football

Shepard proves hes a 2012 standout

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Tee Shepard was responsible for defending four-star wide receiver Antoine Arnold Saturday night and the 2012 cornerback from Fresno (Calif.) Central East passed with flying colors.
Everywhere Arnold went on the field, Shepard was sure to follow, not letting any easy passes up and proving he's one of the top cornerbacks in the junior class.
Shepard is physical, tough and smart and that's why Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Notre Dame and Oregon have already verbally offered him.
"He did a good job," Central East coach Casey Quinn said. "He's a pretty good corner, he's strong, he has all the intangibles to be a lockdown corner, a zone corner. He did a good job on (Arnold). He's a tough man-to-man guy.
"He's fundamentally sound. He has great hips, he has great feet, he understands routes, he can get a feel for a good receiver and he's physical. He's strong because he understands the fundamentals but he could be even stronger if he gets in the weight room."
Arnold was limited to five receptions for 62 yards including a 29-yard touchdown catch late in the game when the outcome was already decided. By then, Shepard had once again proven that he's a legitimate national recruit who will garner interest from programs across the country.
Quinn said interest is coming in from everywhere with Pac-10, SEC, Mountain West and WAC schools involved and more sure to be on the way. For now, though, improvement is more important than recruiting so Shepard is focusing more on getting better than anything else.
"His recruitment is pretty active," Quinn said. "A lot of people are showing interest in him. He has a couple offers. Right now he's not really focused on it, he's focused on being a really good corner."
Shepard, a physical 6-foot-1, 175-pound prospect, was outstanding this spring at the Palo Alto NIKE Camp and emerged as one of the nation's top 2012 cornerbacks after that event.
Longtime Fresno Edison coach Tony Perry, who has helped more than 30 players get Division I scholarships, said Shepard could be one of the best cornerbacks he's ever worked with. Now at Central East, Perry is helping Shepard on a daily basis to reach his full potential.
"We're pretty fortunate to have Tony Perry in our program," Quinn said. "We talked in the off-season and he's looking to find a place to coach high school again and we're pretty fortunate to have him in our program."
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