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

“Coach (Josh) Heupel's going to get after me,” Shepard said. “He's going to kill me in film.”

For jumping a guy? No. For leaving the ball clearly unprotected? Yes.

“We always harp on ball protection and that's not really good ball protection right there,” Shepard said.

When wide receivers coach Jay Norvell was asked about the play, he did just that.

“That was an extra-effort play and he's got to be smart about that,” Norvell said. “He's got to keep the ball locked up. … He'll only gain confidence from that and he's not concerned about the physical nature of the game. He's playing hard and he's laying it on the line so you've got to appreciate that as a coach.”

As cool as the moment was for everyone in the stands and watching on TV, some of the feedback Shepard received stressed not making it a habit.

Kansas State's Jared Milo can be seen in the photo running toward Shepard. Milo came in and hit Shepard near his shoulder pads.

“He really could have hit my legs and that could have been nasty,” Shepard said.

This time, nothing happened. He was shoved out after he made the first down. He popped back up and shuffled sideways as he watched the sideline for the next call, trying to help take his team down the field.

As of publishing time, the photo was Shepard's main photo on Facebook and his avatar on Twitter.

He wouldn't have recommended it for SportsCenters' Top 10 though.

“I just got a first down off of it,” Shepard said. “It wasn't like a touchdown or anything, but it was definitely a good play, but I could have protected the ball a little bit better.”

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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