Brady Shannon has been in the service of two masters for most of his athletic career.
He played three sports throughout high school during his time at Ursuline – football, baseball and basketball, eventually developing into a Division I prospect in both baseball and football.
So Shannon had a choice. He had to decide who he wanted to pursue at the next level. He had multiple offers from different schools in both sports, but despite his love and passion for football, Shannon chose to go to Central Florida to play baseball.
“I was really interested in baseball at the time and my goal was to play college baseball at UCF,” Shannon said. “I built a really great relationship with the coaching staff and my goal was to play baseball in the South for a big school, and UCF was one of those schools that reached out.”
But during his freshman year and the start of his second season with the Golden Knights, there was always that nagging thought in the back of his mind.
“I really missed playing football,” Shannon said. “I’ve wanted to play it since my last game at Ursuline.”
So, at the end of UCF’s fall baseball season, Shannon put his name in the NCAA’s transfer portal in early December — not as a baseball transfer, but as a football transfer.
One school immediately reached out to Shannon and stayed in touch — Youngstown State. The Penguins had recruited Shannon for football when he was at Ursuline, so they had that prior connection with him.
Once that happened, it just made sense to Shannon. Everything fell into place and he announced his commitment on Dec. 9 to come home to the Mahoning Valley and transfer to YSU to return to football.
“There are other schools that have tapped into the football side of things. Also, there are quite a few baseball schools that have contacted me about wanting to play baseball as well,” Shannon said. “(YSU) has shown the most interest of anyone. Then when I got home I got to talk to the staff and everything and they gave me a good opportunity to come in and play the sport I love.”
It was “hard” for Shannon on Saturdays in the fall. He was sitting on his UCF dorm couch watching college football, feeling like he was capable of being there on the field.
“I can definitely be there. That made me miss her even more,” Shannon said. “I just thought the time was right for me to make this decision, for myself and my family. Since I was still young and had a lot of time left in my college career, I thought it was a good time and I obviously found a really good fit for where I found myself.”
That being said, Shannon has no worries about his time at UCF.
He earned significant playing time during his freshman season, playing in 25 games and starting nine. Shannon finished the 2023 spring season with a .149 average, 5 RBIs and two home runs in 47 at bats. One of his hosts ended up being the winner for the Golden Knights against Siena earlier in the season.
“Obviously, things don’t always go according to plan,” Shannon said. “There will always be bumps in the road that are unexpected, and I feel like things happen for a reason. I definitely don’t regret anything I’ve done so far in my college career. I definitely feel like I had a great time there and built great relationships with coaches and players. I’m really happy with the decision I made after high school, but obviously there was a mindset shift while I was there and I wanted to get back into football because I missed it a lot.”
Although Shannon hasn’t played in a competitive football game since leading Ursuline to the Division IV state championship game on Dec. 3, 2021, he’s confident he’ll be able to pick up where he left off with football once he gets to YSU.
“I really believe in my ability in what I can do on the football field and the baseball field,” Shannon said. “Some people may doubt and I’ve often been asked that question, ‘can you still do it?'” But honestly, I know my abilities and I’ll be able to get my feet wet with a spring ball and get back into the swing of things . … I know I can still do this and I wouldn’t have made this decision if I didn’t think I could still do it.”
The physical tools and attributes that made him a 3-star football prospect coming out of high school are still there.
Plus, Shannon had no shortage of individual accomplishments as a quarterback at Ursuline. In the 2021 season, he set the school records for passing yards and a career touchdown.
“I think Brady is the complete package. He has the ability to run the ball very well — he’s really taken a big step as far as that — and he’s shown a lot of confidence in his ability to run,” Ursuline football coach Dan Reardon told the Tribune Chronicle and Vindicator during 2021. season. “His arm strength is off the charts; he has the ability to make any throw.
With current YSU starting quarterback Mitch Davidson ineligible following his record-breaking final season last fall, the Penguins’ starting quarterback job is wide open heading into the upcoming season.
Springfield product Beau Brungard saw playing time as YSU’s backup quarterback this fall. So Shannon, Brungard, freshmen Bryce Schodelmeier and Vinny Balone, redshirt freshman Max Blanc and high school recruit Collin Siebert, who signed with the Penguins on Wednesday, will all spend the spring, summer and fall offseason fighting to be the QB1 at YSU for the Penguins 2024 season opener at Villanova on Aug. 29.
“It’s exciting. I don’t know Mitch personally, but he obviously set a good example of what a quarterback looks like at YSU,” Shannon said. “I know I’m a competitor. I’m sure all the other guys in the quarterback room are competitors, too. But for me it’s all about the team so it’s going to come down to whoever helps the team the most I’m really excited to go out there and just play again and learn the offense and get to know the team and build a relationship with the guys and the coaching staff. Also, it’s going to be a lot of fun to be back in Youngstown.”