October 15, 2012

CUA Student-Athlete Spotlight - Mike O'Shea

The CUA Student-Athlete Spotlight tells the stories of our student-athletes, with a special emphasis on their interests and achievements beyond the competitive arena.  If you know of a CUA student-athlete or story that should be featured in the "Spotlight" section, please send ideas to cuacardinals@gmail.com.

Mike O'Shea says he could talk about football all day long if you let him.  The Cardinals offensive lineman loves talking the game nearly as much as he enjoys playing it.  But talking and playing football aren't the only things O'Shea excels at.  He's also one of the top leaders in the football program, and he uses those leadership skills to connect with fellow student-athletes on his other passion, which is his faith.

In addition to being one of the top offensive linemen in the region, O'Shea is also involved with Catholic Athletes for Christ (CAC), which he joined as a freshman at CUA.  For the Brooklyn native, it offered him a chance to integrate his faith and his passion for football.

"When it doesn't interfere with practice, we meet once a week for about an hour," O'Shea explained about the group.  "I really like it because it gives me a chance to slow down and take time to talk about my faith with other student-athletes."

He continued, "I also get to meet student-athletes from other sports and learn new ways to handle the rigors of balancing between being a student and being an athlete.  Moreover, it gives me the opportunity to learn ways to become a better leader from these other athletes."

After playing sparingly as a freshman, O'Shea started all 10 games along the offensive line for the Cardinals in 2011.  The 250-pounder did not allow a single sack all season, as he helped pave the way for the nation's fourth most prolific passing attack – one that threw the ball an incredible 505 times.

For his efforts, O'Shea was named to the All-Region and All-ODAC Teams.  Prior to this season, the junior was named an honorable mention All-American by USA Football News.

A mechanical engineering major, O'Shea had two main criteria he looked at when choosing a college.  One was a strong engineering program and the other was a Division III football program.

"I immediately fell in love with Catholic University for a number of reasons.  My parents both loved the engineering program and all of the people they met from the department, so CUA was always their top choice for me."

He went on to say, "I loved the engineering department, too, as well as being in a city, and then I got a great vibe when I met the coaching staff, so that is what sold me.  I knew I would be with great people and in great hands while at CUA."

O'Shea offers a glimpse into what he learned about what makes CUA such a special place during his recruiting trip.  "I had the chance to meet a player who like me, is from New York City.  After speaking privately with him and receiving honest answers, that is what finalized my decision because I knew that if there were people like him at CUA, then it was definitely the place for me."

He added, "That player ended up becoming a very good friend of mine and now lines up next to me on every snap – senior center Kenny Meyer."

In addition to once again being one of the top performers on the field for CUA, O'Shea has taken on an expanded leadership role this season.  It's a position he enjoys. 

"After the unexpected and unfortunate departure of senior wide receiver Jeff Frusciante (due to injury), there was a vacancy for a vocal offensive leader for the first time since I've been here."

"I knew it was important to have that presence on offense and I have done my best to fill the very large shoes that Jeff left behind.  We have all the talent we need to win a championship, but we also need tremendous focus and effort everyday in practice if we want to achieve our full potential."

Never one to brag or boast, O'Shea deflects attention off of himself and onto his teammates for their efforts.

"I'm very lucky to have leaders on this team that I have been looking up to since freshman year, such as Rob Schaetzl, a defensive tackle.  I try my best to lead by working the hardest every day, being positive and holding each of my teammates to the same high standard."

He adds, "I'm blessed to play on offense with many great players such as Greg Cordivari, Drew Ouellette, Alonzo Cooke, Mike Pitsenberger, Tanner Keefe, and Nick Cortese to name a few.  Along with the rest of the offensive line, I try and put these skill players in the best situation possible to succeed."

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