Mark Cheffers has been a player to watch this fall on the Catholic University football team.
The Winchendon, Massachusetts native has recorded career-bests in receptions (21), receiving yards (262), and yards per game (65.5) through four contests while recording a season-high eight catches for 93 yards in the Cardinals’ season-opening win against McDaniel College last month. He caught his first touchdown last Saturday against Christopher Newport University after tallying three catches for 44 yards in his team’s exciting win one week earlier over Endicott College.
Cheffers currently leads the team with 21 receptions heading into this Saturday’s New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) clash with MIT and will certainly be a player to keep an eye on, both against the Engineers and later this fall.
We recently caught up with Cheffers, who played high school football at Saint John’s High School in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, to discuss his senior season, as well as what interested him in going to school outside of New England.
From your perspective, how has your senior season with the Cardinals gone thus far?
I am proud of the way we have taken the field this year – I love the energy in the locker room.
There is a lot to be excited about, but we have even more to improve upon. As we start our conference schedule this Saturday, I think we will begin to show who we really are (and that is exciting).
How has your game evolved from your initial season in 2018 to this fall? What sort of changes have you made to become the receiver/student-athlete you are today?
I was somewhat undersized coming into my first season with the Cardinals program, but I have grown and gotten stronger over the past few years. I may have slowed down – maybe not entirely since that initial season? – but I have used the past few years to study the game more so I can recognize certain coverages to understanding my routes better to create space between myself and the defender.
How will your team’s non-league matchups/performances last month help you (and the team) heading into conference play this weekend against MIT?
I think we have really tested ourselves this season.
We began with a scrimmage against Johns Hopkins University to playing some challenging foes, including Randolph-Macon College, which was previously ranked last week in the D3Football.com Top 25 poll. We also played Endicott College and Christopher Newport University, so all three matchups have certainly been a challenge, but in a great way.
Heading into our first NEWMAC game on Saturday, we have learned where we need to improve to be competitive, both against MIT and other teams we will face later this fall.
Being a Massachusetts native, what interested you in playing football outside the state/region?
I was not recruited to play football anywhere else, so I was interested in going to school outside of the New England region. Coach Mike Gutelius made it clear that he wanted me on this team during the recruiting process, so I saw it as an opportunity to play football for the Cardinals, as well as gain new experiences in Washington D.C.
Sticking with the Massachusetts theme, how often are you checking-in on St. John’s Shrewsbury football program?
All the time. I had a great time playing for the Pioneers’ program and winning a state championship in 2017 against North Attleborough. I saw they just moved to a very tough conference, so I wish them luck this evening against Malden Catholic.
Tell me about your major. How did you choose it and what do you hope to do with it beyond graduation next spring?
There were quite a few majors that interested me, but in the end, I elected to pursue a degree that is allowing me to concentrate on sales and entrepreneurship – the professors have been incredible and super-helpful to me, so I am glad I elected to pursue this concentration.
Finally – and I know graduation is months away! – but do you see yourself staying involved with football after your final game with the Cardinals this fall?
I have a hard time admitting that this is my last season, but I am trying to enjoy every moment. I want to continue to be involved in this game in some capacity as it has helped shape me into who I am today. I would love to coach in the future.