6'0, 205 lbs.
Servite HS, Anaheim (CA.)
The NFL Draft last weekend represented why the Trojans have been so successful over the last few years. When looking at the number of Trojans selected, one must remember that it can all be traced back to recruiting. And if that is the case, then the future of Troy looks to be in pretty good hands. Although the 2007 class is just beginning to shape up, it is never too early to grab one of the top Sophomores in the nation for the 2008 class.
TYPE OF PLAYER: The fact that Coach Carroll and staff would accept a verbal commitment from a prospect in the 2008 class speaks volumes about the talent that player must possess. D.J. Shoemate is widely regarded as one of the top prospects in the nation for the class of 2008 regardless of position. Shoemate may be listed at wide receiver, but he makes his impact known throughout the game at multiple positions. Shoemate plays the game of football with passion and confidence years beyond his sophomore rank, always wanting the ball in his hands when the games on the line. Not only does Shoemate possess solid speed, but he is also a very physical receiver, never hesitating to lower his shoulder and deliver the blow.
WHAT WE LIKE: There is no question that Shoemate will be an impact player for years to come. Shoemate has great size for a receiver, and with two years remaining in his high school career, watch out. I can only imagine what two more years of weight lifting and speed training can do for this kid. Over the last few years, Coach Carroll has thrived on recruiting players who can fill many positions, and Shoemate is no different.
The thing I love about Shoemate is the way he plays the game full speed. He is not afraid to catch the ball in traffic and run with it. Shoemate excels at going up in the air and coming down with ball, regardless of where it is located. He uses his body very well to shade off defenders while the ball is in the air, making it very difficult for defenders to get position on him. Shoemate has no trouble escaping jams due to his size and strength. Even watching Shoemate play defensive end, you see the explosiveness this kid possesses. Not only is able to make the catch in traffic, but he wants the ball in his hands when the game is on the line. He is very confident in his abilities, and rightfully so.
The 2007 class is a down year for receivers in California, so locking up Shoemate early will prove to be a very smart move down the line. The only problem with Shoemate is deciding what position he will play when arriving at Troy. It is possible that Shoemate may grow into a safety or linebacker, but wherever he ends up, expect him to make an impact. You must remember, this kid is only a sophomore.
WHAT HE NEEDS TO WORK ON: Shoemate has a game that is very polished all around. But a few things that Shoemate needs to work on are his straight away speed and route running skills. By no means is Shoemate a slow prospect, but playing receiver in the college ranks requires an extra gear. Many of the routes Shoemate runs are fairly simple and lack complexity, making it tough to evaluate that aspect of his game.
REMINDS US OF: Shoemate reminds me of a young Steve Smith. Both Smith and Shoemate were very polished long before their high school careers were over. The only difference between the two at the same stage in their career is size. Shoemate is a much bigger prospect then Smith was coming out of high school.
DID YOU KNOW: Shoemate is not the only Trojan commitment on the Servite HS team. Shoemate and current 2007 SC commit Chris Galippo create a lethal duo on the football field. Not only does Servite possess Galippo and Shoemate, but keep an eye open for Matt Kalil. Kalil is another talented 2008 prospect and the younger brother of current starting center Ryan Kalil.
WHAT SHOEMATE SAYS: "Man, it was just an unbelievably great day today," said Shoemate. "I came to school a little late and people were telling me that Coach Carroll and Coach Kiffin were on campus. I'm only a sophomore so I expected to hear them say that they were looking forward to watching me develop and that maybe someday I would be recruited by them, I really didn't expect to hear what I heard. I had to call them on the phone and I was able to talk with both of them, they told me I had an offer and it was unreal. I thought I took it well, I kept my composure pretty good and, man, I am just thrilled right now."