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The Mustangs appear to be starting a tradition of producing standout small college defenders. During the past three seasons, the school has produced the Buck Buchanan Award winner, given to the top defensive player in the NCAA Division 1-AA ranks. The award is named for Junious "Buck" Buchanan, the NAIA All-American and Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive lineman who played for Grambling State University from 1959 through 1962.
Linebacker Jordan Beck captured the award in 2004 and defensive end Chris Gocong won it in 2005, making Cal Poly the first school to win back-to-back Buchanan Awards since linebacker Dexter Coakley of Appalachian State (1995-96) earned the award in consecutive seasons. With Shotwell garnering 2006 accolades, the school now boasts the most recipients in the history of that award.
A member of the National Honor Society at Dos Pueblos High School, Shotwell earned Channel League Defensive MVP, All-CIF-Southern Section Division IV, All-Santa Barbara County and Los Angeles Times' All-Section Team honors as a linebacker and running back. He played in Santa Barbara County All-Star Game, earning defensive MVP honors.
As a senior, Shotwell led the Chargers to an 11-3 record and the CIF-Southern Section Division IV championship game in 2001, losing to Cal Poly teammate Matt McCormick and San Luis Obispo High. On offense, he rushed for 1,089 yards and 17 touchdowns and had 19 receptions for 227 yards his final season. He also returned eight kickoffs for 133 yards and made 138 tackles with two interceptions and forced two fumbles.
Shotwell rejected a scholarship offer to the U.S. Naval Academy before choosing to attend Cal Poly in 2002. He spent the season on the scout team while honing his musical skills, playing guitar and serving as the lead singer of a rock and roll band, Kyle Shotwell and the Void. A member of football team's bible study and Block P, he appeared in 11 games as a reserve linebacker in 2003, recording 24 tackles (13 solos) with a sack, three stops for losses and a fumble recovery.
Shotwell started nine of 11 games in 2004, lining up early in the season at middle linebacker before shifting to weak-side outside linebacker for his final eight appearances. He finished second on the team with 88 tackles (55 solos), adding four sacks and 7.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage. He also picked off two passes, caused three fumbles and recovered two others, advancing one 39 yards.
With Beck having graduated, Shotwell shifted to middle linebacker in 2005. He earned All-American and All-Great West Football Conference honors, as he set the school single-season record (also league mark) with 158 tackles (71 solos). He produced five sacks with 13.5 stops for losses. He also caused two fumbles and picked off two passes.
The Buchanan Award winner added All-American and All-Great West honors again as a senior in 2006. He totaled a team-high 122 tackles (62 solos) with seven sacks and tied for the national lead with 21 stops behind the line of scrimmage. He caused two fumbles, recovered another, deflected two passes and advanced a lateraled interception 65 yards for a touchdown.
In 46 games at Cal Poly, Shotwell started 33 times. He ranks second in school history with 392 tackles (201 solos) and 45.5 stops for losses totaling 185 yards. He finished eighth all-time with 17 sacks for minus-124 yards and deflected nine passes. He returned four interceptions for 89 yards (22.3 avg) and a touchdown, adding 39 yards on two fumble recoveries. He also caused seven fumbles.
Positives: Has a developing frame with good chest thickness, muscular arms and legs, tight abdomen and thick thighs...Fierce competitor with the quickness and range to drop back in pass coverage and the strength to come up and split double teams at the line of scrimmage...Shows above average balance, body control and agility when keeping plays in front of him...Makes all the calls and shows the field alertness and vision to easily see pre-snap movement...Despite lacking ideal height, he is stout and leveraged at the point of attack, showing the strength to stack and control blocks...Alert and very active keying and diagnosing the plays...Takes on blocks with aggression, showing the proper hand technique to prevent linemen from locking on and walling him off...Very physical when taking on the tight ends, delivering crunching hits to reroute his man away from the play...Has the foot agility and hip swerve to redirect and close from the outside...Gets a good jump on the ball due to his instincts and his pure speed highlights his range, as he consistently makes plays from sideline-to-sideline...Displays a strong hand punch and good reflexes to pick off the deflected pass...Very disruptive blitzer who powers through blocks and has the sudden burst needed to close on the quarterback...Shows the lateral agility to flow with the play, staying low in his stance to extend his arms, wrap and secure the ball carrier near the line of scrimmage...Excels in press coverage, possessing the strength to easily jam the receivers...Drops back decisively in the zone, whether using a side or a backpedal...Shows good ball anticipation skills and has developed good rip-and-swim moves to generate a quick outside blitz...Very intelligent, both on the field and in the classroom...Has rare speed for a player his size, demonstrating the range to stay with the play on deep routes...Delivers a solid hand jolt to maintain separation knifing through traffic and has an explosive closing burst to disrupt the quarterback in the pocket...Looks natural in handling the switch-offs in the zone, possessing the quickness (4.54 seconds in the 40-yard dash) of a defensive back...Could possibly shift to strong safety at the next level (if a team is concerned about his lack of ideal height)...Contributes well on special teams, showing the speed needed to get down field and break up the protection.
Negatives: Has experience at the weak-side and middle linebacker position, but does not have the ideal height or bulk to take on the more physical blockers in the professional ranks without getting washed out of the play...Has strong hands, but needs to use them better to protect himself (sometimes allows the blocker to get into his body)...Has good vision and instincts, but will anticipate and guess on a few plays, especially when having to work through a crowd...Has the frame to add more weight without it impacting his speed, but might lose some of his power base if asked to trim down for a possible move to the secondary...Good blitzer, but needs to be more consistent using his arm-under action in attempts to escape blockers.
Compares To: WILL WITHERSPOON-St. Louis...Like Witherspoon, Shotwell has experience and talent to play a variety of positions. In a Cover-2 or 3-4 alignment, he could be an effective blitzer coming from the middle, but in a classic 4-3 set-up, he might lack the bulk and size to play over the center's head. However, with his quickness and range, he could be a nice second-day draft steal as a weak-side linebacker. One of the fastest risers in the 2007 draft linebacker class, look for Shotwell to force his way into the lineup before long.
Ranks second in school history with 392 tackles, topped only by Jordan Beck (449, 2001-04)...His 45.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage rank third in Cal Poly history behind Tom Carey (63.5, 1985-88) and Chris Gocong (61.5, 2001, '02-05)...Ranks eighth on the school's all-time record list with 17 sacks...Registered at least 10 tackles in 24 games during his career...His 158 tackles in 2005 broke the old school single-season record of 135 by Beck in 2004...His four sacks vs. San Diego State in 2006 set a school single-game record at the Division 1-AA level and rank second overall to Mike Hamerick's five sacks vs. West Texas State in 1989 (Cal Poly played Division II ball that year)...His 20 tackles vs. Texas State in 2005 rank third on the school's single-game record list behind Beck's 22 vs. Eastern Washington in 2004 and 23 vs. Montana in 2003.
All-American first-team selection by The NFL Draft Report and The Sports Network, adding second-team honors from the Associated Press...All-Great West Football Conference first-team choice and Defensive Player of the Year...Named Northwest Region Linebacker of the Year by Football Gazette...Tied with Northern Arizona's Chris Hunsaker in leading the NCAA Division 1-AA ranks with an average of 1.91 stops behind the line of scrimmage per game...Ranked eighth nationally and led the team and league with 122 tackles (62 solos)... Added seven sacks for minus 48 yards and paced the Mustangs with 21 stops for losses of 80 yards...Had five quarterback pressures, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery... Deflected two passes and returned a lateraled interception 65 yards for a touchdown... Recipient of the Pat Tillman Award for his performance in the East-West Shrine Game... Anchored a Mustang defense that posted three shutouts and finished the regular season ranked sixth in the nation in total defense (248.27), fourth in sacks (3.36), third in pass defense (133.00), 10th in scoring defense (14.73), 19th in rushing defense (115.27) and fifth in tackles for lost yardage (7.64)..Had at least ten tackles in eight contests.
All-American first-team selection by Football Gazette, earning second-team honors from The Sporting News...All-Great West Football Conference first-team selection...The Buck Buchanan Award candidate shattered the school single-season record with 158 tackles (71 solos), topping the previous mark of 135 by Jordan Beck in 2004...Replaced Beck as the team's middle linebacker, starting all thirteen games...His 158 tackles were the most by a Division 1-AA player and he ranked fourth in the division with an average of 12.15 tackles per game...Registered five sacks for minus 43 yards and 13.5 stops for losses of 63 yards...Caused two fumbles and deflected three passes...Gained 5 yards on a pair of interception returns...Set a school record with at least ten tackles in his final twelve games.
Appeared in all eleven games, starting the final nine contests at weak-side outside line-backer...Filled in for Jordan Beck at middle linebacker vs. Idaho State...Finished second on the team with 88 tackles (55 solos), adding four sacks for minus 25 yards and 7.5 stops for losses of 31 yards...Caused three fumbles and recovered two others, returning one 39 yards...Deflected two passes and gained 19 yards on a pair of interceptions.
Played in all eleven games as a reserve linebacker, recording 24 tackles (13 solos) with an 8-yard sack (vs. Idaho State) and three stops for losses of 11 yards...Also recovered a fumble (vs. Humboldt State)...Had a single-season high eight tackles vs. Akron.
Redshirted as a freshman.
2007: Bothered by hamstring tightness during Pro Day agility tests in late March.
Attended Dos Pueblos (Santa Barbara, Calif.) High School, playing football for head coach Jeff Uyesaka...A member of the National Honor Society, Shotwell earned Channel League Defensive MVP, All-CIF-Southern Section Division IV, All-Santa Barbara County and Los Angeles Times' All-Section Team honors as a linebacker and running back...Played in Santa Barbara County All-Star Game, earning defensive MVP honors...As a senior, Shotwell led the Chargers to an 11-3 record and the CIF-Southern Section Division IV championship game in 2001, losing to Cal Poly teammate Matt McCormick and San Luis Obispo High...On offense, he rushed for 1,089 yards and 17 touchdowns and had 19 receptions for 227 yards his final season...Also returned eight kickoffs for 133 yards and made 138 tackles with two interceptions and forced two fumbles.
Political Science major...Plays the guitar and is the lead singer of a rock and roll band, Kyle Shotwell and the Void...Member of football team's bible study and Block P...Brother, Ryan, is a teammate and starting defensive end at Cal Poly (2005-present...Son of Cynthia and Steven Shotwell... father played football at California, Berkeley (1979-83)...Born 3/29/84 in Santa Barbara, California.