Erasmus Hall senior Kefa Cort has put his disappointing junior year in his rearview mirror — the defenders trying to tackle him this season.
The wide receiver and defensive back was an all-city-level player as a sophomore, but he struggled last year in the shadows of star Dutchmen running backs Curtis Samuel and Khalil Lewin.
So after their graduation, Cort is taking full advantage of his opportunities to shine this season.
“It made me hungry,” Cort said of not performing up to his talents a year ago. “I knew I had to be a role player on the team. I think this year is my coming out party.”
Cort already has three times as many touchdowns as he did a year ago at this point in the season, and he is averaging more than 15 yards per catch.
His play on both sides of the ball has become one of the biggest reasons the Dutchmen are one of two undefeated teams left the top division of the Public School Athletic League.
“He had a real bad junior year, and I think he is coming out of his shell again, and he is rising to the top like cream is suppose to,” said Erasmus coach Danny Landberg.
The coach wasn’t the only one reminding Cort how important he is to this year’s Dutchmen squad. His classmates and teammates sat him down in the preseason. They told him he needed to be a playmaker for them because they had lost so many to graduation. His teammates aren’t surprised with how Cort has responded.
“He deserves everything that is coming to him,” said Rutgers-bound linebacker Deonte Roberts. “He’s a great kid. He works hard in practice and he does what he has to do. I’m proud of him.”
Cort was a huge part of Erasmus’s 18–16 victory over rival Abraham Lincoln two weeks ago. He caught a touchdown pass, ran the opening kick off back 95 yards for a touchdown, and broke up a pass on Lincoln’s final play of the game to seal the win.
Some of Cort’s success can be attributed to the emergence of quarterback Aaron Grant. The junior has given Cort that strong-armed, throwing quarterback he lacked a year ago. Grant’s talent has brought out the best in Cort.
“We really didn’t have a quarterback who could really throw last year,” Landberg said.
It all added up to reminding everyone how good a football player he is. The preseason message sunk in, and Cort continues to deliver.
“He knew that was the motivation coming into this season too step his game up,” Landberg said. “So far so good.”