Darrius Shepherd trains at Sanford POWER for Pro Day

"I sat down with the coaches and trainers here ... and I was all on board."

Football player for NDSU
Football player for NDSU

Former North Dakota State University wide receiver Darrius Shepherd is using Sanford POWER resources and coaches to help prepare for the NDSU Pro Day on March 28.

“Being up here the last four years, I hear about Sanford Health all the time,” Shepherd said. “It’s a big name up in the Midwest. One of my friends, a former Bison teammate Ryan Smith, trained here and told me that he trusted it and believed in it. I sat down with the coaches and trainers here at Sanford POWER, and I was all on board. I knew it was the right fit for me.”

A standout college career

Shepherd finished his Bison career with 188 receptions 2,841 yards and 20 TDs. He produced career highs his senior season with 62 receptions, 1,065 yards and nine touchdowns. Still, he said representing the NDSU family far outweighs the individual accolades.

The Bison have been the most dominant force in FCS football with seven national championships in eight years. Three of those national championships Shepherd contributed to in his five-year tenure at NDSU.

“The culture there is life-changing. It has changed me as a person for the better, and the community around it has a crazy impact on others. I was fortunate enough to have Coach Klieman recruit me when I was in high school in Kansas City, and since then I didn’t look back. It was an incredible ride,” Shepherd said.

Shepherd was named MVP of the 2018 national championship, joining the likes of NFL star and Sanford POWER athlete Carson Wentz to have won the award.

“Carson Wentz is a great example of what the program is all about, and it’s not a surprise to see his success at the next level. The physicality we play with is just part of what it means to be a Bison. You play for your brother next to you, and that shows every Saturday when we strap up the pads. It’s a special place for sure, on the field and off the field, and you leave that place a better person,” Shepherd said.

Working toward NFL hopes

Shepherd is now looking to translate his success at NDSU to a professional career. At Sanford POWER, Shepherd is working to perfect his pro day drills and testing.

“There’s everything you need here, from the weight training, to specific drill training, nutrition advice, to just becoming an overall better athlete. Now I am here in Sioux Falls doing a hydration test. It just goes to show how well they run this business and how well they treat their athletes,” Shepherd said.

A pro day gives prospects the opportunity to showcase their skills in front of NFL scouts, coaches and general managers. Typically these workouts include the 40-yard dash, three-cone shuttle, vertical and broad jumps, and football-specific drills.

With the community support of Bison nation behind him and the benefits of science and training from Sanford POWER, Shepherd hopes to stand out to an NFL team on March 28.

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