By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
FULTON – Toby Collums has a personnel matter to handle before spring practice begins later this month.
A lot of other football coaches in Northeast Mississippi would love to be in the Itawamba AHS head coach’s situation – figuring out where to play talented newcomer Ashton Shumpert.
The highly-recruited 6-foot-1, 205-pound player transferred back to IAHS after playing two seasons for Tupelo. He played for the Indians, under former coach Jamie Mitchell, his freshman season.
“He will wear a bunch of hats for us,” Collums said. “The toughest decision is trying to decide how many places you can play him.
“That’s a good problem to have.”
Shumpert, a two-time Daily Journal All-Area team selection, rushed for 929 yards and scored eight touchdowns as a tailback/quarterback last season for the Golden Wave despite missing three games with a leg injury.
A versatile athlete, look for Shumpert to do it all for the Indians – wildcat quarterback, running back, wide receiver, defensive back, kick returner.
“I’m looking forward to the spring to see what we can do with him,” Collums said. “We’ll move him around. I know the more he touches the ball the better we are … and I haven’t seen Ashton play.
“It’s not often, maybe never, that you get an opportunity to coach a player like that.”
Collums, whose first IAHS team finished 7-4 last season, including a first-round state playoffs game, is looking to replace nine starters, four on offense and five on defense.
Two of his offensive stars return in quarterback Tyler Dossett, who started 10 of 11 games, and running back Charles Moore, who rushed for 1,300 yards.
“We need to indentify some leaders on both sides of the ball,” Collums said. “We didn’t lose a lot of guys, but the ones we did will be missed.”
IAHS kicks off spring practice April 23 and will play a scrimmage game May 11 in Fulton against Hamilton, Ala.