New Rochelle (N.Y.) Iona Prep defensive end Qaadir Sheppard has been relatively quiet on the recruiting front over the last month and a half. But that hasn’t prevented schools from continuing to pursue the three-star prospect.
”I’m still hearing from Syracuse, Rutgers, Boston College, UConn, Pitt, Virginia, UMass and UCF,” Sheppard said. “Definitely Syracuse is recruiting me harder than the others along with UCF. Also Rutgers too.”
Syracuse missed out on New Jersey product Jake Pickard on Thursday, making Sheppard an even bigger priority than he already was. The Orange have stayed in constant contact and are trying to get Sheppard back on campus.
”I get letters from them every day,” he said. “Hand written letters every day. Basically almost every day. Coach (Tim) Daoust and coach (Chuck) Bullough are the ones recruiting me.
"I talked to coach Bullough on Thursday on Facebook. We talked about me coming up to visit to watch them practice during training camp.”
Sheppard is still trying to work out that trip within his schedule. He plans to discuss things with his father to try to make a visit work. Sheppard believes being able to see Syracuse practice will give him a feel for what it’s like as a player within the program.
Rutgers is another school that has been recruiting Sheppard hard throughout the process.
”They basically tell me the same thing,” Sheppard said. “How they really want me at their school. They tell me that they really want to coach me and stuff like that.”
Central Florida has jumped into the mix lately for the 6-foot-3 defensive end. He talks to assistant Allen Mogridge on a regular basis.
”They’ve been sending me a lot of letters,” Sheppard said. “Their coach messages me on Facebook nearly every day too.”
Relationships with the coaching staffs recruiting Sheppard will be critical to his decision. The three schools recruiting him the hardest all have that in common.
”I have a really good relationship with coach (Jim) Panagos at Rutgers,” Sheppard said. “And with coach Daoust at Syracuse. I also have a good relationship with coach Allen at UCF.“
With a visit to Syracuse potentially on the docket for the coming weeks, Sheppard has two other schools in mind for August visits before making a decision.
”I’m still trying to get down to Virginia and Pitt,” Sheppard said. “But I don’t have any dates set or anything. I’m still trying to decide before my season starts. I just want to see a couple of schools first.
"I don’t want to make a decision without seeing a couple of the other schools I might be interested in.”