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December 30, 2011

Shepard provides school drama

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TEAM SITES: USCFootball.com | IrishIllustrated.com

PHOENIX - Is Tee Shepard, along with friend Deontay Greenberry, pulling off some kind of stunt, a teenage goof, or is the four-star cornerback serious about how he's going to make his college decision?

Shepard, committed to Notre Dame since March, said during Friday's practice that at the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl on Jan. 3 he will put two pieces of paper with Notre Dame and USC written on them in a hat, pull one out and sign with that school.

"I'm going to pull it out of a hat on game day," Shepard said. "Whatever I pull that's going to be it. It's kind of crazy and then it's not because both schools are good. There are no bad choices."

What makes this even more confusing is just last week Shepard and Greenberry, who committed to the Irish in May, said at the Cal State Game that they were both 100 percent sure Notre Dame was the school.

On top of that, Greenberry said Friday he no longer has interest in USC and that if Shepard picks the Trojans then the two wouldn't attend the same school. Both four-stars have said numerous times that there is zero chance they would go to different places.

Asked what would happen if Shepard picks the USC piece of paper, Greenberry said the two would part ways for college but the four-star receiver said the chances are slim that would happen - even though if Shepard's plan holds true then it is 50/50.

"He's not going to SC," Greenberry said. "I know."

Shepard seemed genuine in his plan and said USC has continued to recruit him following his and Greenberry's visit there in the last few weeks after Fresno (Calif.) Washington Union won its state title game.

What stands out so much about USC for Shepard, who lives with hearing loss, are the programs that school offers for his condition. He said Notre Dame's programs aren't as good but added that he would have to do more research to be sure.

The decision, it seems, isn't only a football one for Shepard, who missed his entire senior season at Fresno (Calif.) Washington Union because of transfer rules.

"USC is still pushing to the edge," Shepard said. "They don't care. It got me thinking a little bit.

"What really changed my mind is USC provides a better hearing program. That's what threw me off a little bit. They're both good at football. USC provides better hearing programs so that's important. I have to do more research on Notre Dame's program.

"This recruiting process has been going on for so long. I started varsity as a freshman. Notre Dame offered me March 10, 2010 and me and Notre Dame are kind of like married. USC is trying to divorce us so it's pretty cool."

As for Greenberry, who caught 105 passes for 2,108 yards and 32 touchdowns in his senior season, he will visit UCLA when he returns from the Semper Fidelis game.

The 6-foot-3, 187-pound prospect said he has been talking with new offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone and assistant coach Demetrice Martin at UCLA and he wants to see the school before finalizing his college plans.

"I just want to take a visit," Greenberry said. "The offensive coordinator from Arizona State is at UCLA now and I talked to him a little bit and Demetrice. I want to take a visit down there."

As for USC, the Trojans appear out even if Shepard ends up there.

"I like the fact that they start their receivers early, as freshmen, but they have a really good solid group there," Greenberry said. "Not saying that I'm scared to compete but they have a lot of receivers there already. It would be less stress on me to go elsewhere."

Walking out of the locker room during lunch, a reporter shouted to Greenberry his prediction that both four-star prospects are still headed to Notre Dame and they're just playing a game.

Greenberry laughed.

Shepard might have the last laugh at the Semper Fidelis game.



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