Action County: Alex Shackleton
Alex Shackleton’s football career may have started late but that didn’t prevent the Summit High School senior from being recruited to play his favorite sport at Michigan State University.Shackleton, who is a long snapper, wasn’t allowed to join Summit’s football team until his junior year. “My mom wouldn’t let me play football until I was big enough,” the now 6-foot-2, 250 pounder said. “I tried out for tight end but ended up being an offensive and defensive tackle.”Like most high school football players, Shackleton was asked to play more than one position. Although he enjoyed his role as a lineman on both sides of the ball, he quickly found his niche on special teams, snapping balls to punters and place kickers.Shackleton attended a summer football camp at Michigan State following his rookie season with the Tigers. The budding snap specialist ended up attracting some attention while he was there.”(The Spartans coaches) were like, ‘Alex, we need to see you in our office for a couple of minutes,” Shackleton said. “They told me I needed to go home and do 50-100 snaps per day, keep lifting and keep in touch with them.”Shackleton called his parents to tell them the good news while he waited to board a plane home from Michigan.
“They didn’t believe me at first,” he said. “My dad was like, ‘Alex, whatever, did they actually say recruit? I don’t think so.”Shackleton’s recruitment was soon confirmed by an array of letters from various coaches. Michigan State wasn’t the only program to take a liking to the Breckenridge 18-year-old. He was also contacted by, among others, Colorado, Central Michigan, Nebraska, Hawaii and Houston. Shackleton found himself extremely busy with recruiting trips as he mulled his important decision. Over the course of three consecutive weekends, he visited Nebraska, Michigan State, then Houston. “They were all really nice schools,” he said. “It was tough to choose. Everybody had the same deal for me. I could come out as a walk-on then try to earn a scholarship in my second year.”Shackleton eventually chose to attend what he calls his favorite school in the nation.”It was always my dream to be a basketball player at Michigan State,” he said. “I wanted to fill my dad’s shoes even though I knew my chances were small.”Joe Shackleton, the current general manager of Beaver Run Resort and Conference Center, played hoops for the Spartans during the mid-1970s. Alex’s grandfather, Bob Shackleton, worked at Michigan State as a sports announcer.
“He was the voice of the Spartans,” the youngest Shackleton said. “He announced baseball, basketball, football. … a lot of different sports.”Shackleton plans to report to his new school July 5, after which he will assume a small summer class load and continue weight training before team tryouts.How much pressure is involved with your position?”(Long snapping) is one thing you really can’t mess up on. If you do, it will probably cost your team the game. As long as you don’t ever get your name in the paper, you’re doing your job because otherwise you snapped it over (the kicker or punter’s) head. You messed up and everybody knows you for it.”Do you have any fears about playing D-1 football?
“I have a fear that after I come up from snapping the ball, all I will see is some 300-pound maniac who doesn’t want to do anything but hurt me. … Luckily, there’s a one-second halo rule in college. No one can go straight at the snapper until he has a chance to defend himself.”Alex ShackletonDecade Born: 1980sFavorite Team: Denver BroncosFavorite Band: PepperFastball or Curveball: Fastball
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