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January 11, 2012

Shepard puts name in NFL draft

LSU junior wide receiver Russell Shepard has decided to enter the NFL draft, according to reports.

Shepard was the Tigers' fourth-leading receiver in 2011 with 14 catches for 190 yards and four touchdowns. He ended the season as LSU's third receiver behind Rueben Randle and Odell Beckham. Shepard saw little playing time in the national championship game against Alabama on Monday.

Shepard came to LSU as the top dual-threat quarterback in the country. He worked as a wildcat quarterback as a freshman in 2009, but had no success. Shepard was also used as a running back in the shotgun formation.

There was a difficult adjustment period for Shepard, who moved to wide receiver during the middle of his freshman campaign. In that season, he rushed for 294 yards and two touchdowns and caught five passes for 34 yards.

During his sophomore season, Shepard played primarily as a wide receiver. However, he did get carries on end-arounds and as a running back in the shotgun. Shepard made 33 catches for 249 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed for 226 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries. He made nine starts.

The current season got off to bad start for Shepard. In June, he was at the center of a housing issue. He accepted money from the school, but lived with his girlfriend in her apartment. Shepard paid back the money and was not penalized by the NCAA.

However, Shepard would be suspended for three games for another violation of NCAA rules. Shepard was questioned by NCAA investigators during the summer - reportedly, about Willie Lyles, a recruiting service director.

Shepard was not guilty of any problem with Lyles, but he discussed the interview with one of his teammates. Shepard was told not to discuss the questioning with anyone else. So, Shepard was penalized for hindering a NCAA investigation.

After missing three games, Shepard never got into a rhythm. He made just four starts in 2011. He only had 21 touches from scrimmage this season - 14 catches and seven rushes.

The deadline for underclassmen to apply for the NFL draft is Sunday. A player can withdraw his name by Jan. 18 and maintain his eligibility as long as he doesn't sign with an agent. Shepard is projected to be a late-round draft pick.


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