Every recruiting class has its proverbial diamond in the rough, a prospect that their lack of recruiting attention is seemingly not indicative of one’s talent level. Louisiana native Shannon Forman is poised to be that player for the Sun Devils. The defensive lineman opens up about his football journey and his expectations of his upcoming freshman year.
“I started playing football at the age of 6 and I hated it. I would come home crying saying I wanted to quit. But my mom kept pushing me to play it and by the last year of my youth football league, I started loving it. I realized that football was my meal ticket and because of football something right is going to happen to me and my family. My mother knew that too and she wanted me to be great.
“My freshman year in high school they threw me into the fire and had me play varsity starting in the first game of the season. I expected this because I went to a 1-A school and that’s what they do, they throw in there so you can play in games. At the time, we were trying to make our school one of the bigger schools in football and we were playing schools like John Curtis to show that we were ready to play on their level. Even though we lost that game, playing them got me ready for my next three years of high school and that’s why I improved.
“I played in high school with Chris Allen (an Alabama signee) and we started out where he was at defensive tackle and I was at defensive end. I was 6-0 250 lbs. when I started high school, and he was 6-0 240 lbs. Some said that we should switch positions and it worked out. When we played IMG Academy my junior year I saw my game grow and that is when I thought that I was ready to play D-I college football. I was playing against four-star players, who were big and could really move and I’m there competing with them.
“I heard from the University of Miami for a little bit then and that was it. I didn’t hear from a lot of schools, and I thought I was going to go to a historically black college like Southern or Grambling State. But always in my head, I thought I could go to bigger and better football schools. In my senior year, I knew I was better than the schools who were offering me now. I wanted to get more offers and I was praying every night to God to help me with my recruitment. I was just waiting for the big school to come through with an offer.
“First time I was contacted by ASU is when (running backs) Coach John Simon got the job. He also recruited me when he was at Southern Miss. He and I were very familiar with each other and he always kept in touch with me. He’s a big reason why I came to ASU. He’s a Louisiana native and he knows everything about Louisiana players. He’s really like family for me and was always making sure I was doing OK. I know that he helped a lot to be where I am now.
“When I visited ASU, I loved how they treated me when I got there and I just liked the whole atmosphere. They treated me like family. I just fell in love with everything. I told my parents this is where I really wanted to play college at. I talked to the new defensive line coach, Coach Slater, and he already told me what the expectations are. I get a vibe from him that he doesn’t care about a (player) classification, all he cares about is winning. That is what I love about him. He wants players that are willing to come in and work hard to win. That’s why I came to Arizona State, is to win our division and win the Pac-12. Coach Slater said that he is expecting big things out of us.
“I told my high school coach that I’m working hard on my conditioning and my abs, and he laughed and said there will be a ‘no shirt Thursday’ at practice. So, when he saw me he said: ‘golly…you’re big as a house and you have a six-pack.’ I did play basketball my first two years of high school, but I was 6-2 and playing a big man. I knew I had a better future in football. I pride myself on being quick enough so when the offense has a 3rd and long I’ll be on the field. I’m not just trying to push the lineman around, I’m also trying to get around him and use my speed. I’m out there to go after the quarterback. I feel that I need to work more on playing the run, but my pass rush…I feel that I can get around anyone.
“To be successful as a freshman I need to make sure that my work ethic and dedication is there. You see a lot of players fade away, but if you work hard and keep humble you’ll be successful. I’m a two-star prospect that didn’t get recruited a lot so I’m going out there to work hard and prove wrong the people that doubted me.”