For the longest time versatile Shiloh Christian speedster Eric Shaffer has been viewed as a potential wide receiver prospect for the University of Arkansas and other college football teams for that matter.
But he's recently been told that the Razorback staff is now sizing him up as a cornerback, something that is just fine with Shaffer (5-10, 175, 4.3), one of at least four Division I prospects on the Saints roster this season.
"That's just fine with me and was something I was really excited to hear about when they called," Shaffer said Saturday while getting ready to take in Arkansas' season-opening 48-17 win over Missouri State. "I've actually always preferred to be a defensive back on the college level. Actually wherever they want to play me is just fine."
Arkansas, Utah, Army, Texas A&M and Texas Tech have all expressed interest in the past few days for Shaffer, who return to Shiloh this season after spending the previous two campaigns at Fayetteville.
"They have all called Coach Floyd and called me," said Shaffer, who doesn't try to hide the fact that he would love to be a Razorback. "Most of them want us to get some tape out and we'll see where it goes from there."
Those schools and others will see a player who will line up at no less than seven places for this season for the Class AAA Saints, who lost their season opener to defending Class AAAA state runner-up Greenwood 45-42 on Friday night.
"Pretty much I will be an all-purpose player," Shaffer said. "I will be a running back, wide receiver, flanker in the slot, cornerback, safety, punt returner and kick returner. We're just trying to utilize my speed in all those spots and I also I will in a position to be blocking for (tailback) David Ingram. I just want to do anything I can do to help my team with my ability."
Shaffer - who caught 36 passes for 612 yards last season, - showed off that versatility Friday night by catching 5 passes for 43 yards, carrying the ball 5 times for 82 yards, picking up a lot of return yardage and also batting down a pass and making several tackles.
He is one of several options in the Saints offense with a trio of juniors - quarterback Matt Simpson (6-1, 205), wideout Crosby Tuck (6-2, 185) and offensive/defensive lineman Nolan Hankins (6-7, 315) - already generating Division I interest as well.
Simpson was 27-of-41 passing for 353 yards and three touchdowns on Friday while Tuck caught 4 passes for 108 yards and Hankins help lead both the offensive and defensive lines for Shiloh head coach Josh Floyd.
There's also Ingram (6-2, 200) and junior wideouts Austin Tucker (6-1, 180) and Patrick Ryan (6-1, 165) for defenders to deal with during a contest.
"Coach Floyd and his assistant coaches really try to utilize the system around the players like me and David Ingram and Crosby Tuck and the other guys. It's really hard to try and account for all of us."
Greenwood quarterback Daniel Stegall (6-3, 180) - the state's second-highest rated senior quarterback behind Springdale star and UA commit Mitch Mustain - was phenomenal with 536 yards total offense by himself in the win.
Stegall - getting interest from Texas A&M, Tulsa, Arkansas State, Navy and Air Force to name a few teams - was 23-of-26 for 339 yards and rushed for 197 yards while personally having a hand in six touchdowns.
"He's very good," Shaffer said. "They ran a lot of quick-hitting stuff and we just tried to get to them as soon as we could."
Playing cornerback against an offense like Greenwood's is certainly good learning on the job for Shaffer and the Saints, who travel to meet Little Rock Christian on Friday.
"I love defense and I feel I am probably better on that side of the ball," Shaffer said. "I really got a lot of reps against Greenwood and I will get a lot more comfortable with it. I haven't really played there since my sophomore year, but that might be where I end up in college and I wouldn't mind that at all."
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