By Maddy Vitale
Four Ocean City High School seniors committed to colleges to play football Tuesday morning during a ceremony at the school.
Jim Rice, 18, of Upper Township, is going to Southern Connecticut State University to be a defensive tackle.
“I am really excited,” he said, with his dad Craig Mowers standing beside him.
“He gave it thoroughly 100 percent,” Mowers said.
The Division II school reached out to Rice, who at 260 pounds, said he needs to gain 40 pounds, to be ready for the game. He isn’t worried.
“I just have to eat more chicken, grains and proteins,” Rice said.
Rice learned hard work really does pay off.
In his first two years of high school, he played on the junior varsity team. His junior year, he didn’t play football at all, only to come back his senior year and become a varsity player.
He played so well, he was able to receive grant money for college, he said.
“I’m finally making a name for myself,” Rice said.
He isn’t the only one.
Kevin Smith, head Ocean City High School football coach, said all four players who committed to playing football, did something no other senior class has done in years.
“It has been over a decade since we had four guys from the same class go off to play college football,” Smith said. “I’m proud of them to be able to academically go off to really good schools and play football.”
Athletic Director Vincent Leavey explained that there is a small percentage of high school athletes that end up playing at the college level.
He echoed Smith’s sentiments saying how proud he is of the student athletes.
“It is very cool that this many guys are going,” Leavey said.
Bobby Shallcross, 18, of Upper Township, was joined by his parents Marcia McCulley and Tom Shallcross for the ceremony.
Shallcross wants to be a wide receiver at Widener University in Pennsylvania. He has the speed for the position, he said.
Football isn’t his only love, he is also on the track team and specializes in the 400-meter hurdles.
“We are just excited for this opportunity for him,” McCulley said.
Isaac Robertson, 18, of Ventnor, can’t wait for the opportunity to play football at Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania. He wants to be a defensive back.
And you can’t have a football team without a quarterback. Harry Pfeifle, of Ocean City, said he is ready to lead the team at Fairleigh Dickenson University in New Jersey.
He said, “I’m going to compete for the job and work really hard.”