Before enrolling at Goodman (Miss.) Holmes Community College, the 6-foot-2, 193-pound corner hadn't seen the field since 2010, when he played for Fresno (Calif.) Central.
Shepard, a former Scout.com five-star prospect and #3-ranked cornerback in the class of 2012, was forced to sit out his senior season due to California ruling after transferring to Fresno (Calif.) Washington Union. Still, the highly-touted athlete received numerous scholarships before signing with Notre Dame in February of 2012.
Things didn't get easier in South Bend; though Shepard was an early enrollee, the NCAA deemed him ineligible due to issues with his online correspondence courses and the athlete was forced to sit out the season in order to reclaim eligibility status.
In January 2013, Shepard headed to Goodman to join the Bulldogs program, eager to prove that the time off didn't impact his abilities on the field. Though adjusting to a new team while dusting off his skill set had its difficulties, especially when taking into account that Shepard has worn hearing aids since childhood, he feels that his journey has helped him grow as a person and as a Division-I prospect.
"I've improved a lot over these past few years. I've just been grinding off season. If you watch my highlights, it will tell you everything you need to know," he said.
Colleges haven't lost interest in Shepard, who has recorded 32 tackles through seven games this season and has put together an impressive highlight tape, set to the vocal stylings of Adele.
"I have offers from USC, California, UCLA, Washington, Utah State, Utah, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Tennessee, Minnesota, ULM, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Oregon State, and Arizona State. I'm planning on taking my visits after the season is over," he said.
While the process has forced the athlete to remain both positive and patient, Shepard is now taking advantage of his second shot and enjoying every moment on the gridiron.
"It's a good feeling to be back on the field. I'm getting back to the old Tee Shepard," he said with a laugh. "I'm very proud of myself that even though I wasn't able to play ball for a few years, I still have the talent. It's a blessing."
Shepard is on track to graduate in May 2014 and will have three years to play three.