Sheppard has one visit set

Badgers no longer have scholarship offer for California athlete

Craig Sheppard, a halfback at San Pasqual High School in Escondido, Calif., has set an official visit to Florida Atlantic for Jan. 14.

Florida Atlantic is Sheppard's only current scholarship offer, though he also has been offered the chance to play running back for Division I-AA Columbia, an Ivy League school that does not offer scholarships. He plans to set up official visits to Columbia and UNLV this week.

Coaching changes have significantly impacted the recruiting process for Sheppard. He was being recruited by Washington and Notre Dame and those schools' new coaching staffs are now re-evaluating him.

Notre Dame, Washington, UNLV and Northwestern are looking at Sheppard as a defensive back.

"Florida Atlantic and Columbia are recruiting me as a running back. That's one of the reasons I like both of them," Sheppard said.

"All Columbia needs is my transcript and then I'm going to set up a visit probably to there," Sheppard said. "I'm really interested in that because I want to go to a good school. That's one of the reasons I'm considering it because it's so good academically."

Sheppard used to consider Wisconsin and California his favorites. The Badgers, however, who were recruiting Sheppard as an outside linebacker, revoked his scholarship offer. According to Sheppard, the Badgers told him that he could re-enter their plans depending on how the recruiting season shakes out.

Cal never showed much interest.

"They said they have my tape and stuff but they haven't gone over it because I'm sure they get a lot of tape," Sheppard said. "I've kind of just dropped them out because I want to go somewhere where I'm wanted and not somewhere where I made myself wanted by them.

"I want to go somewhere where they feel like they want me or need me, not somewhere where I have to walk-on or something. I want to go somewhere where I can get a scholarship or at least enough financial aid, like a Columbia, where I can go there."

Sheppard at one point had a scholarship offer to Utah.

"I was actually probably going to commit there but then they withdrew their offer," Sheppard said.

Soon after Sheppard's Utah offer was revoked, the Utes offensive coordinator, Mike Sanford, took the head coaching job at UNLV.

"That's the reason I'm interested in UNLV right now," Sheppard said. "Coach Sanford sent a guy out a few days after I called him to come to my school and talk to me."

Sheppard missed 5 ½ games this season due to injury but said he managed 425 yards and six touchdowns rushing on 45 carries. He also caught 10 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown and had four kickoff returns for 150 yards, including an 83-yard touchdown.

"I broke three ribs and I dislocated a toe within the season," Sheppard said. "I missed four because of my ribs. I missed one-and-a-half because of my dislocated toe."

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