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Shaquille Shedd – one name, several opinions.
From highlight plays on the field, to actions off the field resulting in courtroom visits.
The last time Shedd saw a courtroom was 2009, the year he graduated high school. As far as a football field, well he’s seen a lot of those.
Following a successful football career at Southwest Baptist University, Shedd has generated buzz with NFL scouts and has submitted his name into the 2014 National Football League Draft.
Making an NFL roster is possibly a happy ending, to a much longer story.
At an early age Shedd says his first challenge was sort of similar to every little boys, making their father proud.
“The hardest person to prove myself to was my father,” he said. “Growing up, the people who knew my father, knew that he was the best athlete in Franklin County at his time.”
With a hype set at a young age, Shaquille felt the pressure to be great.
“The community would always say, ‘are you going to be like Sammy Shedd, Sam-Bo, are you going to be like Sammy?’”
So he set off to be like his father, or better.
Shedd began playing basketball at age five, with dad Sammy right there to share his encouragement, sometimes from a coaching perspective.
“He was the hardest one on me,” he said when talking about playing sports for his dad.
Shedd added, “He was my mentor/coach/father, in that order.”
Through his early playing days Shedd was motivated by more than just his father, but also by the great athletes who donned the Franklin County Rebel jersey before him.
ed about growing up and watching “the best athletes,” at a time when Rebel pride was still running hot in the community. He would go to the high school games with his father, and while the other kids played, he would watch tentatively.
“Quincy Russell, Andy Bishop, Cody Darvin, Troy Taylor, the Cunnighams,” Shedd listed the players he watched growing up as if he could go on and on.
He mentioned the passion the former players displayed on game days and spoke about how being a Rebel was something he wanted to be.
“There’s something about the old high school that I loved, the guys that played there put their bodies on the line,” Shedd reminisced.
He wanted to become the leader of that squad.
From a childhood dream to reality, Shedd quickly grabbed the Franklin County sports fans’ attention with his skills on the field or the court, and as he entered Franklin County High School most area sports goers knew his name.
Being well known within the community had negative effects as well, and Shedd admits he didn’t make it easy on himself.
“I did a lot of foolish things, when I think back on it, I was just wild,” he said.
Making some bad decisions, Shedd began to build an inner conflict.
He felt as if the community had two different visions of him. They knew the guy he was on the field, but they knew another when he was off of it.
Although Shedd’s efforts on the football field never wavered, different troubles began to land him court dates and probation.
“I was in court so much it was almost like school to me,” he said.
Soon the rumors circulated, and the different thoughts or opinions found their way to a teenaged Shaquille. He said it was hard at times to know whom he really was, fighting with the battle most teenagers deal with which is finding their self.
“I was in the emotion of proving myself I wasn’t that guy, that day, but it was like it all reversed.” Shaquille talks about his emotions the day of a court date.
The words of others good and bad caused a constant battle in his mind.
While one side would say he was a terrible kid, and a bad guy, the other would back him saying he wasn’t this person, he says.
Shedd admits he did some “foolish” things and says he had a “short fuse.”
“I’m still a teenager, so I’m still trying to find out who I really am,” Shedd said.
“I felt like half the community gave me a chance, and the other didn’t because of the things they heard about me.”
Following his junior year at FCHS, Shedd began to see interest from college coaches. Division-I schools, Division-II schools, and so on were interested in the 6’1” athlete who exuded talent.
Beginning his senior year, things looked to be on the up for Shedd despite yet another coaching change by Franklin County. All the momentum on the field however was suddenly stopped by Shedd’s actions off of it.
“I got in so much trouble, that colleges began to back off,” Shedd recalled.
Then all of his off the field troubles hit a breaking point, and Shedd was sent off, almost ending his playing days for Franklin County.
Shaquille was sent to Taft Youth Center in Pikeville, Tenn. His last chance would be at an appeal court date, which he is grateful for to this day.
“I knew I wasn’t a bad guy, I was just a guy who made several mistakes, and was looking for that second, second chance,” Shedd said.
He mentioned he feels that Judge Thomas C. Faris gave him that chance; a chance that since then he has ran with.
Since his appeal court date in 2009, Shedd has not been back inside a courtroom. He says he hasn’t even received a parking or speeding ticket.
He remains thankful for the opportunity and chance he received but hopes that future kids get the same chance.
“There are so many young kids that either went through what I was going through, and didn’t know their real self, just still trying to find their identity,” Shedd said of the kids who may make some of the same mistakes he did.
He went on to say, “They never get a second chance, because either the system or the community just says, ‘hey we’re not going to put up with you’”
In try to explain exactly what he meant, Shedd turned to his faith, “I mean, God forgives people, why can’t we?”
Moving on from getting sent off was tougher than Shedd had anticipated, nearly every college backed off, that is except for one, Southwest Baptist University.
They were willing to give him another chance, but initially only as a walk on.
Shedd said that thanks to support from family and friends like Tracy Hayworth, he decided to attend the college.
The decision gave him the opportunity to change his life, and that’s exactly what he planned to do.
Arriving on campus in ‘09, coaches originally wanted Shed to red-shirt his freshman season. Through a lot of hard work he persuaded the coached differently, originally getting playing time on special teams.
At the beginning of camp before the 2010 season, Shedd was listed as the teams fourth string middle linebacker. That was the motivation he needed, and three weeks later he was slated to start for the team during his sophomore season.
In 2010 he had a great year, despite being undersized at 180-185 pounds.
Things were going well for Shedd, earning All-American honors in Football Championship Subdivision standings following his sophomore campaign. During the summer of 2011 he put in a lot of work in the weight room, getting to around 230 pounds.
That is when things came to a shattering halt, literally.
On June 16, 2011, Shedd was involved in a car crash with a teammate and shattered his femur.
Doctors said the bone looked like cornflakes, according to Shedd. He had to have surgery and doctors placed a metal rod in his leg from his hip to his kneecap.
The initial words from the doctor weren’t positive. Doctors told him that he was done playing football, and he might even need an artificial leg in the next couple of years.
The injury had a big impact on Shedd, and in his own words “traumatized” him for a while.
“I came home, I came back to Winchester,” Shedd said.
It was the positivity and support he received when he returned that helped him to refocus. Shedd began a strict rehab regimen.
He had to start from basics, taking him four months to relearn to walk.
In 2011 he sat out, using his red shirt season. As the 2012 season approached, questions began to come up on rather he’d be ready or not.
Worried about losing his scholarship, Shedd pushed his rehab and in return Southwest Baptist actually extended his scholarship to a full ride.
“The first time I started running without a limp was two weeks before camp,” he said.
In those two weeks he strictly worked on his conditioning and week one of the 2012 season, a little over a year removed from a devastating injury, Shedd was on the field.
He came back constantly looking to prove himself, and it was those efforts that bolstered him into one of the top tacklers on his team at middle linebacker.
“I felt like if I dominated during the game, I would earn respect from my opponents,” Shedd mentioned. “No matter how great you were last Saturday, you had to prove it again the next game.”
In 2013 as a red shirt senior, Shedd started again at middle linebacker, this time for a new coaching staff.
Southwest Baptist had a tough year in 2013 going just 1-9, but Shedd’s production on the field continued to be strong.
Shedd began to learn of interest from NFL teams his at the end of his junior season, and although skeptical at first, he says, “The calls just never stopped coming.”
With his playing career in college officially over, Shedd accomplished another milestone, graduating from the university on Dec. 13 with a degree in criminal justice.
He continued to workout while never losing sight of his dream to play in the NFL.
“I would always tell people, plan B will distract me from plan A,” Shedd quipped on keeping focused on his dream.
Though he has yet to pick an agent to represent him, Shedd has entered his name into the NFL Draft of 2014.
He was selected to participate in the FCS Senior Bowl, where he earned a starting spot amongst the nations top Division-II seniors and recorded 10 total tackles during the All-Star game.
He plans on working out in front of NFL scouts on March 20 at Southeastern Conference School, Missouri University’s Pro Day and on March 21at Missouri Western University.
It’s safe to say that Shedd has finally found out who he is and where he wants to go in life.
With a college degree under his belt, plan A is still in effect as the NFL draft approaches in April.