2017 OF Jackson Shepherd Commits to Mesa Community College

Congrats on your new commitment! What is it about Mesa Community College
that excites you the most?

Mesa has a winning culture; they have finished in the
top 10 the last 15 years and won the NJCAA National Championship in 2014.
They play in a highly competitive Arizona Community College Athletic
Conference (ACCAC). The biggest thing for me is they have a great player
development program and I was really impressed with how they compete every
day in practice on fundamentals that win games.
I know that you are new to Top Tier, just joining the program in 2016. What affect
did that have on your recruitment?

The Top Tier program has been everything I thought it would be, we played against great competition, the tournaments provided exposure and everyone involved with the High School program at TT has been really helpful throughout the process. Griffin Phelps was advocating for me with Arizona Western after he saw me play at the Fall Notre Dame
tournament. Jorge Garza made connections for me with a few JUCOs and
Central Michigan coaching staff which turned out to be a real opportunity for me.
Matt Plante provided advice and guidance when schools reached out about
prospect camp invites.
Talk a little bit about the recruiting process and how everything went down.

The recruiting process was an experience and really frustrating at times. I had a lot of
interest from D3 schools who thought I could be a two way player in their
programs but ultimately I want to go to a school in a larger campus setting. I had
some interest from three D1 programs, one of which brought up the idea of the
JUCO path for a year or two as a way to compete immediately for playing time,
get the reps needed to continue to get better s versus a likely red-shirt scenario
in their program. I visited three JUCO programs – a great one at Southeastern
Iowa CC, Paradise Valley CC and Mesa CC. All three really liked my tools and
what I had to offer. In the end, Mesa seemed like it would be the best fit for me.
What were some of the priorities you looked at when deciding where to commit?
Priority one for me was the opportunity to compete immediately for playing time
in year one, next was an atmosphere with a winning tradition and team culture
with a proven player development program.
What challenges do you see ahead of you before you get to campus?

Making the adjustment to college life living on my own in an apartment, cooking for
myself and balancing the class work with baseball.
What are some of the goals you have set for yourself as a college baseball

I want to win the job in CF coming out of fall season. I want to win a
NJCAA championship. And after Mesa I want to play at the highest level possible.
Is there anybody you would like to give a shout-out or thanks to?
I’d like to thank my family for their support and dedication. All of my former
coaches, assistant coaches from in-house and travel ball, my high school varsity
coaching staff. John Cangelosi has been a big influence on my development and
skill as a player.

Finally, I’d like to say thank you to Coach Garza, Coach Plante and Coach
Phelps at Top Tier for advocating on my behalf during the recruiting process.
They were always willing to make a phone call to a school who had contacted me
and they really helped filter out what was real throughout the process.

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