Prep Football Signing: Four Falcons to play on the next level
MOUNT ULLA — When Trey Shepherd was named West Rowan’s defensive MVP in the 2011 state championship game loss to Havelock, everyone was expecting even more greatness from him in 2012.
Shepherd would be a senior and the county’s best returning defensive player. He would be highly recruited by Division I schools.
Well, Shepherd had attendance problems and wasn’t eligible to play this past fall.
But how good is his potential? Despite a year off, he is still going to play at the next level.
Shepherd will join defensive lineman Kiero Cuthbertson and defensive back Harvey Landy at Louisburg Junior College.
Offensive lineman Jonathan Ruiz is a fourth Falcon headed to college. He plans to be a walk-on at Catawba.
Shepherd is glad to have another chance. He had to watch West’s 10-win season in 2012 from the bleachers.
“I missed it a lot,” he said. “I wished I was out there.”
So Shepherd went to West coach Scott Young, who talked to Louisburg, the only 2-year residential college in the state. The team plays community colleges and military academies.
“They saw my film and liked me,” Shepherd said.
And why wouldn’t they? Shepherd was practically unstoppable in 2011 as a pass rusher and slammed bodies all over the field. But still, he hasn’t played in a year.
Don’t worry, says Young of Shepherd, who is currently 6-foot-1, 270.
“His physical tools have never been a problem,” Young said. “He’s on schedule to graduate and he can turn this second chance into something positive in his life.”
“It’s going to be fun, but it’s going to be a blessing to play again,” Shepherd said.
With no Shepherd, Cuthbertson had to step up. He recovered three fumbles.
“I did all right,” the 6-2, 240-pound Cuthbertson shrugged. “I could’ve finished off with a bang. I still have a little bit of anger in me and I’ll take it out on the college level. Louisburg is a great football program. A lot of students go to bigger schools.”
Young thinks with hard work, Cuthbertson can excel.
“There are flashes of brilliance on his highlight tapes,” he said. “He has always been a respectful guy with us and I’m excited about his prospects. He had a successful senior year.”
Landy made his name in a 14-7 win over Davie, when he scored the winning points on a 95-yard interception return.
He’ll play cornerback or safety at Louisburg.
“It feels like we’re at home,” Landy said. “It’s not that different from West Rowan, to be honest. It’s great to know I’ll get to play the game for at least two more years.”
And he’ll take the highlight of the year with him from the Davie win.
“That’s the play they liked the most,” Landy beamed. “That’s what really got me to Louisburg.”
“Harvey’s a great kid,” Young said. “The one thing you’ll always remember is that big play against Davie.”
Ruiz hopes to earn a scholarship one day and Young says not to count him out. Ruiz started three games as a junior, opening holes for Dinkin Miller, and started all 13 this past year.
“Ruiz has worked extremely hard for everything he’s gotten,” Young said. “He also gets it done in the classroom.
“He’s one of those unsung heroes.”