The once-promising career of a highly-touted 2012 recruit has come to an end.
Ole Miss announced in a release that Tee Shepard has decided to leave the Rebels football program and retire from football. Shepard, who is hearing-impaired, will remain in classes at the Oxford school and finish working on his degree.
“While we had hoped Tee would continue playing, he has chosen to conclude his career and focus on finishing his degree here at Ole Miss,” Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said in a statement. “We respect his decision and wish him the very best. He will always be a part of our family, and we hope he continues to use his platform to impact others.”
Shepard was a four-star member of Notre Dame’s 2012 recruiting class, rated as the No. 4 cornerback in the country; the No. 11 player at any position in the state of California; and the No. 76 player overall according to Rivals.com. The Irish announced in March of 2012 that Shepard was no longer enrolled at the school, two months after he enrolled as an early signee. The stated reason for Shepard’s decision at the time was the desire to be back closer to his family in Fresno.
After leaving South Bend, Shepard considered transferring to Fresno State as well as USC before ultimately landing at a junior college.
He spent the 2012 and 2013 seasons at the JUCO level. On his second spinning of the recruiting carousel, Shepard originally gave a verbal commitment to rival Mississippi State before flipping to Ole Miss three days later on signing day in 2014.
After some initial uncertainty, Shepard received academic clearance and was eligible to play for the Rebels in 2014. Unfortunately, Shepard, who was No. 2 on the cornerback depth chart at the time, sustained a torn tendon in one of his toes during summer camp that year and didn’t play at all in 2014.
This season, he had played in all five games.
“The injuries and challenges I have overcome the last few years have taken away my love for playing the game of football,” said Shepard in his statement. “I want to thank Rebel Nation for the support they have shown me in my time here. I want to especially thank Coach Freeze for showing me what unconditional love is like. I will always love this team and cheer them on as they compete for a championship. I look forward to completing my degree from Ole Miss and beginning the next phase of my life.”