Arroyo Grande High senior Kelly Shepard will walk on to the Cal Poly football team, grayshirting this upcoming season before joining the Mustangs as a defensive end prospect.
Shepard earned all-CIF Southern Section Western Division honors at outside linebacker this past season, when he made 81 tackles. He also started at tight end, catching 16 passes for 227 yards and four touchdowns.
A grayshirt is a player who delays full-time enrollment as a student, and the start of their eligibility clock is delayed until the ensuing winter or spring terms. Grayshirts are also able to redshirt later in their careers.
Shepard, who played much of this past basketball season with an injured wrist in a cast, plans to use the upcoming season to fully heal and to add bulk to his 6-foot-4, 198-pound frame.
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“It’s going to be tough. It’s definitely going to be a lot higher level,” Shepard said of playing in the FCS. “But if I put in my work and do my part, I’ll be fine, I think.”
Shepard was also considering a walk-on opportunity at Colorado State, but being able to take the field in front of family and friends was a bonus.
“My whole life I’ve been hoping to play at the college level,” he said, “and since I grew up in A.G., a lot of people will be able to come see me play.”
Lobdill plays in Huskies spring football game
Another former Arroyo Grande star, 2007 alumnus Reade Lobdill, has joined the Washington football team as a walk-on. He played on special teams in the Huskies’ spring game on April 30.
An all-Northern Division utility player for the Eagles, Lobdill was productive at both running back and linebacker.
Lobdill has been enrolled at Washington since his freshman year and tried to walk on to the Huskies then, when Tyrone Willingham was the program’s head coach, but to no avail.
Watching a recent Washington game, Lobdill said, he figured he owed it to himself to give it one more shot.
He was one of about 20 students to attend a recent tryout session, and one of three hopefuls to be kept on. For Lobdill, who’d taken years off from the game but stayed in football shape, competing with Pac-10 players was quite the thrill.
“I was only in on kickoffs,” he said. “It was awesome.”
Lobdill might practice with the Huskies’ receivers in September.
“I’m really low on the totem poll with these guys, but I couldn’t care less,” said Lobdill, an engineering major. “It’s something I’m doing for fun.”
Crichton to play for Cal Lutheran
Arroyo Grande running back Christian Crichton will play at Cal Lutheran, a Division III school in Thousand Oaks.
Crichton was an all-San Luis Obispo County first-team selection by The Tribune after this past season, when he rushed for 1,300 yards and nine TDs on 224 carries.
Following a 35-10 loss to nationally ranked Serra of Gardena in the Western Division title game, in which Crichton rushed 21 times for 76 yards, longtime Eagles coach Tom Goossen called him one of the toughest players he’d ever been around.
The Kingsmen went 8-2 overall in 2010, finishing the season ranked No. 21 nationally by D3football.com.
Brooke to play at Pacific in Oregon
A devastating setback this past season didn’t stop Coast Union running back Zach Brooke from playing in college.
Brooke has committed to Pacific, a Division III program in Forest Grove, Ore.
Brooke rushed for 327 yards and two scores on 54 carries this past season, but his year was cut short because of a season-ending knee injury.Brooke had a standout junior year, rushing 133 times for 781 yards and three TDs.
The Boxers, who were 0-9 in 2010, play in the Northwest Conference. This upcoming season will be Pacific’s second in football, as the program was reinstated after nearly a 20-year hiatus.
CIF-Southern Section divisional playoff pairings
PAC 7 champion Arroyo Grande (17-2) will open the postseason at home, taking on Glendale (12-5) at 3 p.m. Wednesday in a Division 2 first-round match.
Runner-up San Luis Obispo (11-5) will also be at home, playing Foothill (15-5) at the same time.
Third-place Atascadero (10-5) will host West Covina (11-10) in a wild-card match at 3 p.m. today for the right to play at Valencia (19-0) on Wednesday.
In Division 4, Los Padres League runner-up Templeton (14-4) will visit Dunn (9-2) at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the first round.
Central Coast divisional championships
Righetti won the 16-team tournament with a score of 393, advancing to Thursday’s Southern Section championships along with runner-up Dos Pueblos (401) and third-place Ventura (402).
Arroyo Grande carded a 410 playing in windy conditions at its home course, Cypress Ridge, highlighted by Fredrik Stenson’s 76 and Mitch Martin’s 79.
Atascadero finished with a 421 total, led by Randy Armas’ 2-over, second-place 74. San Luis Obispo shot a 428, paced by Kelton Porter’s 76.