Thu, Oct 11 2012 05:02 PM Posted By: John Philip Wyllie
As one of the most gifted athletes to emerge from the South Bay in recent years D.J. Shields had many options when he graduated in 2008 from Bonita Vista High School.
Besides starring on the Barons basketball, baseball and football teams, Shields was an impressive performer in the classroom.
After graduating with honors he parlayed his smarts and skills into an athletic scholarship to San Diego State where he has seen substantial action as a tight end and a special teams player.
Shields is on course to graduate next spring from SDSU with a degree in civil engineering.
While teammate and fellow tight end Gavin Escobar has gained a lot of media attention with his dazzling catches and tackle-breaking runs, Shields has been left to do the far less glamorous, but equally necessary job of pass protecting and run blocking. You won't hear any complaints from Shields.
"I knew coming into the season that we had three good tight ends," Shields said after Tuesday's practice. " Obviously, Gavin, with the athleticism and talent that he has is going to get the majority of the big play routes. I am happy with the way things have been going in terms of playing time. I am getting more with each game."
Finally, after four years on the team, the Aztecs have discovered that Shields can catch.
"I haven't gotten my hands on the ball much over the last couple years, so it has been nice to catch a couple of balls in the last two games,” he said. “It's also nice to hear from people who have seen my name in the stat line."
After a long drought Shields had three receptions and a touchdown in a losing effort against Fresno State (52-40) and added an 18-yard catch last weekend in a lop-sided victory over Hawaii (52-14). He hopes he will continue to be targeted, but he is more concerned that the team keeps winning.
Having played in bowl games following the 2010 and 2011 seasons, Shields would like to cap his Aztec career with one more bowl game appearance.
Currently 3-3 heading into Saturday’s homecoming game at Qualcomm Stadium against Colorado State (kickoff 3:30 p.m.), the Aztecs need to improve their porous defense in order to have a reasonable chance of qualifying for post-season play.
Football aside, Shields has enjoyed his time at SDSU and has no regrets. His 3.88 grade point average ranks him first among his teammates. He is currently immersed in his senior engineering project.
Shields is interning with the Kiewit firm on a construction project at the San Diego Airport.
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