His footspeed was the asset he brought that put him on the field early in his career, but he has spent this offseason and spring working to be a more complete wide receiver – and a downfield threat.
"I'm just trying to take everything in and show that I can do that when we play other teams and let them know I'm a threat and that I'm not one-dimensional and that I can do all three things, block, run and catch," Shelton said. "I think that is the big thing I have been focusing on this offseason."
Last season, Shelton's carries (21) at wide receiver far outnumbered his receptions (four). The four receptions only amounted six yards, but he had two rushing touchdowns and still sees that he gained a lot by getting on the field early in his career.
"It helped a lot and now coming up here, things are starting to slow down here tremendously," he said. "That's just knowing what you're doing and less thinking about what you're doing.
"I'm just playing fast."
With things slowing down and now working more at the inside wide receiver spots than the outside, he has been consistently impressed coach Mark Dantonio.
"R.J. Shelton has moved forward," he said. "I mean, there's a lot of guys who have moved forward. But R.J.'s a guy that makes plays out there every scrimmage and every practice."
Shelton had four receptions for 132 yards and a 75-yard touchdown in last Friday's second spring scrimmage.
But while the numbers are nice, it is the way the concepts and the offense have been "coming on easy" this spring that has been welcome to Shelton.
"From last year, I was still learning and now I just know everything," Shelton said. "Obviously, I'm still learning, but all the concepts of the routes, concepts of the plays.
"The sky is the limit for me and I'm just trying to make the most of my opportunities."