Bill Shepherd (American football)

Bill Shepherd
Date of birth (1911-12-04)December 4, 1911
Place of birth Clearfield, Pennsylvania, United States
Date of death March 8, 1967 (age 55)
Place of death Detroit, Michigan, United States
Career information
Position(s) Running back
College Western Maryland
Career history
As player
1935 Boston Redskins
1935–1940 Detroit Lions
Career stats
Rushing yards 1984
Receiving yards 188
Passing Yards 938
Touchdowns 16

William Leroy Shepherd (December 4, 1911 March 1967) was an All-American running back for Western Maryland College, now called McDaniel College. As well as 4x All-NFL in 5 years for National Football League; played for the Boston Redskins and Detroit Lions.


Shepherd was describe as "heavy, strong, sawed-off (5’9") running back who could be positioned at tailback or fullback alternately (and was a) productive pro passer." Shepherd was also known as being a great defensive player being "part of a vigorous defensive unit that shut out eight of its nine opponents, including all of the major foes: Villanova, Boston College, Catholic U, Georgetown and Bucknell.[1]

Football Highlights



All NFL Team[5]

Year Team Voters
1935 2nd GB Press-Gazette
1935 2nd United Press International
1937 2nd Collyers Eye Magazine
1938 1st Collyers Eye Magazine
1938 1st NY Daily News
1938 2nd Pro Football Writers Association
1939 2nd International News Service

All-American Controversy

According to James Mark Purcell, one of the founders of College Football Historical Society, Bill Shepherd, like many other players during his time, did not make the All-American Team due to Politics. Purcell Explains that the coaches knew who he was as he was considered the best back the two All-star colleges games, while then 1st team all American Fred "Buzz" Borries only made it on as a reserve. He describe the situation in 1934 as "[would have been] politically impossible for even Jim Thorpe to get any All-America voter attention".[6] Purcell gives the example that only one All-American started in the Chicago all-star game. He implies that the reasons for this were due Buzz Borriess playing for Navy and that two other great running backs also for consideration were from Shepherd's home town, splitting the vote among the local writers.[1] Even Grantland Rice was quoted as saying that Shepherd was a better back then Buzz Borries and should have been on the all American team.[4]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 Purcell, Mark. "Unknown All-Starr." College Football Historical Society Newsletter. III.May (1999): 8-10. Web. 13 Jun. 2012. <>.
  2. 1 2 3 Lighter, James E. Fearless and Bold. Westminster: McDaniel College, 2007. 334 Print
  3. 1 2 "All-Americans". McDaniel Athletics. Retrieved 2012-06-13.
  4. 1 2 Lighter, James E. Fearless and Bold. Westminster: McDaniel College, 2007. 334. Print
  5. "Bill Shepherd NFL Football Statistics". Retrieved 2012-06-13.
  6. Purcell, Mark. "Unknown All-Starr." College Football Historical Society Newsletter. III.May (1999): 9. Web. 13 Jun. 2012. <>.
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