For Season 3 Episode 6 of Slingin It with QB Velocity we got the chance to sit down and talk to current LSU center Liam Shanahan.
Liam grew up in Marlborough, Massachusetts and played his high school football at Marlborough High School. He played college football at Harvard for his undergrad and now is playing college football at LSU.
In the episode, we talk about his recruiting process, his experience at Harvard, how it is playing in LSU, and what he wants to do after his time at LSU.
Fun fact: Liam is 1 out of 2 football players to play at LSU after playing at Harvard!
When was the first moment you fell in love with the game of football?
Growing up I was always a big sports guy playing all sports. I actually wasn't even allowed to play football. That was too big for a lot of those. Usually back in the day.
Yeah, but once I got to start playing like in seventh or eighth grade in the middle school team going up into high school. That was when it really started to click for me that was this was a sport that I felt like was meant to be. Compared to everything else I was playing so.
Did you have someone that you looked up to growing up?
Yeah, I mean when I was in in middle school, you know, I thought like I want to a public middle school in Marlborough, Massachusetts. You know and go on to the Varsity games on Friday night as it was like going with Super Bowl every week. I thought all those guys are like the coolest guys that like around says that's kind of who I wanted to be.
I always looked up to men like that, I got to work as hard as I can to be able to play on Friday nights. Yeah, I'm over worker but that's kind of how it's always been for me. You know from there then playing up at college Harvard and then now it'll be playing at LSU. So, I guess for me I'm always looking up to whatever is next.
Do you have a favorite NFL lineman?
Oh. Yeah, I always like David Andrews with the Pats. I'm a big Pats guy. That's probably why. Yeah, I think he plays some good ball. Then it was fun to watch the center for the Bucs Ryan Jensen this past season especially this playoff run you know. He really brought his own sort of tenacity to the game which was kind of fun to see.
How have you been able to persevere through this pandemic?
Certainly, it’s been a crazy year. It's insane that you would think it's already been over a year at this point. Yeah, but for me, I didn't know I was going to LSU. I heard what I was doing, so I certainly have.
It’s kind of been a little bit of a rollercoaster throughout the whole thing. Which is exciting for me. Yeah, you know. But you know one thing that the really the biggest thing for me is just trying to keep things in perspective.
I’ve been fortunate enough, where I haven't necessarily suffered some of the losses other people have as a result of the pandemic. So I just kind of keep trucking along one day at a time, even when it gets tough sometimes, but. Yeah, so someone's always got worse than you. So, you gotta take advantage of what you have. And so, I think about it sometimes.
How was your recruiting process like?
I was recruited by a lot of Ivy league schools. Patriot League. Yes, BC and Syracuse some of the bigger schools up in the New England area. But I kind of fell in love with Harvard it was really the first school that recruited me hard, so my first visit I made up my mind. They got really good football program there.
How did you gain attention and try to standout?
Yeah, I just focused on every Friday night as the opportunity to put what I can do on film. You know, in terms of every high school game, is really the biggest opportunity to get film and put together a tape that college coaches will be looking at or we will be looking for you know.
And on top of that, going to camps and whatnot was big for me. The first time I talked to Harvard was after I went to their camp as a Junior in high school. I hadn't really talked to the coaching staff for that, but I thought it would be a good opportunity even if not to get recruited. But just to get some work with some college coaches you know. So that's kind of how it went for me.
Any advice you want to give the younger generation of lineman?
This thing is just work every day. I mean there's no shortcuts. Do you want to play at the next level? You got to be the type of guy who's going to be in the weight room. You know almost every day.
You know you gotta remember that as hard as you work, and there's always going to be somebody working harder than you. That's trying to get to the same spot that you are. So really that's all you gotta do is be ready for one-year opportunities going to come and make sure that you're always ready for what's going to come next.
Do you have a favorite drill as an offensive lineman?
Yeah, I mean. It's honestly tough, I feel like. At least when I was in high school. You know a lot of the same coaching for offensive line. It is obviously not as complex as what you're going to see at the college level in terms of like drills and what not.
Which is another thing why I thought it was great to go to camps, especially as an offensive lineman to kind of hear what college offensive line coaches are coaching and what they're looking for in guys. You know, but the biggest thing I feel like it is really the fundamentals when it comes down to it.
Make sure that you know you have a good stance. Good first step. Yeah, and then obviously from there you can do more complicated stuff, but really. If you're like that's it's all going start on the foundation and that's kind of where it all starts.
How do you approach the game mentally as a center?
This past year was actually my first time ever playing the position of center. I really enjoy it, but you know something that my offensive line coach says here is that. Yeah, like Saturdays are games like that's your biggest test of the week.
When it comes to studying and preparation, you really can never be well enough prepared. There's always more that you can do in terms of, at this level, watching film and breaking down what the other teams going to be done and just be ready.
So, for me as a center, I want to be in a place where I know what the defense is going to be doing before the play even starts and I know where people are going to end up, so it just slows the game down a lot. Yeah, it allows me to just kind of kind of play.
How do you find the balance between practice, watching film, and the homework?
It's definitely tough and balances sometimes, which I think coming from Harvard is where I really was able to kind of develop some of those time management skills and organization. Sometimes, there’s a day where you don't really have down time, where you're not going to be able to just be playing video games or goofing off for a few hours at a time. For me I always just try to take advantage of the time that I have to complete everything that I have and then once I'm done with everything if I have some extra time to relax that's kind of how I go about it.
What was it like to play at a school with so much history like Harvard?
It was awesome. I can't speak highly enough about my time at Harvard. Playing at that level was awesome and then just kind of the history of the program. It's kind of still is built into the program of itself, where me and all my teammates felt like we're playing for more than just ourselves. Harvard is kind of one of those saying is the 10,000 men of Harvard, where as a player you're just one of the 10,000 men. So, it was an honor every week to kind of put on the helmet and the Harvard uniform and be a part of such a university with such great history.
Do you have a favorite moment at your time at Harvard?
The game has to be in my junior year. We played Harvard vs Yale, which is like our big rivalry. We played them at Fenway Park. Which is awesome. Being a local kid getting to play in Fenway? Then not only that but beating are rival so that was definitely the most memorable game.
What made you want to continue your career at LSU?
I wanted to keep playing football. I had another year eligibility and with how the transfer portal is these days where it's kind of it is possible to build from Harvard to a different program.
I thought that it would probably be more useful for me to try to go that route rather than try to take a shot at going to NFL straight from Harvard. You know, so I put my name in the transfer portal after my senior year with this extra year eligibility and with my size as being able to go to the top highest level college football possible, which is kind of how I ended up here at LSU.
How does it feel like playing for a school that just won a national title?
It’s really cool. Definitely the expectations are high, you know, and we didn't have a great season this past year which is another one of the reasons why not only me, but so many other players offered to come back for this next season.
We know what the expectations are here at LSU and we want to live up to those expectations. So that's what we're doing now. We're working to get to that point.
Do you have a prediction for what the record will be for the team next year?
I won't get into it. I won't get into the all the details, but we should be good. Yeah, we got the whole starting o-line, whole starting d-line back something like 20 starters coming back so fingers crossed. The vibe around the team is that we’re pretty good through winter workouts and spring ball so far so we just got to keep building on.
What is the culture like at LSU compared to Harvard?
You know it's kind of night and day where you at Harvard. It was all actually kind of academics came first. Even in the football program like the coaching staff understood that. Here it is still important obviously like. Academics still are important. They still they still stress that, but football is the big thing down here. Not only on the team, but LSU football is really like it's life.
The biggest thing going for the for the people in the area, what not? You know so it's really takes it like a whole another level where it feels like it feels like this is probably as close as you can get to be in the pros without being in the pros.
What is it like playing for Coach O?
He's awesome, now he's you know he's no different than you see on TV, he's always bringing a ton of energy. And you definitely don't want to get him mad or else he's going to get out for you, but he's great he brings energy day in and day out.
Do you have a favorite teammate from your time at Harvard or LSU?
Yeah, I'm trying to think down here at LSU. Yeah, I really like all the guys I'm playing with all of the lineman. I think we're going to be good group this year our left guard that plays next me Ed Ingram. He's really good player so hopefully he'll be able to come back and be a top round draft pick next year. But really, I've had so many great teammates over the years. Between LSU and Harvard, all the way back to high school you know it's almost impossible for me to even think through everybody that I play with at this point.
What is your goals for after graduation?
Yeah, I mean you know my biggest my thing is going to chase right now is my is my dream of football so yeah, right now my goals are to have a great season this upcoming year. And then playing in NFL and see how far how far football can take me, you know.
I’ll do everything I can to make sure that works out and if not, hopefully I'll have a decent thing to fall back on coming from Harvard and I'll be having my MBA so you will see if I have to cross that bridge, but you know right now I'm really focused on football.
What do you think you would be doing 10 years from now after your long NFL career?
I don't even know. I’ll figure it out. Hopefully I'll be able to start my own some sort of business which if I think of an idea of what I'll be able to do it, but I like the idea of kind of being your own boss if I'm fortunate to be in a situation where I could do that stuff with someone I'd like to pursue.
How have you been able to build chemistry with your fellow offensive lineman?
Yeah, I'm not going to lie. It was difficult at first. Coming down here, you know, I didn't really know anyone coming down here. I came in June 1st last year. Kind of when it was still really in the heat of everything going on with the pandemic.
So yeah, I didn't know too many people, you know, but you kind of build that chemistry through workouts and through practice. Fortunate enough that that always seems to kind of build into off the field relationships too.
So that it is in and I said it's very important part of a team. I think it is gods being able to get to not only get along but like enjoy each other and be willing to fight for one another.
What would you tell a current college guy going through the transfer process now?
My best advice that is if you're on the fence is sometimes you gotta bet on yourself. If you think that you're good enough to play at this place and you got about yourself and go prove it.
Yeah, you really do gotta take a leap of faith and sometimes in order to get to that next level of where you want to be, you gotta get a little uncomfortable and step out of your comfort zone and put yourself in a position where your kind of gotta prove yourself all over again.