The days of the legendary "Seven Blocks of Granite" may be long gone, but Massapequa's Mike Shelley is helping to bring respectability back to Fordham University's football program.
The 6'4", 240-pound senior defensive end, who played at Masspequa High, has started every game for the Fordham Rams since joining the team as a freshman. Last season he led the team in quarterback sacks with nine, and he was named Second Team All-Patriot League. This year he's planning to remove the "second" from that designation, while improving on both his sack total and his record of 43 tackles last season.
Under new coach Ken O'Keefe, who compiled a 79-10-1 record in seven years at Allegheny College. Fordham hopes to improve on its 5-6 record of last season, which itself was an improvement over the past nine years. The Bronx school, once a powerhouse in Eastern football in the days of Vince Lombardi and the "Seven Blocks," has had a rough road since joining the Patroit League in 1989. But Coach O'Keefe only knows winning and with victories last year over the likes of Lafayette, Lehigh, Georgetown and perennial power Towson State things are looking up for the Rams.
Shelley, who recorded eight tackles in the upset of Towson, is an integral part of Coach O'Keefe's plans. An excellent run stopper with good mobility, Shelley can put pressure on the opposing team's passer, as evidenced by his 20 career sacks, and his single game high of three against Holy Cross in the 1996 season.
The 21-year-old son of Michael and Linda Shelley was All-Conference in his high school days for Coach Lou Andre at Massapequa, as well as being All-County in track and field. A real all-around athlete, he also lettered in basketball and baseball as well as football and track. Now concentrating his talents on the gridiron, Shelley is determined to play a major role in returning a winning tradition to Fordham football.