“It seems to me like they have a good organization,” Shackelford said in a press release through the university. “The offensive line coach called me and said I have an opportunity to compete for a roster spot. It was the best option for me, and I couldn’t pass up that opportunity.”
Shackelford will fight for a roster spot with an organization that just added Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski.
“Captain Shackelford is as smart of an offensive lineman as I’ve been around,” Texas head coach Tom Herman said. “He made all the calls for our offensive line. He’s another guy that comes from a great home life. His dad is a military chaplain, and he grew up with a lot of structure and discipline. He’s a self-starter who is extremely strong and powerful, and just really knows how to play to his strengths. He knows what his strengths are, and he knows what his weaknesses are. He’s a guy that gets the entire offensive line going in the right direction. He’s athletic enough to move around a little bit, but strong and powerful enough to where if you put a 330-pound nose guard on top of him, he’s going to be able to hold his own against him.”
The 6’3, 305-pound lineman from Belton found himself without an opportunity to work out live for scouts after Texas was forced to cancel its Pro Day. Shackelford held a virtual workout for scouts instead and apparently it was enough to impress the Buccaneers.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, Shackelford was happy with his 1.75 10-yard split, but his 5.4 40-yard dash demonstrated some of his athletic limitations. On the bench press, he managed 33 reps, which would have tied for the top mark at the NFL Combine.
With his signing, Shackelford becomes the third center on the Buccaneers roster, joining veteran Ryan Jensen and Anthony Fabiano to compete for a roster spot. Shackleford feels his college coaches prepared him for the competition.
“Coach McKnight, flexibility-wise and physically in the weight room and being mentally prepared for what you face, and then Coach Hand, fundamentally and technique-wise and the knowledge of football he’s given me has been awesome,” Shackelford said. “I’m just really excited to get started and can’t thank Coach Herman and everyone in the program enough.”
His signing means that five of the draft-eligible players from Texas found their way onto NFL rosters, with Malcolm Roach signing with the New Orleans Saints earlier in the day.