LSU Has Prepared Russell Shepard For Life After Football
Legacies are made each and every day.
LSU is eminently familiar with great legacies like Billy Cannon with his frightful Halloween night punt return, or even Tiger Stadium often being called the "cathedral of college football." Through the aromatic smells of gumbo lingering around the stately oaks on campus, legacies are what truly define LSU.
At the end of this season, senior wide receiver Russell Shepard will take away one of the greatest gifts from LSU, a degree from a prestigious institution. As LSU ranks No. 2 in the SEC in graduation rates behind only Vanderbilt, Shepard will add to the list of LSU greats who strolled across the stage to receive their diplomas. As he closes a huge chapter in his life, Shepard will leave his very own Tiger legacy.
"When people hear my name I want them to remember me as the guy who was the ultimate Tiger," Shepard said. "The guy who came in and gave it his all his four years here, got his degree from this program, and that guy who did his part on and off the field."
Shepard was just a boy when he entered the golden gates of LSU. He was only 17 years old, and had graduated high school a semester early eager to make the trip from his hometown of Houston, Texas to Baton Rouge, La.
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"LSU was something that was never a part of me and something I knew nothing about until I came here," Shepard said. "It's now a part of me and it's going to be a huge part of my family and me forever."
Shepard came out of high school as one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the country for the Class of 2009. As a true freshman at LSU he played in 12 games and took on the daunting role of playing quarterback, wide receiver and even running back.
Now into his senior year Shepard has settled into the role of wide receiver, having appeared in 44 career games. Don't be surprised though if Shepard shows up at an unfamiliar position. Always performing wherever he's asked, Shepard is expected to bring more to LSU's special teams.
"This year they asked me to do more on special teams than I've done in the past three years," Shepard said. "I feel like I've contributed to that. I feel like I've made those plays when they've called my name."
As it faces its infamous conference rival Alabama, LSU seeks redemption. Shepard remains focused and looks toward the future. He hopes that no matter who their opponent might be the Tigers will always strive to win.
"I told myself, from here on out I want to win every game," Shepard said. "As long as I'm a part of this program, I want to go out as being one of the better teams in the history of this program."
Shepard's legacy is something that won't be forgotten. He is a disciplined, well-spoken young man who responded to every challenge. Shepard truly defines what being a team player is all about, and another exciting and new chapter lies ahead for the wide receiver.
"Football isn't my life," Shepard said. "It's a big part of my life and who I am but it's really taught me to take things as they come and cherish everything. Getting my degree from this program is huge to me because I know there will be a day when all of this is all said and done, and I want to have great memories."
For Shepard, four years of increasing respect from his coaches, teammates and fans, a degree from the flagship institution of Louisiana and a very bright future, are sure to leave him with nothing but the fondest recollection of his time at LSU.