If you don’t know running back Maurice Shoemaker-Gilmore, you don’t realize what his touchdown run against North Carolina State meant to him.
It meant a lot, despite it happening during what some would term garbage time in the fourth quarter, because of the winding journey he has taken to carry the ball for the third time.
“It was unreal,” Shoemaker-Gilmore said. “I haven’t been in that situation for a long time where I could have a long run in a game. Once I finally realized I was going to score, it was unreal. I just had to get in there.”
He was not supposed to be wearing maroon and gold. He was supposed to be wearing black, as a member of an Army football team.
The ACL, MCL and PCL injuries to his knee from his senior year of high school were supposed to be behind him.
However, he was notified around the summer of 2012 after going to prep school that he would not be part of the football program.
“There were some difficulties with admissions and a former injury with my leg,” Shoemaker-Gilmore said. “They’re really strict about that because they’re a service commitment.”
He said CMU head coach Dan Enos came through for him, with little time to act since preseason football was only months away and schools were out of scholarships.
“This is a second opportunity,” Shoemaker-Gilmore said. “Something I wasn’t expecting. I was expecting to go back home and play D-3 ball. So coach Enos gave me the opportunity, and I jumped all over it.”
He really created his own opportunity, taking the initiative to email former Central Michigan football coach Kirby Cannon, who got back to him.
“The situation I was in, I had to,” he said. “Nobody was going to do it for me. So it was late summer – I had to make something work.”
Enos said Shoemaker-Gilmore will remain behind running back Saylor Lavallii in the depth chart, and the reason he has gotten into the game more as of late is because he has a better grasp of what he is supposed to do.
“He has just been running really hard these last couple weeks and he’s done a good job,” Enos said. “So, we said in the last two weeks we want to get him in the game.”
With more carries in the last game, he had more than just one good run. In fact, on another, he ran for 17 yards and finished with 63 rushing yards, the most of any CMU player against the Wolfpack.
Even if it was all earned in the fourth quarter, it was just the same to him.
“Nothing’s garbage time when it’s your first time on the field getting some carries,” he said.