Oklahoma football: Sterling Shepard recalls highlight-reel jump over Kansas State defender

Former Heritage Hall standout Sterling Shepard turned in quite a performance in his first Big 12 football game. But as he looked back on his leap, he also saw something that wouldn't please his coaches.
by Stephanie Kuzydym Published: September 27, 2012

NORMAN — It just happened.

Sterling Shepard wasn't trying to jump over an All-American tackler. He didn't even realize he'd jumped until he saw his teammate, Trey Metoyer, smiling.

‘Thatta boy,' Metoyer said.

I guess I jumped him.

Days later, Shepard studied the moment captured in a photo by The Oklahoman's Chris Landsberger. His smile didn't fade as he talked about the photo.

Shepard described the moment when he ran his route, cut to the left, caught a pass, took three running steps then three short, quick steps before launching himself into the air, flying over a Kansas State defender, becoming a playmaker in his first Big 12 game.

His eyes were affixed to the photo as he spoke, only looking up to be polite when asked another question.

“It was just a split thing and it happened,” Shepard said.

He didn't hear the crowd erupt in cheers. He said he never hears the crowd. He was just looking for the signal for the next call. There was no time to celebrate his extra effort, his leap over the Wildcats for a first down.

This was the third time Shepard jumped over a defender. The first was his junior year of high school. His second was his senior year. And his third was last Saturday against Kansas State.

Shepard knows he can jump. He first realized it during a basketball game his freshman year. He had a little tip back. Although he stopped playing organized basketball his sophomore year, he plays a lot of pickup. He never holds back there.

It shocks people when they see his 5-foot-10, 188-pound frame go for a dunk.

“It's just all for fun and games though when I'm playing pickup,” Shepard said.

The first thing Shepard saw in the photo wasn't the height of his jump, though.

by Stephanie Kuzydym
Stephanie Kuzydym learned at a young age that life is a game of inches. That's just one reason why she loves football. Kuzydym joined The Oklahoman in July 2012. Before arriving in the state, Kuzydym was an intern for the sports departments at...
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