Buccaneer Spotlight - Gerald StevensonOctober 6, 2009
Rob Walden, CSU Sports Information
Throughout the 2009-10 athletic season, the CSU Sports Information Department will profile several Buccaneer student-athletes who have excelled on and off the field of play. Today's feature focuses on football wide receiver Gerald Stevenson.
“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
- Mark Twain
For decades, coaches have used the most famous of Twain-isms to motivate young athletes who are tempted to use their diminutive stature as an excuse for giving less than their best effort on the field of play. It’s a quote that Charleston Southern WR/RS Gerald Stevenson believes wholeheartedly – even when, as a high school senior going through the recruiting process, he learned just how few coaches at the collegiate level truly have faith in Twain’s immortal words.
“I can’t tell you how many times as a high school player that a college coach passed over me because of my size,” says 5’9” Stevenson, a native of Naples, Fla. “I can think of ten schools off the top of my head who told me that they loved my quickness and speed, but they decided to offer a scholarship to someone bigger.”
Fortunately for Stevenson, the coaches at Charleston Southern weren’t so quick to dismiss him based on size alone. “(Former CSU Assistant Jamey) Chadwell was the coach that recruited me to CSU, and didn’t focus on my size,” says Stevenson. “He saw the potential I had in this offense, so he offered me a scholarship.”
“When I visited campus and saw the Christian environment, I knew this was the place for me.”
It turns out Stevenson wasn’t the only one who is fortunate that CSU gave him a chance. The Buccaneers have benefitted greatly from the junior’s freakish athleticism; just four games into his junior season, Stevenson is both the CSU and Big South Conference all-time leader in kick return yards, and he’s on pace to top both school and conference in all-purpose yards before his time in pads is over.
Stevenson is quick to point out that, with God in charge, he didn’t end up at Charleston Southern by accident. “Of course I was disappointed that so many big schools passed me over, but the Lord knew what he was doing when He led me to Charleston Southern,” he says. “The offense we run here is almost tailor-made to fit my abilities.”
“The coaching staff at CSU knows exactly how to use my skills in a way that makes both the team and me better.”
As humble as he is athletic, Stevenson doesn’t put his own personal goals above the team’s quest to win a Big South Conference title. “As much as I enjoy breaking records, it doesn’t compare to winning games,” says the two-time All-Big South honoree. “We need to develop better consistency if we’re going to challenge for the conference championship, but we definitely working hard every day to make it happen.”
In the 2009 home opener against North Greenville, Stevenson had one of his finest days in a 34-0 win. The speedster caught a career-high eight passes for 114 yards, while rushing the ball six times for 86 yards. Late in the third quarter, Stevenson took a hand-off from QB A.J. Toscano and raced 56 yards for a touchdown, breaking the game wide open.
Not surprisingly, Stevenson remembers each and every slight he endured along the recruiting trail. But instead of growing bitter, he uses them as fuel for his record-setting performances.
“Every time I break a new record, I think about all of the schools that passed over me, and it motivates me to work even harder and set even more records,” Stevenson says with a fire in his eye. “I feel like I would have broken those records at a bigger level, only those schools weren’t willing to take a chance on me… But that’s their loss.”
A friendly reminder to the rest of the Big South: think twice before you challenge this dog to a fight.