Former NFL player speaks to Voorhees freshmen

At age 14 C. L. Shepherd decided to put his faith in something bigger than himself. “Shep” as he is called by those close to him is a nationally recognized mentor and motivational speaker. He told an attentive audience of Voorhees College students Thursday at a freshman orientation program how he overcame growing up in a drug infested ghetto in Florida, one of 15 children, in whose family no one ever finished high school, whose father went to prison before he was born, sexually molested and attempted suicide after his best friend died.

Shepherd, who now serves as Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) chaplain and character coach for the University of Michigan said a seminal moment in his life came when he was 14-years of age and attending a FCA Camp (because he was told he would get a meal) there he met former University of Alabama standout and Seattle Seahawks star running back Shaun Alexander, who touched him on the shoulder (he had never been touched by a male before) and told him he loved him. “It changed my mind at 14,” he said.

Shepherd, who up until age 14 had never played football and never heard the word scholarship, would later go on to receive offers from 27-Division 1 schools.

Shepherd, who said he never stepped on to a football field he didn’t pray over, first gave the students what he called “four key principals” to live by:

First, he told the students you must “pick your prize”. How will you define success? You can’t find success in things he said. What will you do with your time? Will you make your life count?”

Secondly, he said “count the cost. Anything worthwhile in life is costly.”

Thirdly, “pay the price, you’ve got to pay the price, you owe it to yourself to be the best.”

And, finally “You keep the change; my challenge to you is keep the change.”

“God has a plan and purpose for you as long as you can breathe. We’re not born winners or losers we’re choosers. And when nobody gives you a chance in life, take one.”