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WVU Football Recruiting

West Virginia Makes the Final Five Cut for 2023 3-Star CB Jayden Sheppard



West Virginia jumped into the fray for Jayden Sheppard early, officially extending an offer on Jan. 22 of this year, hosted him for an official visit and is now reaping the rewards.

Sheppard, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound safety from Niceville High School in Niceville, Florida, cut his list of offers to a final five five: Coastal Carolina, Tulane, Georgia Tech, Arkansas and West Virginia.

Sheppard made an unofficial visit to WVU for a Junior Day event, and he made his only official visit to Morgantown over the weekend of June 3. He’s well-versed with the coaching staff at this point, particularly with defensive backs coach ShaDon Brown and safeties coach Dontae Jackson.

And Sheppard’s June 3 visit coincided with the likes of commits Rodney Gallagher and Jahiem White and future commits Justin Benton and James Heard. By all accounts, he enjoyed his weekend in Morgantown.

As a junior at Niceville, helping the Eagles to a 10-2 season with a trip to the Florida Class-7A playoffs, Sheppard starred in the secondary. He racked up 51 tackles (24 solo), five tackles for loss, a sack, six pass breakups and three forced fumbles.

With excellent size and speed as a defensive back, Sheppard’s status as a pseudo-linebacker in Niceville’s defense — able to drop back in coverage as a hard-hitting safety and join the rush as an outside linebacker — is a trait well-equipped for modern college defenses.

On3 rates Shappard as the 71st-ranked safety and the 123rd-ranked recruit from the state of Florida. Neither 247Sports nor Rivals have officially ranked Sheppard yet, but Rivals has given him a 5.5 Rivals Rating.

WVU has made three finalist lists in the last three days, including four-star wide receiver Carmelo Taylor (Roanoke, Virginia) and three-star cornerback Tayvon Nelson (Brooklyn, New York).

With a commitment, Sheppard would join the Jackson brothers, three-star cornerback Josiah and three-star athlete Jordan, as the defensive backs in WVU’s 2023 class, but he would serve as the first safety in the class.

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