Last month during LSU’s lineman camp, Northside’s rising junior defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin showed exactly what his lofty national ranking and four-month-old commitment to the Tigers essentially meant.
Instead of bypassing the event, content with both his status among the nation’s best in his class and secure place in LSU’s Class of 2017, Shelvin not only showed up to work out but dominated.
“I love competing,” Shelvin said.
The 6-foot-3, 320-pound Shelvin went against some of the top offensive linemen in the region and state, in some cases a year older and bigger, and walked away with the camp’s “Most Valuable Lineman” award.
“I didn’t want to let the fact that I was already committed make me lazy,” Shelvin said. “The competition made it fun.”
Northside football coach Trev Faulk didn’t need very long to identify the special qualities Shelvin possessed when he entered the Vikings program three years ago.
Faulk, a former linebacker at LSU and with the St. Louis Rams, had witnessed such characteristics on a grander scale in college and in the NFL, but not quite in the same package Shelvin owned at such a young age.
“You run into kids that have his size or change of direction or they’re technically sound, use their hands well and get off the ball,” Faulk said. “It’s very seldom to see them all molded into one single kid.”
The traits Faulk describes that have transcended Shelvin are the combination of his run-stopping ability, pass-rushing talent and lateral quickness for a player with his size.
“I like to say God just gave him a little bit more than everybody else,” Faulk said. “When you combine that with the work he’s put in, and with the work our defensive coaches have put in with him, you end up with the result he’s had so far.”
Shelvin cracked Northside’s starting lineup as a freshman and has remained a fixture there, also spot playing at offensive tackle and guard.
Shelvin credited a lot of his success to former teammate O’Shea Dugas, now a freshman offensive lineman at Louisiana Tech, for the role he played during Shelvin’s formative stages in the program and the leadership he provided.
“I’ve looked up to him since the eighth grade,” Shelvin said. “I’ve tried to be like him and now that I’m older, I try and talk to everyone about their assignments; to keep their heads focused. I try to keep the team up.”
Shelvin enjoyed a breakthrough sophomore campaign, finishing with 67 tackles and nine sacks. He was named first team All-District 5-4A and honorable mention Class 4A All-State.
Shelvin realizes approaching those numbers, or even surpassing that production, will be a challenge given the fact most opponents will approach him one of two ways this year: with additional blockers or simply run away from him.
“It’s actually fun to me,” Shelvin said of the double-team blocks he encounters. “I use the skills I’ve been taught. It’s not about being selfish, but also helping other teammates make the play.”
Shelvin, who has been invited to both the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and Under Armour All-America game, has also done his best to deal with the spotlight that comes with being rated the nation’s No. 2 defensive tackle and four-star prospect by 247 Sports and No. 29 overall player.
Contributing to the extreme glare of such a spotlight is Shelvin’s commitment to LSU, which took place March 11. He said that pledge is solid but maintained he’s kept an open mind about his recruiting process, hence an unofficial visit to Alabama this summer and recent offer from TCU.
“My grandmother (Debra Silas) said not to let those things take away from not doing the right things like being in the weight room and watching film,” said Shelvin, a 3.0-3.2 student. “The rankings and my commitment don’t really affect me. They’ve made me focus more. I have a ticket, a way out.”