February 18, 2011

Shepard latest in line of top DBs

Fresno (Calif.) cornerback Tee Shepard is the latest highly rated prospect from central California.

The area has produced its fair share of talent over the years. Central East High School defensive backs coach Tony Perry has taught many of them.

Perry previously worked under Tim McDonald at Edison High School, where he helped players such as Cliff Harris, T.J. McDonald and Johnny Sears.

Perry believes there are truly special things on the horizon for Shepard.

"If you look at his 2010 tape when he missed four games, you can tell he's physical," Perry said. "But this year he's going to be more mature, and he's going to be healthy. He's working really hard in the weight room and running. He's way ahead this year."

Perry isn't the only one to take notice of Shepard's skills, as the corner has earned some impressive early offers. USC joined that list recently.

"He texted me that he had a USC offer," Perry said. "When he got that Trojan offer, I told him that's big.

"Coach Helton saw his highlight reel and said he was the real deal. He's a California kid, and USC carries a lot of weight. You can't say anything negative about USC. It's been a good program for years and is going to keep being a good program."

Having seen several prospects go through the recruiting process, Perry has plenty of wisdom to dole out. He recommended Shepard take a few unofficial visits to schools within reach.

Shepard has not yet been to USC on an unofficial visit, but the Trojan staff is trying to get him to attend the Rising Stars camp.

"I told him that you want to see USC, UCLA and Cal because they're in driving range," Perry said. "It's best to try to cover the Arizona schools all the way to Cal on unofficials. He'll get to see the practices and everything."

For now, Shepard is keeping an open mind when it comes to his recruitment.

"You want to make sure he makes the right choice," Perry said. "Right now, he's open. He's going to start getting a feel of everybody."

Perry said that there were a few schools, however, that fit the mold of what Shepard was looking for in a school.

"A school like 'SC has great tradition and is a football power. The Pac-10 is like a throwing pro league with a lot of good athletes."
"A school like 'SC has great tradition and is a football power," Perry said. "The Pac-10 is like a throwing pro league with a lot of good athletes.

"He likes Alabama, too, because he sees a lot of the games on television and they're in the SEC. Notre Dame is on television, too. Schools like that where he's going to be seen and be going against top competition are going to be big. He wants to show he can compete against those guys."

USCfootball.com will keep you updated on Shepard's recruitment through the year.

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