Shelton Becoming the Deep Threat

Senior wide receiver Matt Shelton has appeared in 21 games over the past two seasons, mainly on the special teams. He did see action as a receiver in the 2003 season and made his first career touchdown reception against Stanford on a play that covered 65 yards. Irish Eyes spoke with Matt after a recent practice to get his thoughts on spring practice.

Although Shelton has been hampered by injuries at times in his career, he says he is healthy and was ready for practice to begin. "It feels good to get back out there and actually be doing something rather than just lifting, conditioning, and running all day," said Shelton. "Right now we are just getting back into it and focusing on techniques, effort, hustling to the ball, finishing and just mainly the basics."

In talking with other players, we have been told the memories of the past season were a motivator during winter conditioning and we asked Matt about the workouts. "They went really well. The team overall improved tremendously speed-wise and strength-wise and personally I feel I did the same and the attitude was great." We need to add that Shelton added to his conditioning by running for the Notre Dame Track Team this past indoor season.

This will be Matt's third year in the offensive scheme and we asked him about his role will heading into the season. "As of right now I have no idea what my role will be. It's whatever I make it from now on and take advantage of the opportunities given to me," he answered. As for the coaches' expectations, he stated, "They expect me to be a deep-ball threat and be more consistent in the short game so I can be used in both ways. As for special teams, it will be pretty much the same as last year. I will be used on kick-off return and punt block."

With the loss of receivers through graduation and position changes, Irish Eyes asked Matt about the competition for playing time and what the chemistry of the receiving corps is like, and he responded, "The chemistry is real good. All the guys get along real well and there is no kind of problems with one another . It's a good solid group that pulls for each other and will only get better."

There has been much negative talk about the past season and the present team so we asked Shelton to give us his thoughts on the subject and he readily shared, "You don't listen because you can't let anyone outside of the group affect you. If they're not in the locker room or on the team, they really don't know what is going on and what we are trying to do here. They're not going through the same things we do as players. We are coming together as a team. In fairness to the fans, they make assumptions on what they see, and you can't blame them for that."

Off the field, Matt Shelton is a personable young man. On the field, he will need to be a tough competitor and use his speed and quickness to make big plays and be a consistent go-to guy. Irish Eyes believes he has the potential to be this kind of player.


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