Shorter Leading The Way At North Panola, Will Attend Fortius Project At NEMCC
Carl Diffee served as an assistant at North Panola from 2012 until last February, when he was named head coach of the football program. In his time as offensive coordinator, he cultivated plenty of young talent.
In his first season at the helm, the Cougars established all kinds of momemtun with a 10-3 finish. Sure, the season ended sooner than Diffee and his team would have liked, but that should only serve as a nudge this season. On top of that, plenty of experienced players are returning. That includes outstanding quarterback KJ Jefferson. It also includes athletic rising junior two-way player Tyler Shorter.
“Coach Diffee teaches me a lot. We are real close,” Shorter told SES Mississippi.
“Our expectations next year are to take it game by game and make it to state. We have a lot of players returning on both sides of the ball. I know we can make it far because we have so many guys returning.”
Thus far this offseason Shorter has turned the season-ending in the second round of the playoffs into positive.
“It just pushed me to go harder,” He explained. “I’ve been working on my footwork and getting faster, while also getting stronger in the weight room.”
Last season Shorter tallied eight interceptions from his cornerback spot, while grabbing a handful of passes on offense. This coming season he’s hoping for more production on both sides.
“If anyone lines up in front of me that is ranked, they’re going to have to show me why they’re ranked,” Shorter stated.
That is the mindset that Shorter is bringing with him to the Fortius Project on April 22nd at Northeast Mississippi community college. It will be needed, too, as some of the best talent in North Mississippi is expected to be on hand.
“I want to come out to compete with other guys and get better at my craft, while getting some exposure,” Shorter said.
“My ability to play any position, my ability to jump and my ability to track the ball could help me stand out.”
Improving in man-to-man coverage is something that Shorter has in his sights this offseason. That is what feels can make him a better all-around cornerback.
Similar to his close relationship with his head coach, Shorter also feels the bond between he and his school is special. Originally, when he was in the fourth grade, it was planned he would attend South Panola. That decision changed, which resulted in him being a Cougar instead.
That decision is one he will appreciate.
“Playing at North Panola has made me a better player, and person overall, with the coaching staff we have. We are a family,” Shorter explained. “What makes us a family is being around each other so much and doing so many things together.”
“Playing on both sides of the ball here has made me better. North Panola has helped me become a leader, even though I’m not a senior. I’m taking a lot of responsibility and showing those younger than me how things are done here. I have been starting since I was a freshman.”
The goals are clear and so are the directions to get there, at least according to Shorter.
“We want to go to state, while not losing a game,” He said. “We’re going to take it game-by-game.”
**Photo courtesy of Issac House