By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
Ashton Shumpert made his college choice on Monday without any fanfare.
Itawamba AHS’ 4-star athlete committed to Mississippi State. He confirmed his commitment to the Daily Journal via text.
“I knew when he decided, it would be without a lot of fanfare,” Itawamba AHS coach Toby Collums said. “That’s kind of how it happened. He just quietly goes about his business. He’s handled the process very well. We’re proud of him.”
Recruits can make it official on national signing day, Feb. 6. Shumpert’s offers came from all over; Vanderbilt, Georgia, Purdue, Alabama, Alcorn State, Oklahoma State, Southern Miss and Memphis.
Shumpert was unavailable for comment on Monday.
“I didn’t get to speak with him long. He was with his family. I just told him me and my family are happy for him,” Collums said. “I’ll be supportive no matter what he does. If he’s at MSU, we’ll be ringing cowbells.”
Fellow Mississippi State commit, Houston defensive end Chris Jones, said he was surprised but happy about Shumpert’s choice. The two played together at the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic.
“He didn’t exactly say where he was going but I thought he was kind of leaning toward Ole Miss,” Jones said. “He’ll be a part of a winning program and will be a big part of it. He’s explosive. He’s going to get after it the whole game.”
The 6-foot-1, 210-pound running back/safety was named Daily Journal Offensive Player of the Year after posting 1,796 yards on 153 carries and 25 touchdowns for the Indians (12-1). He missed the first three games of the season and shared the backfield with 1,400-yard back Charles Moore. He also had a team-second 5.8 tackles per game.
narrowing it down
He narrowed his 10-offer sheet down to Mississippi State and Ole Miss on Dec. 20, with Vanderbilt and Georgia close by.
Shumpert was named Gatorade Mississippi Player of the Year, Division 1-4A Player of the Year and Mississippi Association of Coaches First Team All-State.
“It didn’t shock me. I knew he wanted to stay in-state,” Collums said. “I commend him, because a lot of our better athletes leave the state. To see him stay is great.”
As the only tailback of MSU’s 2013 commitment class, Shumpert should be able to compete for playing time by the 2014 season. Starter LaDarius Perkins has one more year, and two years behind him are Josh Robinson and Derrick Milton. Sophomore Nick Griffin is recovering from his second ACL injury.
Contributing: Brad Locke