Ashburn, Va. — Just a year removed from helping open a brand new high school program, Keegan Shackford has made a commitment to join one of the longest standing programs in college football history as the Independence High School senior has made a commitment to continue his football career at Iowa State University starting in the 2021-2022 school year.
“We connected from the get-go,” the 5-foot-10 Shackford said. “We have the same fire and drive to succeed and become the best version of Iowa State. It was meant to be.”
After his final season at Independence, Shackford will be joining an Iowa State program that put together a historic season in 2020, including appearing in and winning the school’s first ever New Year’s Six bowl game.
Led by fifth-year head coach Matt Campbell, the Division I Cyclones finished 9-3 overall, including an 8-1 mark in the Big 12, and finished their season ranked No. 9 in the country. During the season, the Cyclones were ranked as high as No. 6 in the CFP poll, their highest ranking ever.
Iowa State also defeated three ranked opponents during the season including Oklahoma, Texas, and finally Oregon, who they beat 34-17 in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl on January 2.
“Iowa State is truly a special program. They have a 5-star culture with an amazing coaching staff and amazing players,” said Shackford, who will kick for the Cyclones. “I plan to add a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the team, and I plan to help in the kicking game as it will be very competitive with the other kickers at ISU.”
While Iowa State finished a record-breaking season in 2020, Independence prepares to compete in what will surely be a memorable spring football season in Loudoun County.
In 2019, the Tigers kicked off their inaugural season with wins over Park View on November 1 and Rock Ridge on November 8. Led by head coach RJ Windows, the Tigers also snuck into the playoffs—due to some teams bowing out or being ineligible—where they fell in the first round of the VHSL Region 3B tournament in their first ever season.
“My experience at Independence has been awesome. It is a family, and we’re all super close,” said Shackford, who earned first team all-region honors in 2019. “I can’t thank Independence enough for all the love and support they have shown. We are truly building something special with an amazing principal, athletic directors, coaches, teaching staff, students, and so much more.”
With one final season ahead of him at Independence, Shackford is looking forward to taking the field this spring with his Tiger teammates one last time before heading west to Iowa State, where he hopes to stay hungry and humble.
“Football is my love and passion. When you start to see progress mentally and physically, you can’t stop. It makes you unbelievably motivated on and off the field,” Shackford said. “I love the process, and it will only make me hungrier and more humble.”