Tyler Shelvin’s dream of wearing the purple and gold hung in the balance.
A year ago this week, Louisiana’s top-rated recruit made the decision to transfer from Northside High in Lafayette to Notre Dame in Crowley. Shelvin had already committed to LSU, but trouble with his grades, and a disruptive junior season (in which head coach Trev Faulk, a former LSU linebacker, unexpectedly resigned midseason) had put Shelvin’s dream of becoming a Tiger in serious jeopardy.
If the 6-foot-3, 376-pound defensive tackle, who has long idolized former LSU great Glenn Dorsey, was ever going to make it to Baton Rouge, then he had to make a change.
“Making that decision really helped my love for football and for my passion to get the next level,” Shelvin said. “I needed to transfer to Notre Dame and to play for coach (Lewis) Cook. If I would have stayed there, I wouldn’t be in this position today.”
Shelvin on Wednesday morning he officially signed to play for at LSU during a ceremony at Notre Dame High.
“It was a blessing today when I signed that piece of paper,” Shelvin said. “From the support of the school, my family and friends and the LSU coaching staff and fans. They all have supported me throughout the way.”
That support Shelvin speaks of welcomed him as soon as he stepped on campus of the private Catholic school in Acadia Parish. The coaching staff began to work with Shelvin on his conditioning, as well as having him work with tutors to improve his grade point average.
“It was a year ago yesterday that he came over to us,” Cook said. “His former coach, Trev Faulk, had left during the season so there was no real activities going on during the rest of the season and that offseason. Tyler was behind academically and with his training. We had to really split time between the athletics and academics for him, because he needed to work on both.”
With tutoring help nearly every day, Shelvin managed to pull his grades up enough to remain eligible for the fall season but opted to attend summer school anyway to further improve his grades.
“It was a hard transition to go through,” Shelvin said. “They helped me out a lot, and I busted my butt to stay after school with tutoring. I succeeded last year with my grades and football, and I plan to keep on doing that.”
Despite suffering an ankle injury during Notre Dame’s Week 2 game against Breaux Bridge, Shelvin still managed to help lead the Pioneers to the state semifinals and earn himself a spot in the Under Armour All-American Game, where he recorded five tackles.
“It is tough on any kid to transfer in, but Tyler was really under the gun,” Cook said. “But I am so proud of him and what he has done. He’s a really good kid and fit in well here with our team. I hope that we helped him some get prepared for the next level. We will all be pulling for him.”
Now that signing day has come and gone, Shelvin turns his attention to shedding pounds before arriving on campus in the summer. Shelvin, who is working with a personal trainer, said the LSU coaching staff wants him to “contribute right away” but that they also would like him to be around 330 pounds, which is roughly a 25-pound loss in the next few months.
Shelvin knows losing the weight may be a challenge, as well be playing against the Southeastern Conference’s top teams, but he is more than prepared for the both.
“I know playing for LSU is going to be a big change for me,” Shelvin said. “But I have wanted this all my life. I want to be dominant in college like I am right now in high school. That is my goal.”