Jul 25, 2013 9:10 PM by Andrew Masuda
Headed into training camp, the Cal Poly football team's defensive line may be one of the team's deepest areas and biggest strengths with Preseason All-American Sullivan Grosz leading the way. However, Arroyo Grande High graduate Kelly Shepard could play his way into that mix.
Shepard is a 6-4, 235 pound redshirt freshman. Kelly says a broken wrist he suffered his senior year in high school that required surgery has healed completely. Shepard played tight end and outside linebacker for the Eagles and was a key player on their team that finished runner-up in CIF in 2011.
Shepard says he's put on about 40 pounds since high school to play defensive line for the Mustangs. He can't wait to show the Mustangs what he's got to offer. "I've been waiting for a long time. And I mean, I'm just going to work as hard as I can. If I get a spot then that'd be great. If not, I'll just continue to work hard and see what happens. I just look at it as I have a lot of great older guys to get all the knowledge from and they can just show me what to do because they have a lot of experience," said Shepard.
Cal Poly coaches are already high on Shepard's potential and eager to see him in action. "He's 235 pounds and even though we are deep on the defensive line, he's going to push some guys. And I feel very strongly that he'll be a very good football player for us at some point in time," said fifth year head coach Tim Walsh.
The Mustangs are loaded at defensive end with upper classmen, who include senior and Preseason All-American Sullivan Grosz, senior Chris Judge, as well as juniors Jake Irwin, Andrew Alcaraz and Wesley Flowers.
Shepard played football, basketball and volleyball at Arroyo Grande High. He was a two-time All-Pac 7 League First Team pick in football and earned All-CIF accolades his senior year. He recorded 87 tackles, 8 pass breakups and 1 interception to go with 16 catches for 227 yards and 4 touchdowns his senior season.
The Mustangs' first practice is Monday, August 5. Their season opener is August 31 in Alex G.Spanos Stadium against Righetti High graduate Matt Miller and the University of San Diego.
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