Shane Vallot isn’t satisfied with just being on scholarship.
The former Comeaux High star has gone from being too small to play Division I football to being placed on athletic scholarship. As phenomenal as the achievement was, and still is, for Vallot it is only a small part of his journey.
That explains why the 6-foot, 281-pound redshirt sophomore has been diligently working this past summer at perfecting his craft as an offensive lineman for the University of Louisiana football team.
“I have been working at getting strong in lower half, upper half and I have been working on foot work and protections,” Vallot said. “Working on all the little things to get better.”
After receiving his first game reps last season at guard, Vallot finds himself in the mix to assume the starter role at center. The Ragin’ Cajuns need to fill that hole after returning starter Cole Prudhomme suffered an ACL injury earlier this summer.
UL offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Rob Sale believes that Vallot has the tools to take on that role.
“You’ve got Mike declarations in run and pass in everything we do, and checks,” Sale said. “But Shane can do it. He’s very capable. But there are other guys we are preparing as well, because you’ve got to have a backup for him if he happens to come out going into Week 1 the guy.”
So how did Vallot go from an all-state player who only had one scholarship offer coming out of Comeaux (an offer from Southeastern Louisiana which was eventually pulled) to competing for a starter’s job?
Well for one, Vallot slimmed down.
“I was actually 325 pounds last year so when I lost 55 pounds that was a big step in my development,” said Vallot who is a part triplet with his brothers Justin and Nick. “That helped me go from fourth string to backup center. I can move a lot more now.”
Another large factor is Vallot learning from offensive line’s veteran players including Kevin Dotson and Prudhomme.
“They are a great group of guys,” Vallot said. “They are almost like coaches themselves. If one of us younger guys messes up they are on our butts quick. They are always working and never giving up. I learned a lot about discipline from those guys.”
That experienced has also inspired Vallot to work even more diligently when it comes to breaking down tape.
“I step my game up big time in the film room so I am trying to get on their level of knowing what to do,” Vallot added.
Vallot may not be satisfied with just being a scholarship player but that doesn’t mean that moment which occurred before summer workouts any less memorable.
“We had a team meeting and he kind of announced it at the end,” Vallot said. “It was one of the best feelings I have ever had in my life. It meant so much because people said that I was too small to play here and that I was too small to play Division I football.
“It felt like I proved myself,” Vallot said. “But I still have a lot to prove.”