NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk’s Willie Epps is going to finish his football career at Southern Connecticut State University as one of the top receivers in school history. Exactly how far he climbs on the Southern charts will be determined over the next few months.
Epps heads into his senior year with 22 touchdown receptions, the fifth best in school history. He is also fifth in receiving yards (2,289) and seventh in receptions (110). For all his individual achievements, however, the number that Epps is most focused on is team victories. The Owls went 7-3 last year, and Epps is hopeful for an even better season in 2012.
“I always come into the season wanting to win a championship,’’ Epps said as Southern Connecticut gets ready for its season opener Saturday at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. “I’ve never won a championship, even in high school. I want to improve my receiving and become a better player overall, but the team goal is the primary thing.”
Epps, who played at Brien McMahon, has been a consistent contributor since joining Southern after spending one year at Bridgton Academy in Maine. As a red shirt freshman in 2009, Epps had 35 receptions for 614 yards and five touchdowns. He has continued to blossom in Southern’s high-scoring offense, and last year had 39 receptions for 705 yards and nine touchdowns. He was an All-Northeast-Conference selection for the second straight year. He is a pre-season second team All-American by two college football organizations.
“We have a lot of different looks on our offensive sets,’’ Epps said. “It gives all of the receivers a chance to catch the ball. We can score a lot of points, we have a lot of threats. We’re looking to have another big year this year.”
The Owls averaged 36.6 points per game last year, including a 59-point explosion against St. Anselm and 48 against American International. A preseason league coaches poll put Southern second behind New Haven, which played in the national quarterfinals last season. Southern plays New Haven on Oct. 27. The league also has its first conference championship game on Nov. 10.
After Epps finishes his college career, he’s hopeful of getting an opportunity to play on the professional level. If not, he plans to pursue a position as a high school athletic director. He has already received his bachelor’s degree in sports management and is obtaining his degree in recreation administration. He served an internship this summer with Brien McMahon athletic director Joe Madaffari.
The first priority, however, is to have a strong finish to his college career. “We can be as good as we want to be,’’ Epps said. “We just have to believe in ourselves.”