Iowa Receivers Coach Erik Campbell stopped by Horn High in Texas a few weeks ago and picked up some junior tape. He took it back to Iowa City, watched it and JaCorey Shepherd left quite an impression.
After showing the highlights to some of the other Hawkeye coaches, Iowa decided to offer the 2011 wide receiver a scholarship on Monday.
"He's one of those kids when you see him on tape you know he can play," Horn Head Coach Rodney Webb said. "
Iowa became the first school to offer Shepherd. The 5-foot-11, 170-pounder caught 46 passes for 672 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior.
"He's a very dynamic player," Webb said. "He plays receiver like he's running back. We run a lot of verticals, quick slants, screens, he's good at all of those."
Shepherd played running back during his freshman season in Houston, but switched to receiver when in got into Horn's air-raid offense. The school pattered the scheme after what Mike Leach was running at Texas Tech.
"He's got break-away speed with good hands," Webb said.
Shepherd runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds. He also plays cornerback for Horn.
"I like to have my hands on the ball. I prefer receiver," Shepherd said. "But if they need me to play defense, I'll do that. I just want to win."
Shepherd said he was surprised by the Iowa offer. He knew that they had been by the school to pick up tape and talk to his coaches, but he didn't have contact with the Hawkeyes.
"I think they like my versatility," Shepherd said. "I'm an athlete that can play on both sides of the ball. I feel like I'm a fast learner and I have a strong knowledge of the game."
Shepherd said he is working on his strength and speed. He plays point guard on the basketball team and runs track in the spring.
"I'd like to do a better job of finishing runs when they put the ball in my hands," he said.
Webb said that Shepherd owns a 3.86 core GPA.
"We haven't had a lot of (recruiting) traffic through here yet, but they'll all come through eventually," Webb said. "Utah loves him, and (Texas) A&M likes him a lot, too."
Webb couldn't anticipate many growing pains for Shepherd if he moved from Horn's spread to Iowa's traditional attack.
"They're the same routes," Webb said. "The schemes are different, but routes are routes. And we're not sure if Iowa wants him at receiver or as a DB."