By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
Ashton Shumpert had it in the back of his mind for a few days. Monday, it came out – the Itawamba AHS 4-star running back committed to Mississippi State.
The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Daily Journal Offensive Player of the Year rushed for 1,796 yards on 153 carries and 25 touchdowns for the Indians this season.
“They’ve got potential to be great,” Shumpert said of his decision. “They need some help in some areas and I’m hoping to go in and be a part of that.”
MSU running backs coach Greg Knox recruited Shumpert, also the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year. Shumpert called Knox to alert him.
“I’ve been thinking about it for a long time and decided to go ahead,” Shumpert said. “They need help at running back. They’re a little short at the position. I got to know Coach Knox.”
The MSU backfield will already feature a senior in LaDarius Perkins, junior Nick Griffin and sophomores Josh Robinson and Derek Milton. Griffin is recovering from his second ACL surgery.
Shumpert said he chose to play in Starkville because he felt at home.
“You have to work for your spot. l feel comfortable with it,” he said. “You get a homey feeling on campus and with the team. It’s got a family-type atmosphere. I’m 100 percent.”
Shumpert played safety in high school and has said he has no problem switching to defense. But he’s the Bulldogs’ only tailback commitment for 2013.
He’s been on campus several times but has yet to take his official visit. That is scheduled for Jan. 18.
Shumpert’s dad first posted the news on Facebook Monday and word traveled fast in the afternoon. Shumpert said his family didn’t push him to any particular school.
“I don’t think they were a fan of any college team,” he said. “I guess they have someone to be a fan of now.”