What’s in a name?
For Hershey McLaurin it was a chance to get away from one he didn’t necessarily like.
McLaurin, who’s birth name is Marques, was given the nickname Cornbread by his aunt at a young age. It was a nickname that he didn’t feel necessarily fit, so he did something about it. While it’s often said that you can’t create your own nickname, McLaurin didn’t follow that line of thinking.
“I said that isn’t my name anymore so I named myself Hershey,” he said. “It was all me.”
While his aunt still exclusively refers to his as Cornbread, the rest of the world now knows McLaurin by his Hershey moniker. One that is interesting in the sense that he doesn’t even eat chocolate.
“Actually, I don’t like chocolate,” he said. “I’m just Hershey I guess.”
The name took off even more after as an eighth-grade quarterback he threw a touchdown pass in the first game he ever played and his team coach at the time wasn’t even aware of his real name. So, it went down in the record books as Hershey and things only continued to build from there.
McLaurin was a four-year starting quarterback at Collins High in Mississippi where he threw for over 6,000 yards and 73 touchdowns in his career. While he initially thought that playing quarterback would be where he ended up in college, it was the opposite side of the ball where he quickly exceled.
“I got tired of getting hit and I wanted to hit people,” he added.
After two successful seasons at Jones J.C., McLaurin has made the adjustment to the highest level of college football where it has certainly not been without its challenges. The safety believes that the hardest part is the speed that things are unfolding but he is starting to get the hang of it.
At 6-foot-1, 204-pounds, McLaurin has the size to play at the power five level but has had to try to get all of the nuances down in order to be in the right position and execute. He has tapped on his experience as a quarterback on the other side of the ball given how similar it is to safety on the other side.
“Quarterback is really like a safety on defense,” he said. “You see everything so it’s not that hard but it’s a lot of adjusting.”
Another adjustment has been off the field, where the Mississippi native has had to be accustomed to a new climate as well as the perks of playing at the power five level with the resources available.
McLaurin will have two seasons left after this season and is coming off his first career start. It’s been quite the journey for him, just don’t make sure you call him Hershey.