Most students know the football players at Towson. Terrance West. Peter Athens. Spencer Wilkins. But E.J. Nemeth?
In his own way, Nemeth is making his mark on the game of football, but not at Towson.
Nemeth is the starting quarterback for the Harrisburg Stampede, a semi-pro football team previously of the American Indoor Football Association. For the 2014 season, the Stampede will be playing in the Professional Indoor Football League.
“I plan on continuing to play until the wheels fall off, until my body won’t allow me to play anymore,” Nemeth said. “This past year, I played with broken ribs and a separate shoulder. I enjoy playing, and at this point my career, I’m older and I’m not worried about going anywhere else, I love Harrisburg and I’m playing with guys that I love playing with.”
Marques Colston, a wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints, owns the team.
Nemeth, now roughly eight years removed from his time at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, retired from football briefly after transferring from Sacred Heart to King’s College in Pennsylvania.
After attending Towson for one semester in 2010, he had to drop out due to financial restrictions. Now, he is back at the University, studying to become a full-time teacher and football coach.
“I was in Baltimore and [Towson] was close, and it was the only school I applied to,” he said. “My mom told me I was accepted, I got the letter a few days after my grandfather passed, and she said it was a sign from him that I should go back to school.”
“I definitely regret my decision leaving Sacred Heart,” he said. “Unfortunately, I allowed me being immature and dumb and not talking it out with anyone [to get in the way].”
Nemeth eventually left King’s College and took a full-time job as a beer distributor. Now, Nemeth’s main source of income comes from the Stampede, and he works on a farm bailing hay and driving farm equipment to make money in the offseason.
Prior to applying to Towson, Nemeth also spent time with semi-pro football teams in Anchorage, Ala., Trenton, N.J. and Baltimore.
Nemeth got his start in semi-pro football while he was coaching at a high school in New Jersey. Some of his teammates from King’s College were trying out for a team in Reading, Pa., and Nemeth decided to join them.
“The weekend before [the tryout] I was playing basketball and fractured my ankle,” he said. “So I went to tryouts in a boot. I was throwing the ball around and did well, I made the team, and I played that season as a backup.”
Eventually, Nemeth made his way to Baltimore, where he played quarterback for the Baltimore Mariners for two seasons.
During the 2009 season, the Mariners made the playoffs with Nemeth at quarterback, but lost in the first round.
Then, in 2010, Baltimore won the AIFA championship and became the first AIFA team to record a shutout.
“Going through that season and that journey and winning, it’s the best feeling I’ve ever had,” Nemeth said. “To do it with dudes with all sorts of backgrounds it was awesome. It was crazy to see all the personalities and egos. [The team] was really a family, and we still try to get together as often as we can.”
While with Baltimore, Nemeth said there was a small fan club that followed the team around, and having that memory keeps him in the area.
“[The club] would serve us dinner on Monday nights after film, and they’d follow us to away games,” he said. “We felt like the Baltimore Colts, even though we weren’t as big, it was just neat.”
Although he bounced around a lot during his football career, Nemeth said that he has learned a lot about himself, and wouldn’t change any decision except the one to transfer to King’s College.
“I learned that I’m extremely impulsive,” he said. “I make some pretty bad choices a lot of the times. At the end of the day, it’s gotten me to this point. I’ve met some awesome dudes along the way, but I’ve learned about living in different parts of the country.”