Actions speak louder than his words

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ELDON - Levi Shinn plays a big role on the Eldon football team, mostly because he never leaves the field.

"I'm the running back, safety, punt returner, punter, and kicker," Shinn said.

This may not be the typical workload for a high school football player, but Shinn embraces the challenge. 

"I've gotten used to it," Shinn said. "I like it."

In fact, the hardest thing for Shinn to do is talk.

"It's like pulling teeth to get him to say a word," defensive coordinator Tim Otto said. "He's an extremely quiet kid. He's not gonna hoop and holler and be the rah-rah guy."

Senior wide receiver Owen Tamm said even though Shinn is quiet, he does not shy away from making his presence known on Friday nights.

"On the field, he leads by example," Tamm said. "Once we get further into the game, he starts getting more vocal."

Although Shinn is very quiet, both Tamm and Otto said Shinn's approach to life and the game of football is a strong example for others to follow. 

"Off the field, he's a great example," Tamm said. "He's always doing the right things and always encouraging people to do the right things."

"I think it's a thing for not just other kids in the area but other kids in the youth program," Otto said. "There's kids in our middle school program that see him and see what he does off the field, and he's a good role model for them. That just helps develop our program and kind of the qualities and characteristics we want our kids to have."

Shinn attends Ninth Street Christian Church in Eldon on Wednesdays and Sundays, and Shinn said his humility comes from his religious devotion.

"Attention to detail, I learned what a brotherhood is, and I learned that without my teammates none of my accomplishments would exist," Shinn said. "God has given me amazing athletic talent, and I have to give him all the glory."

Defensive line and tight ends coach Cody Sneed said it's very difficult for a player at the high school level to master one position let alone five or six.

"We have guys that play one position and they struggle and mess up several times throughout a game and throughout a season," Sneed said. "So having an individual that plays multiple positions, you have to memorize plays for each of those positions and know where everyone is at on the field. It's definitely quite a weight on his shoulders."

Sneed and Otto said Shinn's selfless attitude allows him to handle all the responsibilities.

"This whole group of seniors are definitely a close-knit group," Sneed said. "You can tell that he's working there with his teammates, not just trying to be an individual but a team player."

"He works extremely hard in the weight room," Otto said. "He doesn't miss any of the offseason workouts we have. He does things on his own time with kicking in the winter and just catching passes and catching punts off the jugs machine. Just doing things on his own time that make a big difference on Friday nights."

Tamm and Shinn have developed a great friendship ever since they played soccer together when they were younger. Tamm said although Shinn plays many different positions, he isn't amazed at Shinn's performance because he's simply used to it.

"I know he likes all the pressure and likes being involved and all, but I don't really notice it because he's just always there," Tamm said.

Shinn is always there, and the Eldon Mustangs wouldn't have him any other way.