2013 Kentucky Wildcats Football Preview: Ronnie Shields & Rashad Cunningham

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#80 Ronnie Shields, Tight End

Class: Redshirt Junior

Height / Weight: 6-5 / 234

Hometown: Stone Mountain, Ga.

High School: Stephenson

 

BEFORE UK (Scouting Report Courtesy of ESPN Recruiting Services)

 

Shields is an aggressive athlete with good height but lacking the bulk we like to see for the tight end position at the major level of competition. Plays with good quickness and balance; possesses a lanky frame which should allow for additional bulk over time. Lines up in a tight slot (two point stance) and on the line (three point stance); displays quickness releasing off the line; is a willing 2nd level blocker showing balance in space while playing on his feet and working to finish blocks. Will need to develop playing strength and explosion when single blocking online defenders. Additional bulk should help as he develops his one on one blocking skills. All aspects of receiving skills must be improved, although this prospect flashes good quickness coming off the line with enough straight line speed to threaten the seam and outside corner areas. His hands look relaxed; demonstrates good ball concentration catching throws behind and out of his frame; presently shows adequate RAC production. Shields is a good athlete who will need time and a red shirt year to develop physically and improve his overall playing skills, both as a receiver and run blocker. In time he should begin competing for meaningful starting time.

 

Shields didn’t come to Kentucky with a wealth of football experience, as he  began playing the sport his junior year of high school. He came to UK a very raw prospect, but coaches loved his upside, but to this point, hasn’t been able to reach it yet.

 

As a Wildcat (Courtesy of UK Athletics)

 

2012 (Sophomore): Played in 11 games, starting five … Caught nine passes for 68 yards … Best game was two catches for 22 yards, including a career-long reception of 17 yards, in the win over Kent State.

2011 (Redshirt Freshman): Played in seven games … Caught two passes for 10 yards, with both catches coming vs. Florida.

2010 (Freshman): Redshirted … Offensive Scout Team Player of the Week for the Western Kentucky University game.
High School: Combined good size with notable athletic ability … Has been timed as fast as 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash … Played tight end, although his athleticism could make him a possible slot receiver as well

 

With a new coaching staff focused on passing more, Shields will have plenty of opportunities to contribute this year, especially at TE where UK is very thin at in terms of experience. Expect to see Shields among the top-3 TEs when the initial depth chart is released.

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