Justin Blackmon may get all the hype and attention, but, as many fantasy owners know, Jacksonville receiver Cecil Shorts has actually been the best Jaguars receiver this season. Shorts, a second year receiver out of Division III’s Mount Union (Ohio) College, has caught 43 balls this year for 824 yards and seven touchdowns and may be the one thing that Jaguars have done right in the past two years. So now that Shorts has proven himself as a NFL receiver, what’s next for him? Paying off his student loans. From Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback column:
One of the best young wide receivers in football, Cecil Shorts III of the Jaguars, has to be the only starting player in football who has more than $50,000 in student loans to pay off. “When I tell guys about my student loans,” Shorts said Friday, “they go, ‘Dang! You didn’t get a full ride?’ They’re shocked.” Shorts went to Mount Union (Ohio) College, an NCAA Division III school, which like its counterparts, doesn’t give athletic scholarships. In Shorts’ four years, tuition and fees added up to about $125,000 — and he had to borrow more than half of that to make ends meet. He also had work-study jobs in the university’s weight room, refereeing intramural basketball and mowing lawns on campus. So now Shorts, though he’s earning $493,000 in this, his second season in the league, will space out his payoff of the loan and begin to put away money for the rest of his life. “It was good for me because I’ve had to work for everything I’ve ever gotten,” Shorts said. “When I didn’t get a Division I offer, I thought I let my family down. But it just motivated me to work harder than everyone else to get farther.” And in the misery of a lost Jacksonville season, Shorts, his student loans and how he’s become a deep threat helps form the kind of story this moribund franchise can be thankful for.