Athlete Ashton Shumpert (Fulton, Miss./Itawamba Agricultural High School), who came in at No. 12 on the “Top 20 Ole Miss Targets” was down to Ole Miss, Georgia, and Mississippi State as his recruitment winded down. Yesterday, after a long talk with the Ole Miss coaching staff, Shumpert decided that he will take his talents to Starkville and sign with the Bulldogs on Feb. 6. Despite my displeasure with his choice, he played the situation well beyond his years.
In an age of self-promotion and coin flips (looking at you Ka’Lial Glaud), Shumpert handled his recruitment the absolute right way. Unlike Bryce Brown who had his own recruiting website with a $9.99 monthly subscription, Shumpert kept to himself about his recruitment throughout the process. He did not lead any fanbases on and any speculation that he was “leaning” somewhere, was all in the heads of the fans. His day-to-day thought processes on where he was going to go to college were kept to himself, a rarity in today’s age.
As well all know, an incredible amount of money is put into the recruiting process: gas, hotels, plane rides, letters, and visits. It adds up. These coaching staffs invest a lot of time, money, and emotions into each player. While some players like Tim Tebow, who called Mike Shula to inform him that he was going to sign with Florida instead of Alabama, do the right thing and inform the other schools of their decision, many do not. Before he committed, Shumpert called the Ole Miss coaching staff to tell them of his intentions. A classy move that might go unnoticed as time goes on.
The final move that impressed me about Shumpert is the way that he declared. There was no ESPN, no high school ceremony, no Twitter teases, and no pet adoptions (see Isaiah Crowell). He simply called the Mississippi State coaching staff and told them that he intended to sign with their school. The humility exhibited by Shumpert is impressive and I have gained a tremendous amount of respect for him as a young man. I have no other choice but to wish him the best of luck as a football player, 364 days a year that is.