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Leonardtown Raiders senior Seth MacPherson had a choice in what college he wanted to attend and ultimately play football for.

But in reality, he might not have had a choice at all.

Had he not chose Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois, he jokes he would have heard it from his mother, Theresa, a 1983 graduate of the university.

“They all wanted me to go there, and I might have got smacked a little bit if I didn’t choose it,” MacPherson said jokingly.

MacPherson avoided that smack by choosing Olivet, where he will continue his academic and athletic careers.

“It’s pretty exciting,” MacPherson added. “I am still kind of shocked. I was not sure if I was going to play ball or not in college. ... But I love the brotherhood that you can find in football. It’s unlike anything else that you can find out there. It’s a good feeling to know that the players on the team have your back on and off of the field.”

MacPherson was a force on the offensive and defensive lines for the Raiders last fall, being named to the All-County first team and All-SMAC second team from both positions.

On offense, he did not allow a single sack in his senior season and totaled 34 pancake blocks. As a defensive lineman, he finished with a team-high 93 tackles.

With the ability to play both positions at a high level, MacPherson knows where he wants to be once he steps foot onto a collegiate football field.

“It’s defense, always,” said MacPherson, a nose guard and tackle on the defensive line, “always defense. They asked if I preferred offense or defense, and I told them if I had to play offense for them, I wouldn’t say no.”

His mother was a huge influence in his decision, alongside academic and athletic scholarship money, but his father, Paul, and a pastor, also admittedly played a factor in his choice.

“They are also like a Christian college,” he said, “so we have been in contact with them for a while.”

An October visit also helped the senior make his decision.

“I got to go to one of the games, stay with one of the players overnight, and it was really nice out there,” MacPherson said.

While watching that game, MacPherson was able to see what college football players look like up close and in-person.

“There were some big boys out there,” MacPherson said. “They were like my weight, and they were like 6-foot-6, 6-foot-7. They are big out there. ... I’ll just keep working out in the offseason because I can’t get any taller. I have to workout, work on my speed and things like that.”

The Olivet Tigers are members of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and compete in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference.

With his major high school graduating goal nearing, MacPherson now has his goals set heading into college.

“I want to get a lot of playing time, and I want to try to start some of the games,” MacPherson said of his freshman-year goals. “I am not sure what I am going to do after college, but I am going to major in math, don’t know what specifically in math, but definitely math-related.”

The collegiate family affair does not start and end with his mother. MacPherson also has two cousins attending Olivet, one living on campus and another living off of campus.

jmccray@somdnews.com