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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Keegan

WR JaCorey Shepherd made the right call

Kansas receivers Kale Pick (7) and JaCorey Shepherd bump chests after Shepherd's second touchdown of the game against McNeese State during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011 at Kivisto Field.

Kansas receivers Kale Pick (7) and JaCorey Shepherd bump chests after Shepherd's second touchdown of the game against McNeese State during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011 at Kivisto Field.

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JaCorey Shepherd pleased with debut

Kansas freshman wide receiver JaCorey Shepherd caught two touchdowns against McNeese State in his first game as a Jayhawk.

Luckily, Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self didn’t accompany receivers coach David Beaty on his recruiting trip to a Horn High basketball game in Mesquite, Texas, last winter to watch JaCorey Shepherd.

With Daymond Patterson injured and Christian Matthews suspended, the roster is short on receivers as it is for Saturday’s Northern Illinois game.

Asked to describe the dunk Beaty saw that night, Shepherd smiled at the memory of taking off just inside the free-throw line and throwing one down, but isn’t sure that was his best dunk.

“There was one where I dunked on a 6-4 guy,” said Shepherd, listed at 5-foot-11, 170 pounds.

Did he make a poster out of it?

“No,” he said. “I wanted to, but the camera guy that game was looking away when it happened. I looked all over for somebody who had a picture of it. I couldn’t find anyone.”

Shepherd played AAU and high school basketball until giving it up to concentrate on football. He said his AAU coach told him that going into his junior year Baylor basketball coaches inquired about him.

He picked the right sport. In Saturday’s season-opening 42-24 victory against McNeese State, KU quarterback Jordan Webb threw just 10 passes. Shepherd caught three of them for 107 yards and two touchdowns.

His father, Jonathan, made the eight-and-a-half hour drive from the Dallas area for the game.

“If it had been in Alaska, I would have driven there to see his first college game,” Jonathan Shepherd said. “It was a pleasant surprise for me. I was just thrilled that he had a chance to play as a true freshman. I thought maybe he would get in for a series or two. Then for him to play as much as he did and do what he did, I didn’t expect that.”

His son said the highlight of his night was his first touchdown, a 56-yard reception on a pass intended for Kale Pick, who was open deeper.

“I didn’t realize it until I got to the sideline,” Shepherd said. “Kale was the first person who told me. He said, ‘Man, that was my ball.’ I honestly didn’t know he was behind me.”

His father, who instantly realized the pass wasn’t intended for JaCorey, traced the origin of the play.

“I remember when he was a sophomore he didn’t attack the ball, and neither did the other receiver,” Jonathan said. “It fell between the two guys, and they were just staring at each other. Ever since then, he’s had the mentality that if a ball is in his vicinity, he owns it.”

Jonathan Shepherd predicted this talented freshman class that also includes true freshman standouts Tony Pierson and Darrian Miller, will be duplicated.

“JaCorey told me that every single thing has been exactly like what the coaches said it was going to be,” Jonathan said. “I don’t know if it’s like that everywhere. These coaches are honest, and I think that’s why they’re going to get it done recruiting. And it’s not a meat grinder. There’s a whole world out there that has nothing to do with football, and the coaches make sure they develop that, too. It’s not just all football.”

Athletically, it’s all football for Shepherd now. His dunking days are over, but he can still showcase his long arms and leaping ability stealing passes.

Comments

gardenjay 3 years ago

Wow. I really like Shepard's father's outlook. Thanks for this great article.

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lv_jhwk 3 years ago

Ditto. I watched the game online Saturday (many thanks to whomever came across that link!) and thought that, while there are still several issues that will keep "us" from being a winning club overall this year, it was evident that the talent to change all that in years to come is starting to creep onto "our" sidelines. Then to hear such comments essentially coming from one of the top recruits, it does make one more confident that this wave is just the beginning.

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Mike Kendall 3 years ago

I watched the game, via the link, as well. I know a lot of Jayhawk faithful were watching it because of the link. Thank you whoever provided it. It was just like watching it on HD TV.

It was an awesome Rock Chalk Jayhawk victory!

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nuleafjhawk 3 years ago

could you (or anyone) please tell me where to find that online for the next game? Thank you very much.

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coloradojayhawk 3 years ago

Check back for the posts from the stadium on the day of the game. It's usually posted by commenters (if not LJW staff) a few times.

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nuleafjhawk 3 years ago

thanks colorado! i appreciate it.

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hiphopopotamus 3 years ago

I actually sat behind the Shephard family and better people they could not have been, and his father has a keen football eye. After getting to know them just a little bit, I'm much more excited for the JaCorey Shephard era.

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hawk316 3 years ago

The following words from JaCorey's father provide a glimpse as to why this coaching staff is in the process of turning around KU's football program:

“JaCorey told me that every single thing has been exactly like what the coaches said it was going to be,” Jonathan said. “I don’t know if it’s like that everywhere. These coaches are honest, and I think that’s why they’re going to get it done recruiting. And it’s not a meat grinder. There’s a whole world out there that has nothing to do with football, and the coaches make sure they develop that, too. It’s not just all football.”

Wow! These words should be part of a brochure or something that could be used as a recruiting tool.

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johnnyhrdwd 3 years ago

This is a good coaching staff, Gill was around NU long enough to know what it takes and he was a fierce competitor as a player. I saw Turner play, RG3 ain't got nothin on Turner.

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blackhawkjayhawk 3 years ago

Nice background article....the dad really seems to get it. Congrats to JaCorey, debuts don't get much better than that. On a separate note, I propose that anyone who uses the phrase "spot on" be banned from the board.

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milehighhawk 3 years ago

+1 on the nice article. HOWEVER, in terms of "spot on," there needs to be a "McNulty exception clause" that makes its usage acceptable if referencing The Wire (greatest show ever made!).

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jhox 3 years ago

One more reason the Pac 12 may make the most sense for us. Imagine what Gill and company could do on the recruiting trail if they had better access to California kids (to go along with the Texas talent they've had success landing.)

As for Shepherd, what an athlete. He makes running fast look so easy, and that ball he stole from Pick...that was not an easy catch by any means. Once he caught it he turned on the afterburners.

Gill and company understand what kind of athletes it takes to build a program, and they're off to a very good start in landing kids like that. I hope the coaching staff keeps this article handy, to show recruits what Shepherd's Dad said about how they keep their promises.

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TaCityHawkFan 3 years ago

Is there a highlight video that shows this play? I was not able to be near a computer to watch the game so I was tracking it on my iPhone and was astounded to see how Shepherd was doing in his first game.

I would also like to see the long run that Pierson threw down if anyone knows where some video of the game is.

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TaCityHawkFan 3 years ago

Is there a highlight video that shows this play? I was not able to be near a computer to watch the game so I was tracking it on my iPhone and was astounded to see how Shepherd was doing in his first game.

I would also like to see the long run that Pierson threw down if anyone knows where some video of the game is.

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Jennifer Nikkila Pressgrove 3 years ago

the best highlights I've been able to find are on Channel 6, the Lawrence cable channel. they have the shepherd catch, but not the long pierson run.

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ddeenihan 3 years ago

Is Daymond Patterson going to be out for the NIU game?

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