Going into his sophomore year at Marietta High School, he just wanted something to do in the fall to kill time before spring season arrived, so he became a football kicker and punter.
Now that he’s a senior, Shannon might be looking for something to do in the spring because he quit soccer to put his emphasis on kicking and punting.
Just over a year after suiting up in a football uniform for the first time, Shannon was named top punter in the country in January following a competition.
He’s also received scholarship offers from Appalachian State, Georgia State, Army Southeastern Louisiana and Virginia. Other schools interested include Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida State and Western Kentucky.
Looking back on the success over the last year, this was a path he wanted to take himself. His parents, Michael and Celeste Shannon, didn’t force him to kick a football.
“It’s something I really like to do,” Shannon said. “I picked it up as a hobby and I fell in love with it. It wasn’t my parents pushing me. It was me always wanting to get better at it. I really thought I would be doing it for fun and am blessed to have this talent. I played soccer and had an idea on how to kick the ball and I had the right (football) coaches to help me develop into one of the top kickers in the country.”
The numbers certainly suggest he’s one of the best.
Last year, he made 16-of-18 field goal attempts, nine of which were between 40 and 49 yards. His misses were from 47 and 58 yards. Sixty-two of 73 kickoffs went for touchbacks. He also averaged 40.7 yards a punt and with 13 of his 37 total punts were downed inside the 20-yard line.
As a kicker and punter, Shannon is not one to gloat over how far he can kick or punt.
“I really don’t like putting numbers out there,” Shannon said. “I like to show people what I can do.”
His highlight of the season came Nov. 1 when he kicked a game-winning 49-yard field goal to upset eventual Region 4AAAAAA champion North Cobb on the road and keep the Blue Devils in the playoff hunt.
Shannon already had the kicking strength, having kicked a soccer ball for most of his life. What he had to learn was the mental aspect of being a kicker and punter, such as how to respond when opposing teams would call timeouts to ice him before kicking a game winner.
Time management was also important to Shannon. If he had 30 minutes of downtime at practice, he would practice his drops and his leg rhythm in order to kick a deep punt.
In regards of conditioning, he said many assume he can squat a massive amount of weight, but said squatting would actually slow down his kick.
“It isn’t muscles that you need,” Shannon said. “Muscles (in kickers) need to be explosive. I do plyometric workouts and use my own body as a workout tool.”