By Don Weber
The CCSU football team has had a mean running game for some years now and this year’s no different.
The last three starting running backs were NFL-bound Justise Hairston, workhorse Jo Jo Freeman, and now James Mallory has taken on the responsibility. Mallory, a senior has made his name known in the past two years.
Listed at 5’10” and 200 lbs, the opposing team’s usual game plan week in and week out is to simply stop Mallory.
Already into his fifth year at CCSU, Mallory is just over 1,000 rushing yards shy of the program-best 3,347 yards set by running back Stan House, CCSU ‘99. And considering he pumped out the majority of his career rushing yards in the last 15 games, Mallory’s looking at a bright future ahead.
Success is nothing new to the Buffalo, N.Y. native. Before arriving in New Britain, Mallory accumulated an eight-game season of over 2,100 rush yards and 32 touchdowns.
Mallory and the CCSU football team still have seven more games left of the season, and after game four they maintain a 3-1 record, 1-0 in the Northeast Conference.
Mallory, a fifth-season Blue Devil, believes this year has the most potential yet.
“Of my years here, this year’s team looks the best,” he said. He considers the 3-1 record an accomplishment, but is quick to point out that the team is anticipating bigger games. “Our ultimate goal is the Gridiron Classic,” Mallory said, referring to the game between the Northeast Conference and Pioneer Football League champions.
In his most recent game versus Sacred Heart this past Saturday, Mallory picked up both offensive touchdowns. While he did turnover a key fumble, he also picked up 108 total yards in the 24-12 win over their rival opponent.
Coach Jeff McInerney noted that he can count on Mallory’s work ethic every game, and at every game the crowd can expect hard-earned touchdowns by the senior team leader.
“He’s like an energizer bunny,” McInerny said. “He makes the runs, he makes the plays, and he scores.” And the Coach believes Mallory can take his skills beyond CCSU: “He has a real chance to play at the next level. He’s the type of player that can run, catch, take kick returns wherever you need him.”
As far as his future goes, Mallory keeps reality in check, but admits to ambitions of being drafted into the National Football League.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about it. I think about it every day,” Mallory said. “It would be a dream to get drafted by an NFL team.” On the ground and in his studies, he is a social work major and has an internship with Clark University set in Hartford, Conn.
The senior running back has quickly become a Blue Devil icon, whether his helmet will be soon perched in those Kaiser trophy cases or not.
He’ll see plenty more opportunities with another home game against Robert Morris next Saturday at noon. This football season could become quite memorable for the entire program, including Mallory with the no. 2 jersey.