Sheppard signed by Houston Texans

Published 7:39 pm Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Former Bainbridge High School Bearcat and University of Arkansas Razorback defensive linemam Malcolm Sheppard has signed with the National Football League Houston Texans as a free agent.

An All-Region 1AAAA performer with the Bearcats and All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) performer with the Razorbacks, Sheppard says his family and his faith are very important to him.

He emphasized that his parents, Ricky and Evelyn Sheppard; his brother, Ricky Sheppard Jr., who is serving with the U.S. Navy in Japan, and his younger brother, Nicholas Sheppard, who is a wide receiver with the Albany State University Rams, are all very special to him.

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“Our family is very close and we have always been there for each other,” he said. “My parents and my uncle, the Rev. Leonard Sheppard, pastor of the Lighthouse of Truth Church, which I am a member of here in Bainbridge, have all been positive influences in my life.”

Sheppard also has been a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Bainbridge High School and the University of Arkansas.

Sheppard said his goal, when he reports to Houston May 16 to begin a mini camp with the Texans, is to prove to the coaches that he is a hard, dedicated worker with high goals.

In a Monday story, reporter Chris Low said the biggest surpass for him was that Sheppard went undrafted in last weekend’s National Football League draft.

“You’d be hard pressed to find a defensive lineman in the Southeastern Conference who was more consistent than Sheppard the past two seasons,” Low said.

“He recorded 24.5 tackles for loss over his last two years at Arkansas and collected more than 10 tackles for loss in each of his sophomore junior and senior seasons.”

Sheppard, who is 6-foot-1 and weighs 290 pounds, has played both end and tackle in his career.

“Malcolm has a great work ethic and plays hard on every down,” Low said referring to Sheppard. “Just ask the guys at Florida and Alabama who tried to block him last season.

“If his shoulder, which he injured in the Liberty Bowl, gets back to 100 percent, the Houston Texans may have gotten a steal in free agency,”

During a Tuesday visit to The Post-Searchlight, Sheppard said the ligament damage he sustained to his shoulder is fine now.

Among his role models, Sheppard lists former Bearcats head coach Greg Guy, former Bearcats defensive line coach Roy Mathews, former Bearcats strength and conditioning coach Carl Elliott and Jones-Wheat Elementary School principal and long time highly successful Bearcats track coach Larry Clark.

Sheppard, who is very close to completing his degree in criminal justice, played two years under Coach Houston Nutt and two years under coach Bobby Patrino at Arkansas. His Razorbacks teammate was former Bearcats offensive lineman Ray Dominguez, who will be a senior starting offensive tackle for the Razorbacks next season.