After graduating from Eleanor Roosevelt High, Mike-Ryan Mofor waited more than two years to make his college football debut.
But it was certainly worth the wait.
Mofor, who grew up in Laurel, ran 10 times for 237 yards and two touchdowns for Division III Salisbury University in a 48-14 victory over Albright of Reading, Pennsylvania in late August.
The performance earned Mofor a spot on the D3football.com Team of the Week and he was also named the New Jersey Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week.
Salisbury set a school record with 654 yards rushing in the game.
“He has tireless work ethic in the weight-room to go along with his natural God-given ability and a system that compliments that ability,” according to Anthony Johnson, the offensive coordinator for Salisbury. “He is an explosive running back that has a feel for getting in the end zone.”
Mofor then had 52 yards and two touchdowns in his second game against Kean, as Salisbury won 28-0.
The junior running back gained 78 yards on just six carries with one touchdown in a 38-7 victory against TCNJ.
In his fourth game, he had 41 yards on three carries as Salisbury beat host William Patterson, 42-0. Mofor had 42 yards on nine carries, including one touchdown, in a 27-24 overtime victory at Christopher Newport on October 6.
“The key to the offense is we are a very disciplined system,” said the 5-foot-8, 200-pound Mofor, who gained a team-high 458 yards on 42 carries in the first five games. “It has to be done a certain way. We have a tradition to uphold. That basically it is what the offense shows it is about.”
Mofor, currently third on the team in rushing with 600 yards on 64 attempts, leads the Sea Gulls in yards per attempt (9.4) and is tied for the lead in touchdowns (9).
He scored four touchdowns in Salisbury’s 33-0 victory over Southern Virginia on Oct. 20 and the following week he ran for 75 yards on 10 carries in a 45-7 victory over Rowan.
Mofor feels the team has a shot to make the national playoffs under veteran head coach Sherman Wood, the former head mentor at Division II Bowie State.
“He is really focused on special teams,” Mofor said of Wood, now in his 20th season at the school. “I feel like that is another reason that Salisbury is good. Some schools don’t put that emphasis on it.”
Wood praised Mofor’s work ethic.
“First and foremost he is in great, great shape,” Wood said. “His body is well trained for our offense and the things we ask him to do. He is a strong kid. He was a Division II transfer kid. We are pleased and happy he is here. He is doing a great job for us."
Mofor took a circuitous route to Salisbury, an annual power in the Mid-Atlantic region.
He attended Deerfield Run Elementary in Laurel and Martin Luther King Middle School in Beltsville.
Mofor attended Laurel High as a freshman, then transferred to Roosevelt High.
Coming out of high school as a running back he attracted attention from such schools as Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a Division II program, as well as Division I-AA Towson and Richmond of the powerful Colonial Athletic Association.
Mofor originally attended Saint Anselm, a Division II football program in New Hampshire, in the fall of 2016, but he did not play.
“At first it was far from home but I got used to it,” he said.
After attending Saint Anselm he decided to transfer to Salisbury.
What were some of the reasons he transferred to Salisbury?
“Playing time, and also I felt my career would move in a better direction at Salisbury,” Mofor said. “Basically I felt I had a better chance with the Salisbury coaching staff.”
Mofor didn’t play for the Sea Gulls last season while he was in school. “The whole year let me get my focus back,” he said. “It helped me increase my football knowledge and my strength off the field in the weightroom. It was like a redshirt year.”
Johnson sees the back getting better and better.
“Great running backs never stop working on their craft,” according to Johnson.
Another Roosevelt graduate with Salisbury is Matthew McFarland, a junior defensive lineman from Bowie. The roster also includes Hammond graduate Tekye Evans, a freshman wideout, and freshman back Londell Montgomery, from Meade High.
Mofor is the second member of his family to play college football. His brother, Karl, is a former Roosevelt standout and now a sophomore running back for Division I-AA Albany of the CAA.
Karl Mofor ran for 555 yards and six touchdowns last season for Albany and had 253 yards on 41 carries in the first five games this year. The Great Danes quarterback is Vincent Testaverde, the son of former Ravens quarterback Vinny Testaverde.