Egg Harbor Township High School senior Maurice Sherrod ended his high school football career with a big splash last fall, rushing for nearly 500 yards and six touchdowns in a pair of wins for the Eagles, their only victories of the season.
Earlier this month, Sherrod “splashed down” with an athletic scholarship to NCAA Division II University of New Haven in Connecticut, where he will likely play running back next fall.
“I’d shown glimpses of what I could do but I feel like those last couple of games showed people that I’m a serious player and that I can make plays out of whatever position I play,” Sherrod said of his last two high school games, victories over Cherry Hill West and Mainland Regional. “Maybe that opened up peoples’ eyes a little bit and brought me some attention.”
Sherrod had interest from a few other schools but was instantly sold on New Haven when he visited earlier this year. He said the football program is solid but the academic program also appealed to him.
“It was a good fit for me,” he said. “The coaches were very welcoming. The campus is really nice. The players were very welcoming, too, and that’s what I was looking for. And they had my major (nursing). It just fit me all-around.”
The New Haven Chargers have appeared in six Division II championship playoffs, most recently in 2011 and 2012. Local players Mark Clements from Oakcrest and Miles Pease from St. Joseph-Hammonton were on the roster last season.
“They have a successful program with great coaches. It’s awesome,” Sherrod said.
EHT head coach Kevin Stetser calls Sherrod “one of the best kids I’ve ever coached. He does everything right, in the classroom, in practice, in the off-season. He's a great team leader."
Though his high school career ended on a positive note, Sherrod didn’t win a lot of games at EHT – only three in the last two years. But he said he takes a lot of satisfaction from the leadership and teamwork skills he developed at the school.
“I’m looking for more wins (at the college level), because that winning feeling is always great,” he said. “But I’m going to miss high school and my teammates. Regardless of the wins and losses, it’s been a blessing. Coach Stetser and his staff gave me all the tools I needed to be a leader. I want to be that guy that steps up and that the younger players look up to.”
There’s another much younger player that Sherrod has positively influenced: his nephew, Jayden Rodriguez. The 8-year-old plays football in the EHT Youth Organization.
“I’m really doing this for him,” Sherrod said of Jayden. “I really want to see him go on to college. He’s only eight but he has the skills. He needs a role model, and that’s what I want to be for him.”