Harrells Christian Academy’s Shaquor Newkirk, a running back and defensive end, will lead the Crusaders in his final high school season as he hopes to earn his team a championship.
Newkirk has only played one year of varsity football for HCA, putting up numbers that have landed him on the radar of Division 1 colleges. Newkirk said he is ready to lead his team by continuing his stellar play on both sides of the ball.
“I just have to take the lead. I am a senior this year so it’ll be up to me to put the team on my back and make sure that everyone is on the same page and playing on one accord,” said Newkirk.
As a junior, Newkirk had three total touchdowns for the offense, but had a breakout year on the defensive side of the ball. He tallied 37 solo tackles and 44 total tackles, to go with six sacks on the year.
“I love defense the best of all — I don’t like getting hit as much as I love doing the hitting,” said Newkirk. “Plus, I’ve always been a head-hunter. On top of that, defense is really easy and it helps that I just really like hitting people.”
Newkirk’s performance also netted some nice accolades for his standout season last year, earning All-Conference, All-County and the Coaches Award. His accolades are only matched by the level of hard work, dedication and faith that he puts into improving his game.
“Number one is God — couldn’t do any of it without Him. Aside from that, it’s all about the grind,” remarked Newkirk. “I’m always in the weight room first thing in the morning. My coach will come get me to make sure I get into the weight room. Coach won’t let me go home, go to work, nothing, until I’ve made sure that I have finished my workout.”
Newkirk’s level of success doesn’t just stop in the weight room. He takes that same level of hard work and effort onto the field, even in practice.
“It doesn’t matter what it is I’m working on, even if it’s just a day of conditioning. I’m always the first person on the field and the last one to leave,” said Newkirk.
With all his success, it has not gone unnoticed as he has been recruited by multiple colleges. Colleges such as N.C. State, Saint Andrew’s and ECU have expressed interest. Newkirk has also participated in the UNC-Chapel Hill elite camp.
“Its amazing to have these schools interested in me. N.C. State and ECU have been trying to recruit me as D-end,” said Newkirk. “Saint Andrews has been trying to recruit me as a running back, which is crazy because this was my first year ever carrying the ball.”
“I haven’t heard from them yet, but I’m really hoping I hear from UNC-Chapel Hill because it’s my dream to go there,” Newkirk continued. “And if I could choose, I’d really love to play D-end in college because I love D-end.”
Newkirk’s talents aren’t just limited to the gridiron, excelling in the classroom with a 3.5 GPA last year and earning academic honors in algebra and English.
“I just really want to thank my teacher Ms. Pope for all her help and everything she’s done for me. I couldn’t have done it without her,” a thankful Newkirk said about his academic success.
With his grades, Newkirk already knows what kind of future he’s going to strive for outside of football. He has plans to become a doctor.
“Ever since I did this research paper back in the ninth grade on the brain and researched things about what causes cancer, I just knew that I wanted to become a doctor,” said Newkirk.
A humble young man, Newkirk said he lives by a motto that he tries to put into all his endeavors.
“Always strive to be the best idol you can be in your life,” he stated.
Reach sports editor Michael Hardison at email@example.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SampsonInd.