The Terps’ staff has been attempting to add an outside linebacker to its 2016 class, and they may have just found one in Buford (Ga.) multi-talented athlete Brett Shepherd. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound quarterback/tight end/linebacker officially visited College Park, Md., Jan. 29-31 and came away raving.
“It was just a great visit, and I’d definitely say the chances are pretty high I [commit] to them,” said Shepherd, who at one time held offers from Pitt, Kentucky, Iowa, Iowa State, ECU, Missouri and others. “I have to talk it over with my family, but maybe in the next day or two [Feb. 1 or Feb. 2] I’ll decide. I really liked it up there at Maryland. It sounds like everything is moving in the right direction.”
Shepherd has been in contact with UMD defensive coordinator Scott Shafer for the last month. He said he didn’t receive a firm Maryland offer until just recently, but has spoken to the staffers “pretty regularly.” And apparently the interest level was high enough on both sides for Shepherd to schedule a College Park official.
“It was definitely good to get up there and meet all the coaches and players,” Shepherd said. “But Coach Shafer had been recruiting me when he was at Syracuse, and then kept recruiting me when he got the defensive coordinator job at Maryland. He’s been telling me all these great things about Maryland, what they have planned for the future and how I’d fit into his defense. He’s a really good guy. He did an in-home with me too and met my family and all that. It’s a great relationship we’ve been building.”
The Buford native also had plenty of praise for head coach D.J. Durkin and linebackers’ coach Matt Barnes. He said the official was the first time he’d had a chance to meet either one.
“Coach Durkin is a great man and has such a passion for the game. He’s been to so many prestigious places and had so many great defenses. I feel like he’d be a great guy to play for,” Shepherd said. “And Coach Barnes is a young coach on the rise. He’s another guy with a lot of knowledge and someone I could learn a lot from.
“[Barnes], Coach Shafer and Coach Durkin, they were all talking about how they want the program to be represented and what it should be build on. They said they need guys like me there, so I was honored to hear that.”
UMD linebacker Tyler Burke served as Shepherd’s player host. Shepherd said he readily bonded with both Burke and the other players.
“Tyler was a good dude and definitely made my visit worthwhile,” Shepherd said. “He showed me a good time, and was just real laid back and cool. Everyone I met there was like that. I got along with everyone very well.
“If I had to say one highlight, it would be just hanging around the guys on the team and just having fun with them.”
He counted dinner and D.C. as another highlight. Evidently Shepherd took full advantage of his free meal.
“I’d say going to STK Steakhouse was real fun. I had a 34-ounce ribeye; I had to get the big one,” laughed Shepherd. “It was great. I loved all the food there.”
Shepherd had actually been in Maryland once before. He said he has an aunt that lives in the area, and he visited her when he was younger.
“I don’t really remember being up in Maryland before, but, yeah, I loved being in D.C.,” said Shepherd, who mentioned he's also considering Kentucky, which he officially visited Jan. 15. “[College Park] is definitely in a nice location being right next to D.C., 45 minutes from Baltimore and a couple hours from Philly. It’s a real nice setup. The campus was beautiful too.”
The Buford product is coming off a season where he recorded 85 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, a forced fumble and an interception.”