MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – As a redshirt senior, Shannon “Beanie” Bishop Jr. is preparing for his sixth season of college football. West Virginia is the third, and final, stop on Bishop’s collegiate journey.

A two-star recruit out of Pleasure Ridge Park High School in Louisville, Kentucky, Bishop felt he was under-recruited. He received just three Division I offers, and only one from an FBS program. That program was Western Kentucky, the home-state school located roughly two hours away.

Bishop followed his cousin and played for the Hilltoppers for four seasons. He became an All-Conference USA First Team defensive back, and an all-conference-worthy kickoff returner in 2021.

“I feel like I had the ability to play Power 5 football, and take the next step, and show that I belong in the Power 5 conference,” Bishop said Tuesday.

The play-making defensive back earned a spot on a Power 5 team, joining Minnesota in the Big Ten. In 13 games, Bishop tallied 29 tackles, one sack, and a pass breakup. However, he was not part of PJ Fleck’s plans in the return game. Nor was he overly keen on rowing the boat, as the Golden Gophers say.

Bishop entered the transfer portal in February and took his time making his decision. He ultimately landed on West Virginia, announcing his latest move on April 12.

“[I] just wanted a bigger role and to be able to have the ability to make more plays on the passing game, and stuff like that,” said Bishop. “The Big 12 is more of a passing league, and I wanted to be able to showcase my abilities on defense and in the return game.”

Bishop is in contention to be one of West Virginia’s starting cornerbacks this fall.

That’s part of the on-field backstory of Shannon “Beanie” Bishop Jr. But that’s not Bishop’s only story to tell. How about the nickname that he goes by?

Where did it come from?

“I just got it from my [godmother],” said Bishop. “She was saying, ‘My beanie baby,’ and it kind of stuck. That name came like as soon as I was born, like the name Beanie came and it stuck.”

Bishop has been called Beanie for so long that most of his teammates don’t realize that’s not his real name.

“Even while I was at my former schools, a lot of guys didn’t even think, [they were] like ‘Oh yeah, Beanie’s his real name,'” Bishop said with a smile. “Guys don’t ask, I don’t tell them.”

Beanie Babies were one of the most popular collectible items of the 1990s, and some are still very valuable to this day.

Beanie Bishop, an “alpha” according to Neal Brown, could quickly turn into one of the most popular players on the WVU defense, and be one of the most valuable players on the team if he can impact the game the way Brown and co. anticipate on both defense and special teams.