By Zach Adams
The Itawamba County Times
With the 2012 football season now over for Itawamba AHS star running back and safety Ashton Shumpert, the awards are beginning to pour in.
After being named the 1-4A Player of the Year by the division’s coaches earlier in the week, last Thursday the 4-star recruit joined an impressive fraternity of athletes when he was named the Gatorade Mississippi Player of the Year, the first from Itawamba County.
“I’m really happy about (the award),” Shumpert said. “I didn’t really think I was going to get it because I didn’t play the whole season, but fortunately I did and it was a really big deal that I was the first player from Itawamba to get it. I was really thankful.”
Via a press release from the company, Shumpert was chosen because of a combination of his gridiron exploits, 1,796 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns, as well as his classroom performance and community service that includes work with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
“We are extremely proud for Ashton because this is a prestigious honor,” Itawamba AHS coach Toby Collums said. “Ashton is very deserving of this award, not only because of his on-the-field achievements, but also the character and leadership he displays.”
Shumpert, who also contributed 64 tackles and 2 interceptions from his safety position, helped lead the Indians to a 12-1 record and berth in the 4A state quarter finals.
In conjunction with USA TODAY High School Sports, Gatorade annually chooses one football player from each state and the District of Columbia for the award. Shumpert joins Anthony Alford (2011-12, Petal High School), Dylan Favre (2009-10, St. Stanislaus College), Tyler Russell (2008-09, Meridian High School) and Charles Mitchell (2007-08, Clarksdale) as former Mississippi winners.
Countdown to Signing Day
With February and Signing Day right around the corner, Shumpert is one of the most highly prized recruits on many coaches wish lists.
As for what the prospect will be doing until then, he seems to be focused on getting ready for the big day.
“I’ll be working out and getting ready for track season,” Shumpert said. “I’ll also probably start taking my official visits.”