October 1, 2009

Closer Look: DT Malcolm Sheppard

Texas A&M heads to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington Saturday for its first big test of the 2009 season against Arkansas in the inaugural Southwest Classic. The Aggies are undefeated while Arkansas comes in on a two-game losing streak to top 25 SEC opponents.

All eyes are on the offenses heading into the game with the Aggies (3-0) ranked No. 1 in total offense and Arkansas (1-2) No. 19. Both have big, strong quarterbacks with guns for arms, but the most important players Saturday aren't even on the offensive side of the ball. Rather, it's defenders who have the chance to disrupt the highly-touted offenses and give their teams a leg up in what many are billing a shootout.

For A&M it's junior Von Miller who lines up all over the field and leads the nation in sacks (8.0) and tackles for loss (2.67 per game). In Arkansas' case it's senior defensive tackle Malcolm Sheppard who A&M must handle in the middle in order to keep moving the ball in the way the Aggies have become accustomed to in September.

Sheppard is a 6-foot-2, 291-pound specimen that originally played defensive end as a freshman and sophomore before moving to tackle four games into his sophomore season. Sheppard has started every game since 2007 and is Arkansas' best linemen when it comes to disrupting opposing offenses.

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