By Joe Manning
Springfield College football player Joe Maurer has never had the luxury of being the biggest player on the football field, whether it was at the youth, high school or collegiate level.
Entering his senior year with the Pride, the defensive back is listed at 5 feet 9 inches tall and 190 pounds, which does not tower him to the top of the roster based on physical attributes.
However, sometimes it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but rather the size of the fight in the dog.
Over the course of his football career, this is the kind of mantra that Maurer has personified on a daily basis.
The Wilbraham, Mass., native is a man of few words. Instead, he lets his actions speak for him. As a result, he has become one of the top defensive players on the team and arguably one of the best defensive players in the NEWMAC conference — but he has done so relatively quietly.
Maurer admits that his height plays a factor in driving him to get better as a player.
“It does definitely give me an extra chip on my shoulder,” Maurer said. “Because I was not able to play at higher levels because of my height, I want to try and take advantage of it at the D-III level and really show people I can play regardless of the size that I am.”
This is a mentality the senior has had dating back to his days playing youth football for the town of Wilbraham and under the lights at Minnechaug Regional High School.
For the Falcons, Maurer played on both sides of the field – splitting his time between running back and safety.
Maurer’s knowledge of both sides of the game has also become a major reason why he has had so much success through his time on Alden Street.
The extra chip on Maurer’s shoulder has paid off in college ball.
Maurer’s statistics show how valuable he is to the Pride.
Over the course of three seasons at Springfield, he has registered 67 tackles and four interceptions in a total of 27 games. Maurer also has a knack for coming up clutch in key games. Last season, he had two interceptions in a close game against M.I.T. to help seal a win for the Pride. In the 2022 NEWMAC championship game, Maurer’s fourth-quarter interception on a third-and-one helped close the books on the team’s second straight title. His clutch heroics are a testament to his work ethic and the drive he has to not only be one of the best but to bring out the best in himself.
Springfield head coach Mike Cerasuolo credits Maurer, along with fellow seniors Billy Carr and Aiden Lewin, with building a great culture for the younger players on the team to look up to.
“He is a relentless worker,” Cerasuolo said. “He’s definitely proven himself day in and day out and I’ve always felt like he’s had that extra chip on his shoulder that he’s going to prove people wrong.”
Despite not being one of the captains of this year’s team, Maurer’s actions and attitude have earned him captain-esque recognition from his teammates and coaches. The senior was chosen to be on the “Brotherhood Council,” a group of upperclassmen that embody what the Brotherhood means to the football team. The Brotherhood is a term well-known around campus for non-athletes and student-athletes, and it is ingrained in the roots of the football program. The foundation of the Brotherhood consists of six traits that all of the players abide by, which include attitude, effort, dependability, accountability, toughness and grit.
Maurer’s commitment to the Brotherhood is a reason why he is the player and person that he is now, and refuses to let his size play any kind of factor in that.
“He’s on our Brotherhood Council and it’s for a reason,” Ceresuuolo said. “Because people respect him so much for the work he puts in day in and day out, and when he does say something people listen.”
Cerasuolo added,“He leads by example and he just sets a pace that legitimately not many kids on the team can keep up to, but they have to because we’re only as good as our best players, and Joe is one of them.”
Photo courtesy of Springfield College Athletics