• John Macon Gillespie

Shumaker Shows Off Special Skill Set in Spring Action

There’s nothing unusual about seeing a player from running back, receiver or even defense to quarterback. At least not in Mississippi. For decades it has been sound strategy to put your best athlete at that spot, whether permanently or situationally.

But seeing a player as comfortable at quarterback as he is carrying the ball as tailback or receiver, however, is unusual. Drea Shumaker, a rising junior at Louisville, is natural playmaker toting, throwing and catching the football.

“I mean I’m all about business when I put my hands on the ball,” Shumaker told SES Mississipi. “As soon as I get to touch the ball I’ve got to put on for my city and my teammates.”

He flashed his abilities last fall as a sophomore by scoring four times each on the ground and through the air, while totally over 300 yards of offense. He completed 27 of 42 pass attempts(64%) for another 300-plus yards and four touchdowns.

Against Forest he showed what can happen when he brings it all together. He connected on 14 of 17 pass attempts for 182 yards and three touchdowns, and added another 46 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

In 2018 Shumaker figures to have an even bigger role. Louisville’s spring game against Greenville at Starkville high on May 12th was evidence of that. With a playmaking duo in the backfield - QB Deonte Yarbrough and RB Kevon Jackson - Shumaker was a threat at receiver the defense had to pay attention to. When he stepped in behind center he was smooth at running the offense, while still getting in-sync with his wideouts. That, and other areas of his game as a quarterback, will be what he focuses on the remainder of the offseason.

“My performance (in spring game) was outstanding, but there’s a lot of room for improvement,” Shumaker explained. “I want to be better than ever.”

“At receiver, I know what I can do at that position. Im focused on quarterback because I’m trying to be one of the best backups that’s playing. I just want the ball so I can make something happen.”

The arrival of Randal Montgomery as offensive coordinator brought a notable difference for the Wildcats in last weekend’s spring game. Though the offense was potent last season, Shumaker says Montgomery likes to move things along a bit faster.

Last season the Wildcats finished 13-3, but two of those losses came to division rival Noxubee County. Including the loss in the 4A North final that ended Louisville’s season.

The Tigers were also impressive last weekend at the Starkville high jamboree. It appears the collision course is already set for this season.

“I’m not really focused on the losses. It was a heartbreaking moment, but then again it’s pushing us even harder to defeat them in the regular season and playoff,” Shumaker said.

“Our defense will be solid as a rock and our offense has returning athletes that are real experienced to the game. We will be ready for anyone this season.”

#JohnLukeMcCord #Louisville

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