Just two seasons ago, Cecil Shorts III was a backup quarterback for the Mount Union Purple Raiders. Just recently, Shorts received the Ed Sherman Award for the second year in a row as the Ohio Athletic Conference's top wide receiver.
Because of an injury to starting quarterback Kurt Rocco, Shorts may be throwing more passes than he catches when Mount Union takes on the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks later today in the 37th Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl. Both teams enter the game with 14-0 records.
Rocco was injured last week against Wesley on a helmet-to-helmet hit in the first quarter. Both freshman quarterback Neal Seaman and Shorts took snaps at quarterback in the Purple Raiders' 24-7 victory. Rocco's status will not be known until just prior to kickoff.
Rocco leads all Division III quarterbacks in passing efficiency with a 206.48 rating, completing 70.5 percent of his attempts. He has thrown for 3,546 yards with 39 touchdown passes and only eight interceptions.
Last season, Shorts caught 77 passes in 15 games for 1,484 yards and an OAC record 23 touchdowns. For his excellent season, Shorts was an All-OAC First Team selection and a D3football.com All-American.
This year, the 6'2', 195 lbs Shorts had 90 receptions in 14 games for 1,551 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also had eight rushing touchdowns and 206 yards rushing on 33 attempts. Against Wesley, Shorts scampered for 98 yards and two touchdowns.
It is expected to be snowing in Salem, Va., when Mount Union and UW-Whitewater meet for the fifth consecutive time for the Division III championship. The Purple Raiders have won three of the four previous meetings with the Warhawks prevailing in 2007.
No matter what position Shorts plays, expect him to make an impact and play a major role in who wins this year's national title. As long as the fans can see through the snowflakes, they will witness Short's special talent.
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