By Jerry Del Priore
At a modest five-foot-seven and 167 pounds, many people had their doubts if Shawn Cabbell could make a college gridiron squad due to his lack of size. But they failed to measure the one intangible that mattered most: Cabbell’s intense desire to play the game he loves at the next height.
After three years as a member of Canarsie Education Campus’ football program, Cabbell defied the odds and signed with Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC)—a two-year school affiliated with the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region III as an independent conference football team, according to its website—in late June.
Cabbell, 19, has already exceeded the naysayers’ lack of faith, which only provided fuel for his college football aspiration.
“A lot of people did,” Cabbell said of the pessimists who told him he was too small to suit up at a higher football level, “but I kept that in my head,” which, he said, helped motivate him to work even harder to accomplish.
Cabbell played four years of youth football with the Brooklyn Chiefs, and starred on Canarsie’s junior varsity squad as a running back, leading the Public School Athletic League (PSAL) in rushing with 1231 yards on 78 carries during the 2013 season.
The East New York native, who also participated on the track and rugby teams at CEC, spent two solid seasons on varsity, scoring five touchdowns—four on offense and one on an 82-yard kickoff return—in his senior year.
Now, Cabbell is taking his speed and overall gridiron skills to Troy N.Y., where he’s more than ready to prove himself while soaking up the positive college football vibes, as well as the overall student-athlete experience.
“I am going to keep working hard and keep pushing my stuff to high potential and prove everyone that they’re wrong,” he said. “Practice is going great. I like it here and it’s better competition out there, and I’m doing my thing. Coach (Michael Muehling) likes me already, and I’m happy I’m playing on a different level.”
A level that several nonbelievers thought he never reach.