SANTA ANA, Calif. (BVM) – Mater Dei senior tight end and Texas commit Spencer Shannon believes he has skills that have gone unseen.
Playing for one of the best high school football programs in the country – which is fresh off of a 2021 national championship – and alongside a handful of talented teammates – headlined by four-star quarterback Elijah Brown – Shannon has solidified himself as one of the nation’s top blocking tight ends. But with a run-heavy offensive scheme and plenty of mouths to feed on a star-studded Monarchs squad, the 6-foot-7 tight end’s pass-catching ability has gone largely unnoticed.
“I think a big part of my game is kind of hidden just because of a lack of opportunities so far to be a force in the passing game,” Shannon said. “But I think this season should be a good example and showing of my pass-catching abilities because it’s looking like we’re going to work the tight end in more to the passing game.”
Shannon has caught just five passes for 90 yards and two touchdowns over the last two seasons but don’t let the numbers fool you. He’s been a standout at multiple 7-on-7 tournaments and camps this summer and his large frame makes him a matchup nightmare. As he continues to polish his route running, Shannon should be a problem in the passing game this fall and beyond.
As eager as he is to showcase his pass-catching abilities, Shannon knows his elite blocking prowess is a major reason why he’s ranked as a three-star tight end with offers to Cal, Texas, UCLA, Washington and others.
“I take a lot of pride in the position (tight end) because you have to do everything,” Shannon said. “You have to be able to know the entire offense, all the pass plays, all the run plays.”
Shannon committed to Texas last month as the sixth pledge of the Longhorns’ 2023 class and the only one from California thus far. With family in Houston and family friends right in Austin, Texas became the best destination for Shannon, among other reasons.
— Spencer Shannon |/ 🤘🏼 (@Spencer1722) June 13, 2022
“I have a lot of family out there, they have a tremendous academic reputation and then on top of that, you put the football aspect in, there’s really no better place to play than Texas football, especially the way it’s going,” Shannon said. “Our class and the incoming classes have a real opportunity to get this program going again.”
One of those fellow incoming 2023 recruits to Texas is Arch Manning, the highly sought-after five-star quarterback and nephew of Peyton and Eli Manning. Arch committed to the Longhorns exactly 10 days after Shannon did and the Mater Dei senior said Texas’ QB of the future has already gotten a head start on recruiting.
“That was awesome; I was super stoked about that,” Shannon said of Arch’s commitment. “It’s just super exciting to see the caliber of players we’re bringing in and we’re surrounding him with other high-caliber players.
“Arch is a great kid. I’ve had the opportunity to kind of chat him up a little bit in the last couple of weeks and I mean, he’s as good of a recruiter as about anyone so he’s doing his part bringing in this class.”
By the time Shannon and Arch officially suit up in the burnt orange, it could be in the SEC with Texas and Oklahoma reportedly set to leave the Big 12 as early as 2024. As someone who has played against some of the best of the best throughout high school, Shannon is all for the possible challenge of the SEC.
“Honestly, I’m really, really excited,” Shannon said of Texas’ possible move to the SEC. “I think it’ll be a good test of talent and I mean, why not play the best possible competition out there? You certainly get that in the SEC.”
Shannon and Mater Dei will be tested with some stiff competition right away in Week 1 when the Monarchs travel to Las Vegas for a matchup with Bishop Gorman, ranked No. 6 nationally by MaxPreps.
Meanwhile, Mater Dei opens the 2022 season as the No. 2-ranked team in the nation, according to MaxPreps, behind only St. John Bosco who the Monarchs will host on October 7. Mater Dei was edged out of the nation’s top spot despite an undefeated national championship run in 2021 and a 58-2 record over the last five years.
While Shannon is out to showcase his abilities in the passing game this season, proving Mater Dei once again belongs atop the high school football mountain is of utmost importance.
“Personally, I want to establish myself in the passing game before heading off to Texas and show everybody what I’ve been working on,” Shannon said. “But as a team, I’d love to go out with another natty (national championship). Especially since we weren’t seeded number one, I think we’re all hungry and grinding for that because we have another special team this year.”