By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
ON TV: ABC – WTVA, noon
MONTGOMERY, Ala – This weekend isn’t all fun and games to Ashton Shumpert.
The Itawamba AHS 4-star recruit hasn’t committed, or even narrowed down his list of 10 scholarship offers and don’t expect him to today.
Shumpert and the Mississippi All-Stars’ focus is to end Alabama’s win streak in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic.
“Some people try to say they’re not beatable this year because they’ve got some real good players,” said Shumpert. “But I believe we can beat them.”
The 26th annual game is scheduled for a 12:07 p.m. kickoff today at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl.
Alabama has won four straight in the series and 12 of the last 14.
There are again plenty of stars and big-time recruits on Alabama’s side.
One of those is Muscle Shoals’ defensive lineman Dee Liner, the nation’s No. 2 strong side defensive end, behind only Robert Nkemdiche, the country’s top overall recruit.
Mississippi head coach Junior Graham joked this week about vetoing assistant coach Jamie Mitchell’s plan to throw the ball 40 times during the game. Graham has seen plenty of Shumpert to assure he’ll be a big part of the effort to end Alabama’s streak.
“Shumpert is probably stating in the backfield, driving the bus, you name it,” Graham said. “That guy, he’s gonna play. We feel good about our running backs. Ashton may have separated from the rest of them.”
The Mississippi backfield is loaded. It also features the state’s new single-season touchdown record holder in Noxubee’s Darrell Robinson, speedy Charleston back Kameron Myers and West Bolivar’s Kailo Moore, a shaky Mississippi State verbal.
Mississippi State has another verbal in Mississippi’s defensive side, Houston defensive end Chris Jones. Jones has impressed coaches and players all week. The 6-foot-7, 280-pounder graced the front page of ESPN’s recruiting site on Friday.
Ole Miss can watch its future Rebels as well, including Eupora receiver Derrick Jones and Alabama linebacker Rashawn Smith of Florence.
“They are extremely focused. When we have meetings, they’re very receptive. We’re treating them more like a team of ours back home,” Graham said. “We’re coaching them hard. They want to win.”