Mount Union has been a Division III football power for ten years now, and they've won the championship three times in the past seven years, with fellow D3 power Wisconsin-Whitewater winning the other four, including their most recent match-up this year in which Mount Union lost.
But more so than Whitewater, Mount Union usually has a prospect or two that is on NFL radar. The most notable one of the past few years is 2008 NFL Draft 6th round pick, number 205, by the Indianapolis Colts. The late round receiver has developed into a top target for Peyton Manning.
This draft season, Mount Union may have another receiver prospect. This time, however, it doesn't look like he'll be overlooked as much as Garcon was.
Cecil Shorts III was a high school quarterback who played for his father. Very productive and a dual threat playmaker, he wasn't recruited by any Division I schools. He did get an offer from the Division III power Mount Union, and decided he'd try and play quarterback there.
While he was the a solid backup as a freshman, the coaches decided to move Cecil to receiver, a move he didn't like at the time but now says it was "the best thing for me".
Shorts went on to have three straight 1,000 yard seasons, filling the void left by Garcon very well. He quickly went from backup quarterback making the change to one of the best and most productive receivers at the Division III level and the most important player on one of the top teams in the country.
This season, despite missing three games with injury, he finished the season with 17 receiving touchdowns and three return touchdowns in just 11 games, including a 10 catch, 185 yard, two touchdown finale in a close loss to Wisconsin-Whitewater in the championship game.
While he would have liked to win the Division III championship in his final season, he now has bigger and brighter dreams, dreams that are more likely to come true thanks to the path that Garcon paved three years earlier.
Shorts (6'0, 195) is a very quick, elusive receiver who's best fit is in the slot where he can get the ball in space as well as get vertical against safeties and linebackers. His routes are more defined than most Division III receiving prospects, and his versatility on this offense as a rusher, passer, return-man and receiver will give teams an extra reason to look at him as a high draft pick.
Pierre Garcon has outperformed his 6th round status since he was drafted, and Shorts might be a better overall athlete. The 3rd round isn't out of the question, and now that he's been invited to the East-West Shrine game, the Senior Bowl, and the NFL Combine, he'll have a chance to show his skills compared to the "big boys" in the top level of college football and show, like Garcon did, that despite being a Division III player, he doesn't deserve to be overlooked.
Follow Cecil Shorts III on twitter: www.twitter.com/cshorts10