Elijah Shumate is the latest Don Bosco star to get heavy interest. Shumate transferred into Don Bosco Prep this past summer, after it was announced that his previous school--Paterson Catholic--was closing its doors. So far, the transition has been smooth.
"We have been doing good, working very hard, and focused," Shumate said. "Everything up to now, is hard work. We've been working hard all summer to get prepared to where we're at now. The state championship continues to be our main goal. We have to keep competing like we are the best."
The Ironmen are in the thick of their conference schedule, after winning a pair of out-of-state wins at Gilman School (MD) and St. Ignatius (OH). The wins looks impressive, but Shumate says he and his teammates have to fight for every ounce of their respective wins, in the weeks leading up to each game.
"Definitely, Bosco, it's not like any other program," Shumate said. "It's basically a college program. If you don't love football, if you don't plan on making it to the next level, Bosco is not for you. They develop you as a person, and develop you as a strong, young man. We have some of the best coaches in the country. Schools come from up and down (the country) to visit every day; almost 15 schools a day. There's nothing like the exposure that you get at Bosco."
Through five games, Shumate is third on the team with 28 tackles, 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble. One of those schools that has come to check on him is Pitt. The Panthers have signed former teammates Brandon Sacco and Bryan Murphy out of the class of 2010. They also have a verbal commitment from quarterback Gary Nova, who is verbally committed to the 2011 class. Shumate ranks the Panthers pretty high, at this stage of his recruitment.
"I love (secondary) coach Jeff Hafley," Shumate said. "I've been talking to a lot of the coaches; (head) coach Dave (Wannstedt, I've been talking to the offensive line coach (Tony Wise). All of them seem like cool people. Coach Hafley, me and him have a great relationship."
"They're probably like number one on my list right now, as far as where I might go to school. It's very early, and I'm keeping my options open. Right now, they're number one. They're recruiting me the hardest. I have a great relationship with all the coaches. I hope to visit the school and meet the players."
In addition to a great relationship with the coaching staff so far, Shumate is pretty good friends with a few of the players who are already Panthers.
"I know Sacco, and I met Bryan a few times over the summer," Shumate said. "(Murphy) was really cool, giving me advice about playing at Bosco. I saw him the first game of the season. When he saw me play, he was telling me how I can improve my game, and how much the coaches like me at Pitt. I'm also friends with T.J. Clemmings, who I knew at Paterson Catholic. He tells me all the time how much the coaches love me."
Shumate also has a good relationship with Nova, Pitt's quarterback commit.
"Gary is the heart and soul of the team," Shumate said. "He's the leader, he's like our ace. We are all young guys, and he tells us about recruiting, me and (Bosco receiver) Leonte (Carroo). Gary is as good on the field as he is off the field. He's one of the best quarterbacks I've ever seen."
Shumate will take an unofficial trip this weekend to Rutgers for its game against Army. He and Nova will hit the road next Saturday, to watch Rutgers take on Pitt in Pittsburgh. Other schools who have shown him interest so far, in addition to Rutgers and Pitt, are Maryland, Arizona, USC, North Carolina, Miami, Georgia, Michigan, Colorado, Boston College and North Carolina.