For the first time in recent memory, the McKinney High football team will enter a season without an experienced running back in the backfield. Even last season when T.J. Tarver took over for an injured Damion Willis, he was a senior coming off a year in which he carried the ball 30 times for 160 yards and one score as a backup. He may have been a first-time starter but he had plenty of varsity and playoff football experience.
While the rest of District 10-4A may look at the Lions as a team that has graduated all three of its running backs, head coach Jeff Smith looks at this situation as an opportunity for somebody new to step up. And that’s exactly what has happened with soon-to-be junior Marquez Husband. In last Friday’s intersquad scrimmage, Husband impressed with his speed and catching ability (see video below). Because TownSquareBuzz will be reporting more on Husband later in the week, today’s focus will actually be placed on an individual who will more than likely be the Lions’ second option out of the backfield – Jonathan ‘Red’ Shannon.
As a sophomore, Shannon gained a reputation for being a ball-hawking cornerback. Shannon will resume his position on defense this fall but he will also be utilized on the offensive side of the ball at running back and anywhere else the Lions need him.
“You’ll see him in a few different spots,” Smith said. “He’s going to be the guy where we find ways to get the ball into his hands.”
After one full varsity season of playing strictly defense, Shannon’s junior year will be spent as a two-way player.
“His plate is going to be pretty full,” Smith said.
Not every player can handle the grind of playing a full game on one side of the ball much less playing and learning two separate positions. But if any player on the Lions roster is up to the challenge, it’s definitely Shannon, who excelled on the basketball court as well as the football field.
“Red is a gamer,” Smith said.
McKinney High football may have fall short of their playoff goal but the basketball team had an amazing regular season and postseason run before falling to eventual state champion, Kimball. Shannon played an integral part in the basketball team’s success and it’s because of his ability to compete as a two-sport athlete that Smith believes he will give the Lions’ offense a boost any time the ball is in his hands.
“He loves to compete and he loves to win – whether it be in football, basketball, or track,” Smith said. “He has a lot of savvy and he understands what we’re asking him to do and he makes plays.”
“Guys like that are fun.”
– Joe Arriola, TownSquareBuzz.com