For a man that pummels running backs and quarterbacks on the gridiron, Ernest Shockley III holds a humble and courteous demeanor off the field.
The combination of hard work, fortune and fortitude to work through hard times put Shockley on a pedestal as one of the best defensive players in the Bayside Conference in his senior season.
The Stephen Decatur defensive standout totaled 141 tackles, earning him a spot in not one, but two all-star games.
“It feels great,” he said. “But I like I said before, hard work has no choice but to produce results. It’s true.”
Shockley will play in the Maryland Crab Bowl in December and also travel to Florida to play in the Blue-Grey All-American game at Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
But due to the expenses of these trips, especially the one to Tampa Bay, the Shockley family recently started a GoFundMe campaign, looking for $3,000 to help with expenses.
“I felt like with someone who is trying to something positive, Ernest is, and I’m not just saying this because he’s my son, but he is a really generous and humble individual and I wanted to give the community a chance to support him as well,” his mother, Ronshell Shockley said.
As of Nov. 25, $565 had been donated. The donations will help fund hotels, travel expenses, equipment like the new helmet, and the championship ring that has a NFL style flair to it.
The Shockleys said their son will go either way, but any community support only pushes the senior to strive for more.
“I know it means so much to him to have community involved,” she said.
A football player since he was 5
Even at a young age, Ernest Shockley Jr., who played football at Decatur and Delaware State University, saw how much his son loved football.
Shockley especially excelled on the defensive side.
“He’s a defensive player,” Shockley Jr. said. “He always has been. When he was 5 years old, defense, defense, defense – never was scared, never was scared of people. He always had a mean streak during the game. … But always was kind, courteous and humble after the game.”
Shockley Jr. credits the support system around his son that has made him into the man is today – a good student with courteous manners. But it was not just his parents, but the coaching staff around Shockley that made an impact.
Stephen Decatur head coach Bob Knox coached Shockley Jr., and it’s something that he has always remembered fondly.
“If Bob Knox wasn’t coaching here, he might not be here because I know I got from Bob Knox and other people in my family got from Bob Knox as a coach,” Shockley Jr. said. “The good, the bad, the hard work.”
“He’s just a result of a lot of good things going right.”
The Shockley family has produced some pretty good football players, the most famous being Shockley Jr,’s cousin, Ben Tate.
That’s why Ernest Shockley said football runs in his blood.
“I was born to it,” he said.
With a 4.9 40-yard dash, and 12-15 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, Shockley has peaked interest out of plenty of D-II and D-III schools.
Most notably, the No. 1 team in the country Mount Union, who hasn’t lost a D-III regular season game since 2005.
Just the opportunity and the selection to play in the all-star games will help with all of the recruiting process.
The Eastern Shore isn’t exactly a hotbed for defensive talent.
“I think that this will help speed that up or at least help get his information out there because I don’t think schools come through the Eastern Shore looking for defensive players,” Shockley Jr. said.
The biggest motivator in Shockley’s career came during sophomore year when he broke his left ankle.
It shocked him, but Shockley never wavered with confidence in himself.
He understood he had to work harder and come back even stronger than before.
So no matter the result of where he goes to college or what All-American games he plays in, Shockley will do what he knows best – work.
“I think at this point, I just have no choice but to double my work ethic right now,” Shockley said. “If I want to be a college athlete, just about everybody on the roster wants to be that guy up top. I just have to outwork everybody.”
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