June 4, 2008

Shackelford does about-face on Ole Miss

D.T. Shackelford had been to Ole Miss before.

He just didn't like it.

"I went to a one-day camp (last summer)," Shackelford said. "It was so unorganized. I'm just being real. When I was down there, they only looked at a select few guys. I just didn't like the vibe."

This spring, the 6-foot-1, 220-pound linebacker from Decatur (Austin), Ala., made a second trip to Oxford, Miss. This time, the Rebels made a lasting impression.

"I was able to talk to them then," Shackelford said. "They're real good people. They're real close to each other. I talked to Coach (Houston) Nutt. I see them as a good program. I see Coach Nutt doing a lot of good things with that program. When Coach (Ed) Orgeron was there, I didn't like it. When Coach Nutt got there, I could see he was going to turn it around. I like that about Ole Miss."

Ole Miss likes Shackelford too. The Rebels have extended a scholarship offer, and they're far from alone. Shackelford's high school coach, David Norwood, told RebelSports.net earlier this week that his star linebacker has offers from South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Army, Stanford, UAB and Southern Mississippi. Auburn offered on Monday, Norwood said, and LSU and Tennessee appear to be on the verge of extending offers as well.

Shackelford has a 3.96 grade-point average and will qualify easily.

"He's a great kid," Norwood said. "He's in all upper-level classes. He's a great student. On the field, he's very coachable. He's a great practice player as well. He plays until the whistle blows and doesn't take a play off -- ever. I think he's got a chance to play as a freshman and play a lot, wherever he goes. Other people are going to see what I see. He definitely is by far the defensive player that I've coached."

LSU, Norwood said, is recruiting Shackelford as a fullback. Everyone else, however, sees a run-stopping linebacker.

"I like being versatile," Shackelford said. "That gives you a better chance to succeed at the next level. I think I could play defensive end, too. I won't take any offer I get for granted. I'm still going to work hard."

As for his recruiting, Shackelford isn't naming favorites.

"He's being really tight-lipped," Norwood said. "He's going to make a decision and he's not letting anyone know, including me. He's going to take some visits and go to some camps this summer."

Shackelford said he's going to camp at Mississippi State, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss (July 26) and probably Auburn.

"I'm just looking for the right opportunity," Shackelford said. "A lot of things will play into it. I'm looking at schemes, depth charts and other things. I like to go after goals. One of my goals is to start as a freshman. That's something I'm looking for. I want to make sure I make the best decision. This is my future. This is where I will develop my life and make lasting relationships."

Ole Miss, Shackelford said, could well be that place. The Rebels are certainly in the mix.

"I feel a different vibe at Ole Miss," Shackelford said. "I want to see what they have to offer."

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