By Joseph Santoliquito
Philadelphia, PA (CBS)—Kyle Shurmur is a little deceiving. For one, he’s heavier than he looks. Another is that he’s in a new role, a role suited for him, a role it seems he’s held for years. He hasn’t. For the first time this season, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound junior will be a starting high school varsity quarterback.
He’ll be the hub for five-time defending Philadelphia Catholic League champion La Salle, arriving at this destination via St. Edward, of Lakewood, Ohio, a powerhouse program in a stud football state.
Shurmur also arrives with a deep football pedigree as the son of Pat Shurmur, the Eagles’ offensive coordinator and former head coach of the Cleveland Browns who was once an All-Big 10 center at Michigan State.
As for Kyle, he likes the fact that he’s been around NFL teams ever since he can remember picking up a football. He also likes being his own person—and sure, he takes pride in being Pat Shurmur’s son, but there is a growing possibility that maybe one day Pat Shurmur will be recognized as Kyle Shurmur’s dad.
It starts now.
“This will be a new experience for me,” said Kyle, who got varsity reps last season at St. Edwards in a back-up role. “I was looking at La Salle and St. Joe’s [Prep], and I saw the great job La Salle [coaches] Brett and Drew Gordon do every year with their offense. But it wasn’t about football, it was about going to a great academic school. Me and my parents, we both loved St. Joe’s Prep and La Salle. They are both great schools, but I liked La Salle a little more, so choosing either school was a win-win for me.”
Shurmur should excel in the high-flying offense the Gordons draw up. They throw a lot at their quarterbacks, and it appears Kyle has absorbed most of it. Though Drew Gordon, the Explorers’ head coach, wants to ease Kyle into his new position.
“In the time we’ve had Kyle I like his poise and maturity; he knows what he’s doing. You can tell he’s a self-confident kid,” Drew Gordon said. “We’ll see how it goes. I’m not saying anything else until he plays. The other thing that shows is you can tell he’s from a football background, and he’s grown up in that atmosphere. Kyle’s traveled the country and he’s received knowledge a lot of kids his age haven’t. He has a pretty good football IQ. But no one really knows anything until we play.”
Kyle is taking the same approach.
“For me, it’s all about winning,” Kyle says. “Individual stats don’t matter, it’s all about winning and leading La Salle into the Catholic League playoffs and to a state championship. It will be a challenge this year, something new for me, since I’ll be starting for the first time. I’m sure I’ll be a little nervous at first. I have to take it one step at a time. I feel like there is a lot of talent on this team and we’ll be pretty solid.”
Though again, Kyle Shurmur is a little deceiving. It’s not just football with him. He also happens to excel in another sport—swimming. It’s deeply entrenched in Kyle’s blood, from his mother, Jennifer Shurmur, a standout swimmer at Michigan State, where she met Pat. His oldest sister Allyson is senior team captain for Boston College’s swim team and Erica, the second-eldest Shurmur, swims for her parent’s alma mater, Michigan State.
“Hey, you won’t find me wearing those Speedos, I wear the compression shorts,” said Kyle, laughing. “But I do enjoy swimming. You can say it’s in my blood, too, along with football. But football is my main sport. It’s what I grew up playing and it’s what I plan on doing in college.”
Kyle aims to swim for the Explorers this winter, but his start may be stunted by how deep he can lead the Explorers in the state playoffs. La Salle has owned the Philadelphia Catholic League, but that streak will be threatened by Prep this season.
Kyle is aware of it all. He knows about the rivalry, he also knows the scrutiny that’s bound to follow, being Pat Shurmur’s son.
“I take a lot of pride in that, but he’s ‘dad’ to me,” Kyle said. “My dad lets be my own person and allows me to do my thing. There are of things I got from him. He allowed me to watch film and break things down when I was in seventh and eighth grade. But at the end of the day, I’m just another player at La Salle. That’s the way I look at it.
“My goal is pretty simple—just to win. That’s all, just win and enjoy being a La Salle football player and have fun. If that’s not your goal, you shouldn’t be playing football. I try to be a pretty bottom-line guy. I’m going to do what I have to do to make everyone around me better. Everything else will take care of itself.”
Don’t be deceived by Kyle Shurmur. He may be a first-time varsity starter, but Michigan State and Penn State are already interested in him. Chances are that list will grow.
Joseph Santoliquito is a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly.