Cincinnati '22 OH DT - Derrick Shepard (Cincinnati Verbal)

Discussion in ''22 Committed Elsewhere' started by OSUBasketballJunkie, Jun 16, 2020.

  1. OSUBasketballJunkie

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    Derrick Shepard focused on his motor, Ohio State is watching
    Being the top defensive lineman in Ohio is usually a good indicator that a young football players has an opportunity to play at Ohio State but Derrick Shepard, the state’s top junior at the position, is still waiting for a Buckeyes offer.

    The 6-foot-3, 300-pound defensive tackle has had regular conversation with Larry Johnson and has heard from the legendary Ohio State coach often since Sept. 1, including a very pointed discussion following Shepard’s season-opener three weeks ago.

    “I had a bad first game,” Shepard, a teammate of Buckeyes commitment C.J. Hicks at Kettering Archbishop Alter, told Lettermen Row. “But Coach Johnson and I talked and he said he is definitely still watching. He told me if he didn’t believe in me or didn’t want to offer me he wouldn’t have told me to call and tell me what I did wrong.


    “Our relationship is definitely getting stronger.”

    A major part of Johnson’s critique involved the effort from Shepard, and that is something that the No. 8-ranked player in Ohio knows he has to be more cognizant of.

    “It’s about my motor,” Shepard said. “It felt like pressure the first game, but I had to realize I can’t think about it and I have to just go play. I need to turn it on and leave it on. Everything is starting to come into place, to align.”

    One thing that not yet started to align for Shepard, or any other young prospects, is the chance to make school visits. The continuing dead period has him “more than upset” but he’s hearing from a number of schools regularly since September’s arrival.

    “Recruiting has picked up since September 1 for sure,” he said. “I’ve been hearing a lot from Ohio state, Penn state, Michigan state, N.C. State, Cal, Virginia, Cincinnati and Kentucky. I’ve been in contact with [Larry Johnson,] Kevin Wilson, and Tim Hinton frequently.”
     
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    SHEPARD STILL BEING MENTORED BY LANDERS
    One of the more interesting relationships being built up in Ohio’s crop of 2022 recruits is the mentorship between a pair of defensive tackles in former Buckeye Robert Landers and Ohio State target Derrick Shepard out of Archbishop Alter High School.

    Landers has been helping mentor Shepard since before this summer, but it was during this summer when they started getting after it more in the gym. Recently, they’ve been doing even harder work together as Shepard has been grinding through his junior season.

    “They get brutal. They get real brutal,” Shepard told Eleven Warriors of those workouts. “He’s been getting me right for these environments and everything.”

    About two weeks ago, Landers and Shepard had a workout together, and they watched Shepard’s film afterward. Shepard’s playing time as a defensive tackle has waned a bit this season as he’s been utilized more as an offensive tackle out of team necessity, but Landers still dissected the first six games of Shepard’s season, and the four-star prospect – ranked No. 175 overall, No. 12 at DT and No. 8 in Ohio – gleaned some valuable pointers.

    “On the defensive plays that I was in, I was just learning a lot from him,” Shepard said. “He was just telling me the pros and cons to my game and was teaching me a lot. The cons were that he noticed that I wasn’t playing a lot of defense and was saying that I looked out of place. That doesn’t go to say that I wasn’t making plays – I was making plays, but I think he definitely saw that I haven’t been on defense a lot.

    “My stance looked a little off so he was helping me with my stance, helping me get a more firm base because that was a little off. And I wasn’t getting enough power from my hips. We was in there lifting a little bit, and he was having me work a lot on my hip power.”

    As for the positives that Landers noted?

    “He saw my down-the-line play was good, pushing the ball inside and running down the line, getting to the ball,” Shepard said. “On offense, I was making blocks downfield so he was definitely noticing that.”

    [​IMG]
    Ohio State defensive tackle target Derrick Shepard has been gaining valuable experience at offensive tackle this season.
    When we met with Shepard in August, one of the interesting takeaways was when he told us what Kevin Wilson – one of the Buckeyes’ key recruiters in Ohio and whom Shepard has a great relationship with – said to him regarding a potential Ohio State offer.

    Essentially, Wilson told Shepard that one avenue to earning an offer was working with Landers not only to improve his skillset at defensive tackle but also to help create a better relationship with Larry Johnson – the point being that Johnson would be able to ask Landers what he thought of Shepard since there was a lot of trust built up between Johnson and Landers after his five years being coached by Johnson.

    “I don’t know if he talked to Coach Johnson recently, but when they did talk he said Coach Johnson asked a few things about me and he was giving Coach Johnson the answers he needed,” Shepard said. “I think (things with Coach Johnson) are going good. Me and Coach Wilson are still talking. Me and Coach (Tim) Hinton, Coach (Nick) Sebastian, Coach (Asa) Jackson are still talking, and those are going well.”

    When we met with Shepard in the preseason, he said that Johnson was going to be watching his first two games to see how he performed and what he needed to work on.

    “He saw those first two games. We watched the whole film start to finish, and he told me what I did good and what I did bad so I was just building on those things he told me,” Shepard said. “It’s still the motor. If he watches these last fewer games, he’ll definitely be able to tell that I’m in better shape than I was in the first two games he watched.”

    One potential move that some believe could transpire down the road is for Shepard to wind up moving to the offensive side of the ball in college. He’s been playing offensive tackle all year for the Knights, and it’s possible he winds up getting targeted as a guard by some schools. That hasn’t happened yet, says Shepard, who is still being targeted as a defensive tackle by teams that have offered such as Cincinnati, Florida State, Kentucky, Michigan, Pitt and Purdue.

    “I wouldn’t say it won’t happen at all, but that hasn’t really happened yet,” Shepard said. “All of my offers are still for defense, and coaches are still looking at my film and seeing what I can take from my offensive play into my defensive play so I’m still getting recruited as a defensive tackle.

    “But it’s definitely helping me a lot (playing offensive tackle) because no matter how much defense I play this year or next year, I’ll be able to take what I learned from offense and translate it into defense because I know what the offensive line is gonna want to do with me each and every play.”
     
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    SHEPARD FOCUSED ON GETTING IN SHAPE
    We've talked often about Hicks' teammate at Archbishop Alter, four-star defensive tackle Derrick Shepard, and we still think he could one day earn an Ohio State offer. And if he does, that recruitment is almost certainly over.

    Before he gets that coveted offer, though, Shepard admits that he needs to get in better shape this offseason, and that will be his focus as he looks to make even more physical improvements over the course of his final year and a half in high school.

    “]I’ve lost a lot of weight since my sophomore year,” Shepard told Eleven Warriors. “I played at 320, now I’m down to 290-295.”

    Shepard believes that weight loss has aided in him getting a bit more agile as he played both 3-tech and offensive tackle on the Knights' run to the Division III state semifinals this season.

    “I think I’ve proved that I’m a lot more versatile, not only being a more dominant defensive player but coming on offense and having the ball run behind me the majority of the plays,” Shepard said. “People have been looking at me for offense, but nobody has pulled the trigger on offense. The offers that I do still have are for defense.”

    LSU, Alabama, Missouri, Baylor and a few other schools remain in contact with Shepard, who says he has also “been in contact with (Ohio State) at least once a week. I know they’ve been very busy with their season, but I know it’ll start picking up.”
     
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    TexasBuckeye likes this.
  18. TexasBuckeye

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    Good fit for this kid.
    Go Bucks
     

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