The 16-year-old junior, born and raised in Marietta, said he has been kicking things since he was young. Shannon’s father is from Ireland, and taught Shannon as well as his two triplet siblings, how to play soccer soon after they learned to walk.
Shannon was kicking a ball around at a soccer practice last fall when the school’s football coach Scott Burton noticed his strong leg.
He was asked to come onto the football team as a kicker, and Shannon had to learn an entirely new sport.
He began practicing with the team, learning about field goals and getting the hang of the new ball. Shannon said his whole family has been learning the sport along with him and have been supportive throughout his transition from soccer to football.
Shannon, a 16-year-old junior, just finished his second season kicking for the high school and said he has developed a love for football.
“He has gone from being a kid with a very powerful leg to a kid that has a lot of potential,” said Coach Burton.
Before and during each football game, Shannon has a number of rituals he follows.
First, he always eats at Xaxby’s the day before a game. He also spends two hours stretching his legs and body out. During the game, Shannon watches and anticipates when he might be played in the game, and what type of shot he will need to take.
If he will need to punt a shot, Shannon said he takes a couple of squat jumps to hype himself up. If he needs to kick a field goal, Shannon tries to calm himself down, and pictures aiming at a leaf on a tree.
“If you aim small, you miss small,” he said.
Shannon is focused right before a kick; he never even sees his opponents rushing at him. This season, he had an incredible record both on the field and in the classroom.
With the 45 minutes allotted to the players for homework before daily practices, Shannon said his schoolwork has definitely remained a priority. He hopes to play football in college for one of the schools in the SEC.
On the weekends, if Shannon is not playing a game, he is watching a football game, he said.
“Football is all about family. We all love each other and work as a team and family on the field. We all depend on each other,” Shannon said.
The Blue Devils made it to the state playoffs this year, but lost in the first round to Lovejoy High School in November. Shannon also broke two field goal records for the high school.
“He’s really blossomed,” said Coach Scott Burton, “He has only been doing this for two seasons. I think he will continue to get better and better and stronger and stronger. I think his future is really bright.”
Since the season ended in November, Shannon has stayed busy, participating in competitions and all-star, invitation-only games with players from across the country.
Most recently, Shannon played in the All Star Game at McEachern High School, at the Marietta Conference Center. He was named the No. 1 ranked punter in America for the class of 2015 at the Pro Kicker competition, held in December at Lovett High School in Atlanta. Pro Kicker is the top kicking and punting organization in the nation, according to a MHS press release.
“It’s an accomplishment, not an award. People don’t understand the amount of work that I’ve put into becoming a better kicker and punter,” Shannon said.
Coach Burton said he wasn’t surprised by Shannon’s hard-earned accomplishment. As a coach, he tries to form a cohesive team that constantly achieves top honors.
“Marietta is such a community-based school. They recognize they are not just playing for themselves, but everyone in the city of Marietta as well,” Burton said of his players.