Missouri Receiver Talks Illini Offer

Football recruiting is an inexact science. Players who have outstanding seasons as underclassmen get the early publicity and top rankings, while those who were injured or played roles on teams that prevented them from standing out must wait to prove themselves. St. Louis receiver Brandon Sheperd played on a running team last year, so he is not well known yet.

Brandon Sheperd didn't have a lot of passes come his way this past season at Parkway Central in Chesterfield, Missouri.

"Last season really wasn't a good season for me because I didn't really get the ball as much as I wanted to. We were 6-4, but we were real run-heavy. The only thing we receivers can do is block."

But he made the most of his chances.

"When I did get the ball, I made the best out of it. I caught 22 balls, and I averaged about 23-24 yards a catch."

As a result, he is just now being discovered by college scouts.

"Right now I have three offers, but I hope to make that four or five soon. I have offers from Illinois, Iowa and Indiana. I hope to get offers from K-State and Mizzou."

The receiver's recruiting coach for Illinois is DeAndre Smith.

"I talk to him on facebook, but I'll call him later. I really haven't had a chance to talk to him very much."

The 6'-3", 185 pounder tried to attend the Illini Junior Day in February, but he wasn't able to get a ride. He plans to visit Indiana April 2nd, but he continues to search for a good time to visit the UI.

"I'm talking to Coach Smith right now about getting up there. I've been waiting to go up there for about 3 or 4 months now, but every time he's asked me to go, my ride situation prevents it."

Sheperd shared his best attributes as a receiver only reluctantly. But he was detailed once he opened up.

"I don't really like to talk about myself. I have real nice route-running skills. I can catch the ball pretty good. I don't think anybody can stick me one-on-one. And I'm pretty good at getting into and out of my routes and getting to the ball.

"I'm a really good blocker when it comes to getting the running back where he needs to be. I can change the game when I have to. I'm just an all-around team player."

He has also seen time on defense, with some success.

"I also played free safety. I did pretty good. Not very many people got by me, and I hit pretty hard last year."

Sheperd has a dedication to his sport few possess.

"I'm working on the things I want to work on right now. I go to an elite football academy in Chesterfield Valley. I work football year around just to get myself better. And to keep myself one step ahead of everybody else next year."

Parkway Central's track team also benefits from Sheperd's athletic abilities.

"I'm running track right now. Our track team is looking very nice. We have a chance to go to state and win. I run pretty much everything except long distance and pole vault.

"I like the 100, but they seem to think the 200 is my race. We made the state meet last year with our relay team. We were four sophomores, and we were 8th place in the state."

He has a good idea what he wants in a college.

"Family oriented, where I feel safe, where I can get along with the coaches and where I can have a good time and really experience the college life. I'm thinking of majoring in sports management at the moment."

Sheperd has a good support system in place, one he expects to help him make his college choice.

"My mother, my football coach and my father are all helping me with the process."

Next fall should be a breakout year for the youngster. He knows he will have more opportunity to showcase his talent.

"To be honest, I'm very excited. We have a quarterback who is going to get me the ball. We have been working in the mornings already. He thinks that he can get me over 1,000 yards. I'm excited to see what he can do.

"I thought he was gonna be our quarterback last year, but we had a senior ahead of him. So this year he's gonna show what he can do."

Illini Inquirer Top Stories