Kayla Morong, ’12, Sports Editor
Ever since senior Merrimack football player Shawn Loiseau was 7 years old, he knew he wanted to become a professional linebacker.
One of his biggest inspirations was his father.
“He has always pushed me to be the best I could be, and has supported me more than anyone else in my whole life,” said the Shrewsbury, Mass., native.
Loiseau played four hard years for the Warriors. As a linebacker, he said, he has learned a lot from his coaches, his teammates and his role on the field.
After the 2011 season ended, he was selected to take part in the Jan. 21 East-West Shrine game. This game, established in 1925, is one of the longest running all-star football games in history. The game includes the top-ranked Division I, II, and III athletes in the country and provides players an opportunity to be looked at by the top NFL recruiters, making the game a remarkable experience.
Along with the honor of participating in the game, the players give back to the community by visiting patients at the Shriner Hospitals for children.
The game is held every January at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.
“I can remember receiving the phone call from my agent and being so excited and honored to be able to play in the 87th annual Shrine game in Florida at Tropicana Field,” said an enthused Loiseau.
As Loiseau waited to travel to the big game, he was anxious to meet the athletes he would be playing with, and against.
He arrived in Tampa on Jan. 14. During the week leading up to the game he had one of the greatest experiences of his life: Practices were held at a local high school field, and hundreds of NFL scouts, general managers, coaches and news reporters gravitated while players prepared for the game.
For the most part, Loiseau described preparing for the game “like no other.” However, under the eye scouts and coaches, he had to exhibit his talent amongst some of the top football players in the country. This was a transition from the competition Loiseau has faced at the Division II level.
“NFL scouts wanted to see if I could handle my own against the Division 1 players. So every play, I wanted to show them why I belonged out there and why I will be successful and a good player in the NFL,” he said.
In addition to hours of practice and community service, Loiseau was able to form relationships with other star athletes throughout the week. Some of these athletes included running back Tauren Poole from Tennessee and cornerback Robert Blanton from Notre Dame.
“All the players and coaches were great. It was interesting talking with the other players and hearing about their college experiences,” he said.
As game day arrived, Loiseau was ready to make a difference for the East team. With an atmosphere enhanced by thousands of fans, players, NFL scouts and coaches, he went into the game craving to make a positive impression across the country.
“I wanted to show how hard I work and how intense I am. I felt like I had a game that showed that,” said Loiseau.
East hung tough, but lost 24-17 to the West all-stars.
So where will he be after he graduates? Loiseau didn’t hesitate: playing in the NFL will be the next chapter of his life.
Being a NFL linebacker has always been a career goal for this talented Warrior. Throughout his life he has had to overcome many obstacles, including the message that he wasn’t big enough or fast enough to play Division I football. His success at Merrimack has come a long way and provided him the opportunity to prove that with hard work, you can achieve anything.
Loiseau, one of the top-ranked linebackers in the country, hopes he will be drafted in the next NFL draft, beginning on April 26.
“It does not matter where you come from, what school you play for, and most importantly what others think,” he said. “All that matters is what you want to achieve, how hard you are willing to work, and a never-ending desire to be successful.”