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Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Ole Miss won't give up on four-star ATH

By Dave Hooker

Don't expect Ole Miss to give up on Ashton Shumpert. Emotions, relationships and a fierce rivalry should keep the Rebels in the hunt.

Sure, the four-star athlete prospect from Fulton (Miss.) Itawamba committed to Mississippi State on Monday, but the Rebels will still come calling. The key is getting Shumpert to Oxford in order to pitch the hard sell.

Shumpert was originally scheduled to take his official visit to Ole Miss on Jan. 25. That would give the Rebels one of the last face-to-face meetings with him before national signing day since he is scheduled to take his official visit to Mississippi State on Jan. 18.

"I don't know yet," Shumpert said when asked if he would still take his official visit to Ole Miss.

So far, the Bulldogs have his commitment. Shumpert had given no indication before Tuesday that he was close to committing. Then, without a press conference or any fanfare, he called up State's coaches and said he was ready to commit.

"I was thinking a lot about Mississippi State," the No. 243 prospect in the nation and No. 5 prospect in Mississippi said. "I thought I might as well go ahead and do it."

Shumpert said he had a better relationship with Mississippi State's coaches, namely running backs coach Greg Knox, Shumpert's primary recruiter. Still, his relationship with the Rebels is strong. Then, there's the challenge of choosing between two fierce rivals.

"It was," Shumpert said when asked if it was tough making a choice, "because you don't want to let one of them down because you're close to both of them."

Mississippi State wants Shumpert to play running back. He could also play safety or linebacker. He has long said he has no preference.

"You never know," Shumpert said when asked what position he might play. "That's what [the Mississippi State coaches] said [that he's play running back] but it might change."

Could his commitment change as well? Ole Miss is hoping so.