BYU football recruiting: Early signee Michael Shelton

BYU Football signing day. - Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Shelton signed with the Cougars during the early signing period back in December. He joins Nick Kurtz as one of the first two members of the 2014 class.

Cornerback Michael Shelton signed his letter of intent with BYU back on December 18th becoming one of the first official member of BYU's 2014 recruiting class. The two-star defensive back, and all around skill player attended Wakefield High School in Raleigh North Carolina, but has enrolled early in order to join spring practices with the Cougars. Shelton, who has never seriously considered any school other than BYU, verbally committed back in July of 2013, and even considered moving to Utah Valley to play his senior year of High School football at Timpview High School.

Shelton is slight at 5'8" and only 170 pounds, but he has good open field speed and acceleration, and possesses the ability to change direction quickly, as well as good hands and ball skills. Although his size may be less than ideal for the next level given the recent predilection for length at receiver and at cornerback, Shelton possesses a good vertical leap, and if he is willing to put in the preparation, should be able to find his way onto the playing field. He is the type of player that BYU has found hard to recruit in the past; he's athletic, and versatile. John Ross of Washington showed a perfect example of what a small, shifty player with some burst could do against BYU in the Fight Hunger Bowl, and Bronco Mendenhall seems to be looking for athleticism to counter, or at least match, that of the Cougars' competition. His size and ability to change direction makes him an ideal nickel back, and against the myriad of spread offenses that BYU will face, Shelton's agility should be a great factor in determining his play time. Although listed as a cornerback by 247sports and other recruiting services, Shelton is more of an athlete, having played offense, defense and special teams for Wakefield. He should be able to make an impact on the field at BYU, whether it's in the nickel, or outside on the edge on the defensive side of the ball, or returning kicks and punts.

At first glance, the roster looks a bit crowded at defensive back, with 22 players listed, but many of the players on the roster are walk-ons or have little to no game experience. So, while Shelton can likely redshirt without any ill effects, he may be able to secure himself a spot on special teams, or in the nickel package if he impresses the coaches during spring camp, as Robertson Daniel and Jordan Johnson look well entrenched at the starting positions. If not, he will have plenty of time to study film and adjust to the speed of division one FBS football during his redshirt year.

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