Position Settled?

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- For Ashton Shumpert, there is no debate.

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A four-star prospect, Shumpert has had no shortage of interest from prospective schools vying for his signature. The only question is what position he'll ultimately play in college: running back or defensive back.

Some schools have even discussed linebacker as a possibility. But this week, with Mississippi holding two-a-days in preparation for the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Classic on Saturday, Shumpert is being tried strictly in the offensive backfield.

"Most schools I talk to talk about me playing running back," Shumpert said. "I'm trying to play against some more talent this week and see how I match up against some better talent. Basically, we came here to make a statement. We haven't won in a while."

Mississippi has lost three straight in the series. The team will call on a stable of running backs featuring Shumpert and four-star prospect Kailo Moore of Rosedale, Miss., to reverse the trend.

The duo combined for over 3,000 yards rushing this season, with Shumpert rushing for 1,796 yards and 25 touchdowns for Itawamba Agricultural High School. He averaged 163.3 yards per game.

"It's going to be dangerous," Moore said. "If I don't get it, he's going to get it. If he don't get it, I'm going to get it. The defense is going to be confused. Both of us are real good backs. We're going to be hard to stop."

"Kailo's got the speed, and I've got the power," Shumpert said. "I bring the power and quickness. I've got great eyes."

Moore said, as he sees it, Shumpert is a running back.

Ashton Shumpert
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"I know a lot of colleges have been recruiting him as a safety," he said. "From how he was looking in the backfield (Tuesday morning), I'd stick to recruiting him as a running back. He looked real good today."

Each of his top schools is recruiting him as a running back.

Shumpert said Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Georgia, Memphis and Oklahoma State are the schools he's hearing from, with Ole Miss and Mississippi State showing the most interest.

"I'd say my two in-state schools, Ole Miss and Mississippi State," he said. "Both of them are close to home, and I've got a good relationship with both the coaching staffs."

Immediate playing time is going to play a role in which school he chooses. And yes, he's thinking offense.

"Of course, you've got to work hard wherever you go to get the spot to start, but they say (playing time) is there," he said. "Just got to work for it."

Shumpert has visited Ole Miss a number of times over the last year, including camp stops in the summer and unofficials for game-day weekends. Shumpert was in Oxford for the Egg Bowl, a 41-24 win over Mississippi State.

"I feel at home when I'm down there," he said of Ole Miss. "I've done got to know the coaches pretty well. They came a long way from where they were last year. They fought for it."

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze, who led the Rebels to a 6-6 record in his first season, has kept a clear message for Shumpert, too. He wants to add him to an already impressive 2013 class of running backs, which includes four-star Mark Dodson and three-stars Peyton Barber and Eugene Brazley.

"He's just told me to come on and play running back for him," he said.

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