Shumpert still has high expectations

Former Itawamba AHS standout Ashton Shumpert started five games in the backfield for the Bulldogs this past fall. (AP Photo/L.G Patterson)

Former Itawamba AHS standout Ashton Shumpert started five games in the backfield for the Bulldogs this past fall. (AP Photo/L.G Patterson)

Expectations were high for Ashton Shumpert when he signed with Mississippi State in 2013.

Shumpert was a four-star running back and the Mississippi Gatorade Player of the Year out of Itawamba AHS.

The 6-foot-2, 218-pounder played immediately upon arriving in Starkville and has played in integral part of the Bulldogs’ rushing attack the past three seasons.

“I really didn’t pay attention to how many stars I had,” Shumpert said. “I know I had high expectations for myself then and I’d say I have higher ones now. I just wake up every day and try to work hard.”

Naturally a recruit of Shumpert’s caliber coming out of high school drew considerable interest. He picked up offers from the likes of Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt but has been elated with his decision to sign with the Bulldogs.

“Happy is an understatement,” Shumpert said. “I love it here.”

In high school, Shumpert carried the load for the Indians by chewing up 1,796 yards and 25 touchdowns as a senior en route to being named the Daily Journal Offensive Player of the Year.

Shumpert started to develop his skill set to becoming an all-around back once he reached college.

“I’ve developed fully,” Shumpert said. “I’m still developing. I’ve worked on my pass blocking, gotten smarter and can see defenses before the ball is snapped.”

Shumpert has seen action in 36 career games including five starts in the backfield. He has rushed 152 times for 692 yards and six touchdowns while also hauling in 21 passes for 158 yards.

As a junior this past fall, Shumpert was MSU’s third leading rusher with 228 yards and a touchdown on 59 carries behind the Bulldogs’ inexperienced offensive line. He also added 14 catches for 118 yards through the passing game.

“It was our first time playing together so I think it went pretty well,” Shumpert said. “We will continue to progress as we continue to grow as a team.”

Shumpert’s contributions during his career have not been limited to only the backfield. He has also been an active participant on State’s special teams units as well on the kickoff, kickoff return, punt and punt return teams.

Shumpert has made nine career tackles and forced a fumble in his various roles on special teams.

“It’s all a part of football,” Shumpert said. “Some people don’t like (special teams) but I love it. It’s part of the game too.”

I have covered Mississippi State in some capacity since 2004 and joined the Daily Journal staff in 2013. I enjoy short walks on the beach, performing concerts in my car and watching professional wrestling.

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