North Laurel High School senior Hutton Shepherd hasn't always had the same love of football that he has today.
"It's kind of funny because I always hated football growing up and I got in sixth grade and I just fell in love with it," Shepherd said.
Shepherd was surrounded by his family, friends and North Laurel administration and coaches as he signed with Campbellsville University on Monday to continue not only his post-secondary education but also his football career.
His love of football didn't begin until he started playing football at North Laurel Middle School in the sixth grade. And Shepherd said he's been working hard ever since, which is what helped to give him the opportunity to continue his football career at the collegiate level.
North Laurel High School Football Coach Chris Larkey said that Shepherd has been a great asset for the Jaguars' football team.
Larkey said the two-year starter was the only returning starter on this past season's football team.
"We only had six seniors and he's the only one that returned that started," he said. "So, he had a lot of leadership for our guys. He already knew going in what it took to win and he just learned a lot from our previous classes."
Shepherd said that playing his last four years at North Laurel has helped him to grow as a person and as a player.
"I've had a lot of good times," he said. "A lot of good wins, a lot of hard losses. I grew up a lot in those four years--I learned how to work extremely hard in everything I do, just to play hard all the time."
The North Laurel Jaguars went 4-6 last season and 9-3 in 2017.
"He learned what it's like to be on both sides of the ball--winning and losing," said Larkey. "I think he learned a whole lot this year. He learned that you have to work hard to ever be competitive. I think he learned a lot of adversity this year from this year's team and I think that'll prepare him a lot of college because college is a job."
Shepherd is hoping to make an impact as a Campbellsville Tiger.
Larkey said he was excited for Shepherd's opportunity to not only continue his football career but the chance to also get a post-secondary education.
"That's what I told him, you use college football as a way to get an education and that's the most important thing," he said. "Campbellsville has a really good football program. It's not far from home, so I think a lot of people will be able to actually go and watch Hutton play. I think he's got a good head on his shoulders, he's going to a really good school and he's going to get a really good education."