I had the opportunity to sit down and speak with class of 2020 prospective student-athlete Joshua Shepphard on Sunday afternoon, a talented sophomore who attends and plays football for Miller Grove High School out of Lithonia, GA. Joshua and his family suffered the devastating loss of his dad a couple of months ago, but he has shown remarkable strength and courage to stay focused on his goals and dreams in the memory of and to honor his dad.
Hello Joshua, you attend Miller Grove High School out of Lithonia, GA, correct?
Is this your first year playing with the Wolverines’ varsity football team?
“Yes, and I plan on staying at Miller Grove throughout high school and will remain a Wolverine.”
And you play at wide receiver correct? Are there any other positions that the coaches have you practice and play at?
“Yes sir. I play wide receiver, but I can play a little bit of safety, too. I will try and play both next year (2018).”
How is the season going for you and the Wolverines so far?
“It’s going well. I like all my teammates and coaches. Our coaches teach us football but outside of that, they’re teaching us how to become men.”
Are there any specific coaches or mentors that have inspired, influenced, and shaped you into the young man you are today?
“Yes. Rodney Williams. He has really mentored me, and the wide receiver coach at Miller Grove, Coach K. He pushes me every day in practice because he knows what I can really do. He stays on me 24/7. And Coach Bryant. He pushes me in the weight room. Also, Coaches at CDJ, Coach Val and Coach BJ.”
“I also want to give a shout out to my boys I grind with day in and day out. My bro Javier Morton @Hunchezzz along with Deondre Jackson @1Deondrejackson and Deshon Stoudemire @D1deshon.”
Sounds like you have a strong support base of coaches and mentors as well as teammates to help you develop and achieve your goals. What are your goals for the rest of this year and what are you looking forward to when you begin your junior season next year?
“Just grind and stay focused on my school work. Since my dad passed 2 months ago, I just wanna make my family proud and go to college.”
I’m sorry to hear about your dad passing away. I know that had to be, and still is, just unbelievably difficult to go through having experienced a similar loss myself.
“It was a heartbreaking moment, but I grew as a man, stayed focus in school and on football for him; so, I can take care of my mom and family.”
I bet your mom is one of your biggest fans on game night?
“Yes sir! Her and my brother both along with Coach Rodney Williams @raw_recruiting.”
That’s great. Mom’s are the best. They are always there for us win or lose. Speaking of making your mom and family proud, you mentioned one of your goals was to go to college. You already have a couple of scholarship offers, one from Georgia Tech and another from Seton Hill. How exciting was that for you and what did it mean to you when you received those offers?
“I received my offer from Georgia Tech on May 12th and Seton Hill on July 26th. I was very happy because it made me realize my dreams are starting to come true. Since I was a little boy, I always wanted to play college ball. Now, that dream is starting to become reality.”
Have you had the opportunity to take any unofficial visits to schools yet, and do you have any plans to take any visits in the near future?
“I’ve visited Clemson twice, Bama, Tennessee twice, UGA twice, and Tennesse State. I will be at Georgia Southern on October 14th, NC state on November 4th, and Georgia Tech on November 25th.”
Which visit impressed you the most or have you enjoyed the most so far?
“UGA most definitely. It makes me feel like I’m home.”
Speaking of UGA, are there any former Georgia Bulldog football players that you are a fan of or follow?
And to expound on that. Since you play at wide receiver, is there a player if you had the opportunity to work and compete with, to learn from for a day, who would it be?
Have you had the opportunity to attend any camps yet, and do you have any plans to attend any camps this coming offseason?
“Yes. I will attend a camp this offseason.”
Do you play or have you played any other sports besides football?
“No, but I might run track this year.”
Favorite pre-game meal on game day?
“Skittles. It gives me energy.”
After a win, to celebrate, do you or your teammates and family do anything special?
“We just have fun on the bus.”
Do you like to listen to music while you work out or before the game or do you prefer to shut out everything and focus on the task at hand?
“I listen to music before the game. Tune everything out. Nothing matters but the game at that point.”
Joshua, I would like to thank you again for taking the time to speak with me and Bulldawg Illustrated. I wish you and the Wolverines much success on the rest of your season, and I also look forward to watching you develop as a young man and football player.
“Thanks! Might just see me wear that red & black. #CommitToTheG!”
Real quick, how can folks follow you on Twitter?
“Joshua Shepphard @billionairejaay.”
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