Shepherd Honored with Lee Roy Selmon Community Spirit Award
TAMPA, Fla. – The Premier Players Sports Foundation named Kansas senior cornerback/kick returner JaCorey Shepherd the 2014 recipient of the Lee Roy Selmon Community Spirit Award Wednesday evening at the annual awards dinner at the InterContinental Hotel in Tampa, Florida.
The Lee Roy Selmon Spirit Award recognizes athletes who go above the call of a student, amateur or professional athlete by demonstrating a deep care for others and a connection to the moral growth of their community. Selmon, who was the No. 1 pick in the 1976 NFL Draft after helping Oklahoma win two national titles, never let the game of football define who he was; he lived by faith and touched many people in special ways.
“It is a privilege to be mentioned in the same breath as Lee Roy Selmon,” Shepherd said. “He was a great player, but his work in the community was even more impressive. I truly enjoy going out in the community and getting involved with kids. It is an honor to represent Kansas football tonight.”
Shepherd personifies exactly what the Lee Roy Selmon Community Spirit Award is all about. He displays sportsmanship and ethical conduct in everything he does. An outstanding teammate, Shepherd is an active member of Big Brothers, Big Sisters, spending quality time weekly with his “Little,” Christopher. In addition to the time he spends with Big Brothers Big Sisters, he has also been active in the local community volunteering at KU’s Hawks, Cops and Kids, various local elementary schools as a reader/mentor and taking part in several carnivals and field days. Shepherd has also participated in several football clinics with both the special needs community and local area elementary school children.
Even during his trip to Florida, Shepherd found time to visit with children at Tampa General Hospital, once again putting his own personal agenda on the back burner to help others in need.
For demonstrating that exemplary service to community and campus, the Kansas football team honored Shepherd as the Galen Fiss Award winner for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Most recently, Shepherd was selected as one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award and took home the Rock Chalk Choice Award for Best Jayhawk in a Supporting Role. Additionally, he was Kansas’ nominee for the 2013-14 Big 12 Conference Male Sportsperson of the Year.
On top of his community involvement, Shepherd is an excellent student. He is on schedule to graduate from the University of Kansas, School of Business in May 2015 with a degree in management and leadership. He has won several academic awards including being a three-time Academic All-Big 12 Second Team honoree and a four-time Athletic Director’s Honor Roll member.
Shepherd’s selfless attitude also extends to the field of play. After playing in 10 games at wide receiver as a freshman, he converted to his more known position of cornerback as a sophomore in 2012. An All-Big 12 Conference corner, Shepherd started each of Kansas’ last 25 games in the defensive backfield. He led the Big 12 with 19 passes defended including 16 pass breakups and three interceptions. Those 19 defended passes also ranked him fourth in the nation, averaging 1.6 per game. He had a career-game in leading Kansas to a win over Iowa State in its last outing as he posted five pass breakups and one interception. His six passes defended were a single-game high in the NCAA this season.
Shepherd also was the top kick returner for Kansas this season. He had 37 returns for 773 yards, including a long return of 33 yards in 2014. He finished his career donning the Crimson and Blue in fourth place on the KU all-time chart for kickoff return yards with 1,350, while also ranking fourth all-time in kickoff returns with 63—despite only returning kicks as a junior and senior.
In addition to taking home the Lee Roy Selmon Community Spirit Award, Shepherd was named to the All-Big 12 First Team by the conference’s coaches, All-Big 12 Second Team by the Associated Press and is one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award.
Nationwide fan voting continues for the Senior CLASS Award to help select the one candidate who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition. Fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award website through December 15. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I head coaches’ votes to determine the winner during the football bowl season in early January.
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