Already hearing from Auburn and several other colleges early in his career, Shannon decided it was time to begin taking trips to see games and check out some of his favorites. It just so happens his first-ever college football game trip was last season to Jordan-Hare Stadium to see Auburn take on Georgia. That experience is one that cemented his early feelings for the Tigers and set the stage for his eventual commitment to Coach Gus Malzahn and company.
“It was the Miracle at Jordan-Hare,” Shannon said. “That was my first college football game. I was walking out of the tunnel to go towards my seat near the end of the game. I was going to get a bottle of water or something because even though it was late in the season it should have been colder than it was. I came out and they were on the other side of the field because the recruits sit in the end zone.
“I was looking at the jumbotron because it was so far away and there was a hail mary and it got tipped up,” he added. “I turned around because I was on the field walking to my seat and he (Ricardo Louis) was standing right there. The stadium was electric when it happened.”
That put the wheels in motion for Shannon to choose Auburn on Wednesday night, but between now and then he said the relationships he’s built with the coaching staff have been a huge part of things for him. Getting to know Scott Fountain (who coaches Auburn’s special teams) as well as his area recruiter Tim Horton, the 6-4, 200-pounder said that is big for him as is getting to know many of Auburn’s commitments for the 2015 class.
“I have a great relationship with everyone there,” Shannon said. “Coach Fountain, Coach Malzahn, Coach Horton, all of them did a really great job of recruiting me. Also I know about four or five commits from Georgia. Tyler Queen is a phenomenal quarterback from North Cobb. Bailey Sharp is committed there, too. Jordan Colbert is probably one of the funniest guys I have ever met. Also you have Kaleb Kim, he’s a great player himself. 2015 is looking very, very promising for Auburn and I’m excited to see it all coming together.”
Things have definitely come together for Shannon, a lifelong soccer player who has seen his trial of American football completely change his future. A goalkeeper with an exceptionally strong leg, he said it was good fortune that led him to the game just a few years ago.
“It was my freshman season when I was playing goalkeeper and the special teams coach came out and asked who can kick a soccer ball far,” Shannon remembered. “Everyone pointed fingers at me. I decided I would give kicking a football a try. Look where I ended up.”
While he’s a talented kicker for Marietta High, Shannon said he expects to get his first shot to win the punting job for the Tigers when he arrives on campus because of Daniel Carlson’s ability as a kicker and still having three years left to play. As for his decision, the former soccer standout said he couldn’t be more excited about what the future holds for him and his life on the Plains.
“It really came down to where I’m going to be the happiest,” Shannon said. “I had an offer from schools several hours away and another offer that was about 10 minutes from my house. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to my family for four years, but I wasn’t ready to be that close either. Auburn is kind of in between and it’s where I want to be.
“The coaching staff and the level of play, the stars just aligned. Sometimes I tell people that I got lucky, not lucky with my ability, but I got lucky with the situation. When I was six or seven years old my coach would always tell me luck is when preparation meets opportunity. The opportunity presented itself so I guess that means I was lucky.”
A talented kicker and punter, Shannon made 16-of-18 field goal attempts last season with nine over 40 yards. His only two misses were from 47 and 58 yards. He sent 85 percent of his kickoffs into the endzone for touchbacks. As a punter he averaged 40.7 yards with 13 of his 37 total punts downed inside the 20-yard line.