Shelton moving full speed ahead at WR

Michigan State sophomore ready to be more of a complete receiver this year after putting in work on routes, timing and more this offseason. He also is set to lead his classmates after gaining experience last year as a true freshman

When R.J. Shelton arrived on campus at Michigan State last fall, he had no idea what his freshman year would wind up holding.

Within a week of fall camp starting, he found himself playing wide receiver instead of running back. A month later, he was making his debut as a true freshman. A few months later, he was playing in the Rose Bowl.

Now, he is trying to make it two for two on Rose Bowls in his career as he says the Spartans are back to work.

“We are just going back to our roots and doing what we can do, practicing like we always do with a level head and just work to perfect our craft,” he said.

For Shelton, perfecting his craft has been the name of his offseason.

As a true freshman last season – one of only four to play for the Spartans – Shelton found himself used often on jet sweeps and plays out of the backfield instead of passes. He had 21 carries last year for 153 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but just four receptions for six yards.

After learning the wide receiver spot on the fly last year, he spent the offseason working to improve his timing with the quarterbacks, route running and knowledge of the playbook.

“I just like getting the ball in any way possible,” he said. “This year, I’m trying to run routes, get the ball in the air and make plays in space.”

He said he was always comfortable with the transition, but now, he is even more comfortable at the position. Throw in having the understanding of how quickly the game moves, he says he has put himself in position to be able to play fast all the time.

”I already know what to expect when game time comes,” he said. “It’s just off and running now with this team.”

With the experience he gained last year, he is hopeful to pass that along to his classmates who are entering their redshirt freshman seasons as they look to get on the field for the first time.

The advice he offers is simple: Just work.

”If you’re making plays and doing what you need to do, they are going to see that and give you a shot,” Shelton said. “If you are doing what you need to do on the field and off the field, you know you’re going to get that shot.”

Spartan Nation Top Stories