night was a tough loss for all of Buckeye nation. It still seems surreal for me that the Buckeyes were unable to pull off the victory, and for some reason, I still believe they have a chance to win it all. I felt for sure this was the time Ohio sport fans were finally going to be able to celebrate and rejoice in a championship.  The only time in my life that a team I am a passionate about has won a championship was the Buckeyes’ football national championship in 2002. After 2002, it has been all heartbreaking losses from the OSU football team’s back-to-back losses the National Championship to the OSU basketball team’s loss to Joakim Noah and the Florida Gators. On a professional level, 2007 was also a tough year for Cleveland sport fans, between the Cavaliers losing to the Spurs and the Indians unable to clinch the American League pennant after being up 3-1 in the series. I attended both the first home game of the ALDS and the ALCS that year and had plans in place for tickets to the World Series. Despite all my disappointments, I’m still a diehard sports fan, especially of Mount Union.

One of the many perks of being a Mount Union student is that tough losses are difficult to come by, especially in football. One reason Mount Union football is so successful is because they look at every day as a day to get better.  There is nothing like football here at Mount Union. Just attending the school makes you feel invested in the program, and all of the students take pride in the Mount Union football team. We especially enjoy bragging to all our friends who went to other OAC schools about our football team.

It is always a cool experience to see Mount Union mentioned on SportsCenter, espn.com, ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption or during an Indianapolis Colts game during the NFL season.  When Colts wide receiver and Mount alumnus Pierre Garcon burst onto the scene during the Colts Super Bowl run, Mount Union gained national attention. And, where did Garcon go just three days after the Super Bowl?  That’s right, Mount Union. Garcon finished up his degree from his alma mater and could be seen around campus anywhere from an intramural sports game to in the WRMU radio station broadcasting live.  He even came back from visiting Haiti to walk at graduation.

This year my dorm room window oversaw the football team’s practice field and I got to witness first hand why Mount Union football is so successful.  This year was especially exciting getting to watch Cecil Shorts, Mel Kiper’s fifth ranked wide receiver in this year’s draft perform in practice and during the games.  All future Purple Raiders: be sure follow Cecil Shorts on Twitter (@CShorts10) for first hand insight on the draft and to tune into ESPN for the NFL draft beginning April 28 to watch another Purple Raider get drafted. Check out the YouTube video of Shorts being interviewed at the NFL Combine.

-Zach McMurray

“Good is the Enemy of Great”