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Niceville’s Jayden Sheppard ready for the playoffs

Niceville’s Jayden Sheppard ready for the playoffs
Niceville CB Jayden Sheppard is congratulated after blocking a punt that was recovered for an Eagle touchdown. (Credit: Michael Snyder, The Northwest Florida Daily News via Imagn Content Services, LLC)

NICEVILLE, Fla. (BVM) – Niceville High School football is looking to make another deep playoff run and once again, they have a high-level recruit leading the charge on defense.

Jaylen Sheppard is a three-star safety recruit for the Class of 2023 with offers from West Virginia, Arkansas, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Tech and Tulane. Over his junior and sophomore seasons, he has racked up 41 solo tackles, six tackles for loss, eight passes defended, three forced fumbles and six interceptions. 

During that time, the Eagles have gone 21-3 and have made some deep runs in the playoffs. Both runs also featured former four-star recruit and current Florida State Seminole Azareyeh Thomas. Thomas was a two-way star for Niceville, shutting down wide receivers on defense and then beating defensive backs on offense as a wide receiver.

Jayden Sheppard Niceville High School football
Niceville High School’s Jayden Sheppard brings down Vanguard High School’s Lenard Hill. (Credit: DEVON RAVINE / USA TODAY NETWORK)

In 2020, the team made it all the way to the FHSAA state semifinals before losing to eventual state runner-up, Edgewater. Last year, Niceville lost in the regional semifinals to Nease.

Thomas has moved on to Florida State, fellow senior and three-star offensive lineman Kimo Makaneole is at LSU and a large, veteran senior class for the Eagles has graduated. But the team still has plenty of talent. Along with Sheppard, the defense has linebacker Christian Caballero, who is also receiving interest from Division I schools.

On offense, the team has a capable, dual-threat quarterback in Harrison Orr and weapons like wide receiver Maddax Fayard, running back Demontre Allen and Micah Turner at his disposal. The team is young with many players who sat behind seniors in 2020 and 2021 getting their chance to lead the team. Those players are ready for the opportunity and it bodes well for a playoff run this year as well as in the future.

The Niceville Eagles have always been competitive when the FHSAA playoffs start and this year should be no different.

This is an unedited user writing submission. The views, information, or opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Best Version Media or its employees.

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