In his short time of playing football, Harlem High School’s Tyler Sheppard quickly proved himself, and it paid off Friday.
Sheppard signed his letter of intent to play football for Presbyterian College, becoming Harlem’s third football player and the first in 11 years to sign with a Division I school.
“It’s a big accomplishment and I’m happy to represent Harlem,” said Sheppard...”I’m really excited about all the opportunities I’m going to have and I hope to represent the school well and play well.”
The 6-foot-1, 215-pound defensive end/tight end began playing football as a freshman and started playing defense as a junior. He made his mark in 2012 with 125 tackles and 19 sacks, following it up this past season with 104 tackles and seven sacks as the Bulldogs went 7-3. He earned all-region and all-county honors both years. Harlem head football coach Jimmie Lewis said he would be hard to replace.
“I’m just proud for him, he’s a good kid, makes good grades, works hard and does anything you tell him,” said Lewis. “He’s going to be a college coach’s dream just like he was here.”
Sheppard was interested in schools like Mercer, Wofford, Rhinehardt and Liberty, but once he visited Prebyterian in Clinton, S.C., that was it.
For a while I was nervous, I didn’t know what I was going to get, if I was going to get any offers,” Sheppard said. “I went to Presbyterian, visited, I fell in love with it. It’s a small school, it reminded me of Harlem.”
Though a defensive end at Harlem, the plan is for Sheppard to be a linebacker at Presbyterian. He thinks he will be able to make the transition, and that didn’t sway him from what he was looking for in a school.
“I was looking for a good fit, mainly somewhere I knew I was going to get playing time,” Sheppard said. “Maybe not right away but somewhere I was going to have a chance to play, to work to earn my spot, and looking for a good program that I just fit in, that led me to Presbyterian.”