One thing Dominic Sheppard has is options when it comes to choosing a school. The three-star linebacker from Miami (Fla.) Gulliver Prep has 33 offers with a top eight and with Wisconsin leading the pack.
Gulliver Prep assistant coach Jorge Baez said Sheppard will make his official visit to Wisconsin for the Badgers' Oct. 25 game against Maryland. Sheppard will announce his decision Jan. 5, the weekend of the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl.
"My top teams, in order, are Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Stanford, Alabama, Miami, Ohio State, Tennessee and Clemson," Sheppard said.
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While the Badgers are the current leaders, he admitted traditional SEC powerhouses Alabama and Tennessee are coming after him the hardest, and the Tide's recent track record with linebackers have peaked his interest.
"Alabama is a big-time team and they produce a lot of linebackers that come out of the program," Sheppard said. "Dont'a Hightower, C.J. Mosley, Courtney Upshaw - they've had a lot of linebackers who have done great things."
Tide assistant Mario Cristobal told Sheppard to focus on his speed and that the program will help him add the weight - they'd like to see Sheppard, who stands at 6-foot-1, 226 pounds, add 20-30 pounds of muscle.
Ohio State is another team Sheppard likes.
"They always turn out to be undefeated out of nowhere," he said. "That caught my eye last season, so I want to give them a shot. I really like them as a program too. Talking to Zach Smith, he always tells me to keep in touch constantly, so we have a close relationship."
Duke and Tulane are late additions to the mix, coming with offers last week as Sheppard was in the middle of eliminating schools from the process. He said he'll perform his due diligence and look into how many linebacker commits they have. He will at least talk with Duke sometime next week because of the good relationship Gulliver Prep and Duke have. Gulliver Prep assistant Donovan Varner played receiver at Duke from 2008-'12.
Sheppard is also narrowing down his official visit list.
"The main one I'd like to go to is Stanford," he said. "Then Alabama. I'll make one visit during my bye week and take the rest after the season."