The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

‘All I want is a shot’: Noah Shannon hopes to achieve NFL dreams

Despite losing his final season due to a sports wagering investigation, the former Iowa standout defensive lineman still wants to prove he can compete at the next level.
Ayrton Breckenridge
Iowa defensive lineman Noah Shannon celebrates after tackling Nebraska running back Anthony Grant for a loss during a football game between Iowa and Nebraska at Kinnick Stadium on Friday, Nov. 25, 2022. The Huskers defeated the Hawkeyes, 24-17.

Last August, Iowa football defensive lineman Noah Shannon was gearing up for his sixth and final season in a Hawkeye uniform. Then, it all came crashing down.

Although he redshirted his first year, Shannon worked hard and slowly moved up the depth chart, eventually earning a starting spot on the lauded Iowa defense by his third year.

Following the 2022 season, Shannon had two options — enter his name into the NFL Draft or return for one final season in Iowa City. Ultimately, Shannon chose to return for his sixth season, providing a big boost for defensive coordinator Phil Parker. It seemed like the stars were aligning perfectly for Shannon and his teammates, but luck would have otherwise.

Shannon and two other members of the football program allegedly placed wagers on Iowa sporting events, which is against NCAA rules. Shannon immediately admitted his involvement, but the NCAA suspended him for the entire season. He appealed the suspension, ending his final year of gametime before it even started.

Despite the adversity he has faced in the past year, Shannon refuses to give up his lifelong dream of playing in the NFL.

Wave of emotions

Throughout the course of the investigation, Shannon said his emotions were like a rollercoaster. At times, there seemed to be a chance he could run back out of the Kinnick Stadium tunnel alongside his teammates, but, at the same time, the grim reality of losing his last collegiate season wrestled his mind.

“The reinstatement process was weird because you get your hopes up, and then they just go all the way down,” Shannon said.

Shannon cooperated by providing valuable information to investigators. He acknowledged that he made a mistake and broke the rules.

“He’s been honest throughout this whole process, very transparent and about as honest as you can be,” Ferentz said.

After his appeal was denied, Shannon’s emotions were mixed. He understood the NCAA’s decision but was frustrated that he couldn’t play.

“I don’t agree or understand the decision, especially when it comes to the severity of the punishment,” Ferentz said.

Despite losing his final year of college football, Shannon said he made peace with the decision by late October as the Hawkeyes were making a push toward the Big Ten West division title.

“Obviously it wasn’t easy, but everyone goes through tough times, and it’s about how you respond to them,” Shannon said.

Finding purpose without football

Though Shannon wasn’t allowed to play for Iowa, he could participate in practices and film sessions with the team. He said he “did everything except play on Saturdays.”

“He showed up and worked his ass off every single day,” fellow sixth-year defensive lineman Joe Evans added.

Until his suspension, Shannon had played the game of football for 18 consecutive years. Despite not being on the field, he said the time away from the game allowed him to build a closer bond with his teammates and coaches.

“Everyone made sure to go out of their way and make sure that I was OK,” Shannon said.

Shannon also credits his faith for helping him find his purpose last season.

“I really got closer in my relationship with God and Jesus Christ,” Shannon said. “During that time, I had a lot of trials and tribulations and really made sure I kept my faith.”

To recognize Shannon’s extraordinary leadership in the locker room during his suspension, the Iowa coaching staff awarded him the Coaches Appreciation Award for the defense. He was also named to the 2023 Player Council, which a group of upperclassmen players involved with team decision-making.

Back in the game

After Iowa’s loss in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1, Shannon began preparing for the NFL Draft. He spent the offseason working out at X3 Performance & Physical Therapy in Nashville.

The time away from the game also gave Shannon an opportunity to recover from a shoulder injury that he suffered during the 2022 season. He kept playing through the pain, but the injury required surgery in the offseason. Today, Shannon says his shoulder is just fine.

“My shoulder has been really great,” Shannon said. “Since I didn’t play last year, I made a full recovery.”

Iowa’s pro day activities on March 18 gave Shannon a chance to prove to NFL scouts he can compete at the next level. Shannon performed a variety of exercises such as bench presses, columns, shuttles, and basic position drills.

Despite a long and grueling journey to get to this point, Shannon feels good about his progress.

“I received good feedback from the scouts,” Shannon said. “A couple of them approached me afterwards and congratulated me and told me to keep going because they knew my story.”

Beside talking to some of the scouts attending Pro Day, Shannon has also met with a few NFL teams. He looks forward to “building more relationships.”

Even without playing his final season, Shannon’s two years starting on the defensive line will be huge for his chances moving forward, as NFL scouts can view live game action rather than just workouts.

“I’m really glad that this wasn’t last year or the year before, because I wouldn’t have had the extra film that I have now,” Shannon said.

Standing at 6-foot-1 — a small stature for a defensive lineman — Shannon is inspired by the success of former NFL star defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who is the same height. During his career, Donald made 10 Pro Bowls and won a Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams.

“Some people want to be big and tall, but leverage is everything in football,” Shannon said. “If I am able to get under you, I don’t think you have a good chance of moving me.”

‘All I want is a shot’

Throughout his football journey, Shannon’s priority has always been honesty. Now, with the biggest opportunity of his life in front of him, the focus remains the same.

“I’ve owned up to everything and admitted that I’ve made mistakes,” he said. “I’m not trying to be the victim. I’m just trying to better myself and continue to build the person I am today.”

Near the end of pro day media availability, Shannon offered one final pitch to NFL teams.

“I hope I get drafted, but if there’s any team that’s willing to give me an opportunity, I’m going to do everything I can with it,” Shannon said. “Just give me a shot.”

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About the Contributors
Brad Schultz
Brad Schultz, Sports Reporter
Brad Schultz is a sophomore at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in Sports Studies. This is first year working as a sports reporter and he has a deep passion and love for sports. Outside of the Daily Iowan, Brad is a contributor for Saturday Blitz, a college football site, with his content primarily covering Iowa and the Big Ten.
Ayrton Breckenridge
Ayrton Breckenridge, Managing Visuals Editor
Ayrton Breckenridge is the Managing Visuals Editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and cinema. This is his fourth year working for the DI.