It is hard to break away from the shadow that Russell Shepard left at Cypress Ridge, but Nick – Russell’s younger brother by two years – is prepared to do so.
So far, he is off to a good start. With the Rams slow out of the gate, Shepard’s play has been one of the lone bright spots.
“We have already dropped to 2-3, but I am just trying to keep getting my job done,” said Nick Shepard. “I have 53 tackles – two for a loss – and eight pass break ups so far. The coaches have got me playing a lot of safety and some corner. If we play a run team, I play strong safety; if we play a pass team, I am at free.”
After hearing from both scouts and a number of collegiate coaching staffs, Shepard expects that won’t be the case at the next level.
“College coaches are going to recruit me mostly at cornerback,” he said. “At 5-foot-10, 165-pounds, I think that is where most people feel I am at my best. I think if I grow to be 6-foot, I could stay at safety. For now, it will be corner.”
Shepard was held back from the junior summer camp circuit after he suffered a broken arm. Regardless of not seeing him in person, college coaches began their contact when the new season rolled in.
“I have heard from LSU, Texas A&M, UCLA and a bunch of other schools,” he said. “I did not get any offers yet, but I think Texas A&M and Baylor are pretty close. They have been showing me a lot of love. Same with UCLA; they have been recruiting me for a while. I think I will definitely have some good ones.”
Between the fast-start to his junior campaign and a heavy camp schedule next summer, Shepard should be one of east Texas’ top prospects by the time his senior season begins.
“I will be at four or five camps next year, from Texas stuff to LSU to UCLA,” he said. “It will be a fun time, and I am ready to show some people what I can do. For now, I have my focus on Friday nights, because we would rather be winning around here.”
When it comes to college decisions, however, the decision – if the right school offers – could make the whole process simple.
“I think LSU would be a great school, and I work best when I am around my brother,” he said. “I have also gotten to know coach [Larry] Porter and coach [Les] Miles really well. They have built up a relationship with me as far back as when Russell first committed to LSU. It would be a good fit.”
Shepard said he got a chance to see Porter during his latest unofficial visit, and he looks forward to possibly spending more time with him this weekend.
“I came down with my family for the Vanderbilt game, and we had a great time,” he said. “It was definitely cool to be a recruit and in Tiger Stadium, so I was all smiles – even after Russell got body-slammed and then fumbled on the next play. He still had his head high and was pumping up the team, so that was cool.
“I'm hoping I make it this weekend for the Florida game because that's going to be big. It doesn't get any bigger than LSU/Florida. I'm going to do my best to get down there."