Oxnard (Calif.) - Lakewood WR X'avier Shepherd (5-11, 170) found out he was selected to the 2013 Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl on Saturday, and Sunday was formally announced as a selection for the bowl game at a jersey-presentation ceremony in Oxnard, Calif.
X'avier Shepherd's stock is on the rise.
JuniorRank was holding its latest camp over the weekend at Hueneme High school and presented the Semper Fidelis All-American jersey to Shepherd after the campers returned from lunch.
"When I first got word about the invite I was just blown away," said Shepherd. "It was real shocking and its a blessing. I have to thank Mr. (Mark) McMillian and Mr. (Shaon) Berry for coming to the decision that I would be a good fit for the bowl. It's a great feeling."
Shepherd is blessed in many ways, he'll be competing at one of the most prestigious high school all-star games, he has an extremely supportive family who were on hand Sunday for the announcement and he's holding six scholarship offers, and will surely end up with many more.
"I'm just taking a subtle approach to the recruiting process," said Shepherd. "Again, it's a blessing to have the six offers I have right now. But I'm just taking my time, doing the research I need to do like checking out depth charts, visiting the school's website, talking to the coaches and trying to see where I would fit in well and be most useful. Right now, I have offers from Oregon State, Colorado, UCLA, Utah, Fresno State and Arizona."
There are some schools Shepherd is talking to and he's hopeful those schools will offer.
"I've been talking to Arizona State, Oregon and I just got a couple of letters from Notre Dame," Shepherd said. "But those are just letters. Hopefully I can get some words in with Notre Dame."
The line of communication is likely to pick up this month as college coaches make their way to high schools across the country to check on the various prospects they are pursuing or hoping to learn more about, until the end of the month when the evaluation period concludes.
"Since April 15, there have been a few college coaches who have stopped by the school," said Shepherd. "The first coach to stop by was USC's wide receivers coach (Tee Martin). Right after that Fresno State came by, Oregon stopped by and that's when I started talking to them. So, those are the few who have stopped by so far."
Shepherd said he doesn't have any plans this summer to attend any camps or visit any schools, but he will be competing with Keyshawn Johnson's 1925 7on7 all-star team.
And in the fall/winter, he said he will take at least four out of the five allotted official visits. Oregon State is the only school Shepherd said he knows he will officially visit.
"I know I'll take an official visit to Oregon State," he said. "They were my first offer, I constantly talk to the coaches and we've actually grown very close to each other. It's a nice little bond I have with them, so it will be nice to go up there for a visit."
The Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl is presented by Junior Rank Sports and the United States Marine Corps (USMC). The JuniorRank partnership was designed to introduce student-athletes to the organizations' shared belief that athletic excellence, high academic performance and core character developments are key elements to creating well-rounded individuals.
“We, at Junior Rank, realize we need to be socially responsible when evaluating America’s next generation of role models. As a father of three young children, I take that responsibility very seriously.” said founder and CEO Shaon Berry. "Junior Rank coaches and athletes are very committed to our core values: Character + Integrity + Discipline + Academic. Known as CIDA rules, these four principles serve as the cornerstone of Junior Rank."
Participating in a JuniorRank event allows a young athlete to test and assess their individual football skills amongst the best in an area, region, state or across the nation in front of the best instructors in the world. JuniorRank has built great relationships with national scouting agencies, college coaches, recruiters and some of the top prep schools in the country, by providing them with credible game, camp or combine statistics, academic performance results and in many cases technical skill-set and character references for JuniorRank’s top performing athletes. This has resulted in serious recruiting interest.