EDMOND – A fishing pole was always in the trunk of Courtney Shettron’s car.
Anytime she had to go to the grocery store and had son Talyn, Courtney would drive to a neighborhood pond and drop him off. He would always be there when she got back an hour or so later with groceries. Talyn never missed an opportunity to fish with that pole.
The star junior wide receiver at Edmond Santa Fe High School, who is one of the best high school football players in America, wants to live a pretty simple life.
He is laid back and keeps to himself. He loves fishing and time in the outdoors. He excels on the football field and enjoys perfecting his craft.
When they moved to Oklahoma City, they wanted to start a family. Trevor and Courtney tried to have biological children, but "God made it very clear to us we were supposed to adopt,” Courtney said.
The process began. Trevor and Courtney filled out paperwork with the Deaconess Adoption Agency and sold their home to help pay for an adoption, moving into an apartment in the meantime.
The first few possible adoptions fell through. Trevor and Courtney were in the middle of moving into a new home when the agency called and wanted to interview them again.
During the process, Trevor and Courtney were interviewed separately and both asked a specific question: Would you be interested in adopting two babies even if they weren’t related?
Family is also one of his priorities. Talyn’s best friend since birth has been his older brother, Tabry. Separated by only six months, they’ve done everything together. Been in the same classes. On the same sports teams. Had the same friend groups.
Football appears easy for Talyn. He’s a vigorous receiver who recently committed to Oklahoma. But Talyn’s unique family path shaped him. Talyn, 16, and Tabry, 17, are adopted. So is their 8-year-old brother, Trace. They’re Black. Their parents, Trevor and Courtney, are white.
They’ve often dealt with strange looks, some snide comments and more.
Yet those same challenges helped Talyn grow.
“I was kind of insecure about it when I was younger,” Talyn said. “But now that I’m older, I kind of embrace it. I don’t really care now.”
Trevor and Courtney Shettron always wanted children.
Before moving to Oklahoma in 1997, they lived in southeastern Colorado. Trevor went to college in Colorado Springs and played football at Colorado College while Courtney was an hour north in Denver.
“We both thought it was such a strange question,” Courtney said. “Come to find out there was a reason behind that.”
Trevor and Courtney were approved to adopt Tabry, and they picked him up within hours of closing on their new home.
At 3 p.m., they got the keys. At 5, they brought home their first child.
While picking up Tabry, the adoption agency let the Shettrons know a woman had chosen them to adopt her son, who was being born within a week. The agency wanted to know whether Trevor and Courtney were ready, so they went home and prayed about it that weekend but decided they were all in.
That boy was Talyn. The Shettrons met Talyn’s birth mom on Wednesday, and he was born on Thursday. Courtney was in the room for Talyn’s birth.
Talyn’s birth mom chose Trevor and Courtney because she wanted her son to have a Black sibling. All of the questions during the interview process started to make sense.
It only took one week, but the Shettrons grew from a family of two to four.
The questions soon became repetitive.
What were two white parents doing with two Black children?
But there weren't only questions. There were snide comments. Stares. Even borderline guilt that the Shettrons felt.
“In the beginning, you feel obligated to explain,” Trevor said. “Or to tell people the story.”
The looks came everywhere. The gas station, grocery store, going out to eat. Add in the fact they had a 6-month-old and a newborn, and people did double takes or stared even longer.
To the Shettrons, it took a while to grasp that would be the reality for a while. To friends and family, it wouldn’t make a difference. That was their family.
To strangers, it wouldn’t come so easy.
For Talyn, it wasn’t until second or third grade when he started noticing he was different than some of his friends. He started to wonder why his Black friends had Black parents and why his were white. There were times where Talyn wouldn’t want his friends to see him with Trevor and Courtney. Not because he didn’t love them; they were his family. He just didn’t want to be different.
Every time Talyn and Tabry, who are both juniors now, went to a higher grade, there were often new questions.
Yet at the end of the day, the brothers, who often get confused as twins, always had each other.
Those questions helped grow their bond. As they got older, they embraced each other and the fact they were unique, not different, from other kids around them.
“It was very helpful to have someone like (Tabry) in my corner,” Talyn said.
As they got more and more into sports, they met other kids who had one Black parent and one white parent. Talyn and Tabry could connect with those friends in different ways, too.
Through the adoption agency, the Shettrons developed a friend group with other families who adopted.
The agency would help these families find each other. It would show the adopted kids that there were others like them, that they weren’t on an island.
For Talyn and Tabry, they are now examples for younger kids struggling like they did. Talyn said he has met a bunch of younger adopted kids who have numerous questions, and Talyn takes the time to answer all of them.
“There are some great things to come out of it,” Talyn said. “You know, other kids seeing it and being able to come up to me and talk about it.”
The looks don’t bother Talyn anymore. Nor do the questions. He embraces being unique.
The Shettrons like to have fun with it now. Sometimes on recruiting visits, people will come up to Trevor and ask whether he’s Talyn’s coach, which always gets a good laugh from the family.
For Talyn, he doesn’t see color. He sees his mom and dad.
“Especially with the (platform) I have, you know, people knowing who I am,” Talyn said, “I think I can be a great role model for kids.”
The phone wouldn’t stop buzzing.
First it was a phone call, then a dozen text messages and even more Twitter notifications. Talyn was a popular person, yet he wanted none of the attention.
He received his first Division-I college football offer shortly after his freshman season, and his stock only rose after that. Soon he had colleges from every corner of the country sending him mail and trying to recruit him.
Even more joined in this summer, after ESPN ranked Talyn as the nation’s No. 12 overall prospect and top wide receiver.
Yet the constant phone calls, texts, tweets and mail was fairly unwanted.
“(The attention) was good at first, but on Sept. 1, it was just overwhelming,” Talyn said. “I was ready to get it over with.”
After games, his phone would have close to 100 messages from coaches and recruiters congratulating him.
Talyn knew he wanted to commit to OU from the moment he received an offer from the Sooners. He was also fond of Oklahoma State and had developed a strong relationship with offensive coordinator Kasey Dunn, but Norman is where Talyn wanted to be.
He committed on Oct. 24, and now he gets to focus on his next goal: trying to help Edmond Santa Fe, which hosts district rival Edmond North in the first round of the Class 6A-I playoffs at 7 p.m. Friday, win a gold ball and enjoy the rest of his high school career.
“He’s a great young man,” Edmond Santa Fe coach Kyle White said. “He’s extremely humble, works hard every day and has a smile on his face. I couldn’t ask for a better kid to get to coach on a daily basis.”
Talyn Shettron, the football star, is arguably the country’s best receiver.
But Talyn Shettron, the person, is the opposite of the beast on the football field.
His play is loud. His routes are sharp. It seems as if his gloves have glue and his speed hardly can be matched.
Yet off the field, Talyn keeps to himself.
He’s always in pursuit of snagging another fish. He isn’t on Twitter much, instead giving control of his account to his parents at least through the duration of the playoffs, if not longer.
But family is everything for Talyn.
“I just see them as my parents,” Talyn said. “Nothing else matters anymore. We’re a family.”