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Irish A-to-Z: Elijah Shumate

Aug 22, 2014, 9:30 AM EST

Notre Dame v Michigan Getty Images

A blue-chip recruit who immediately contributed on the 2012 defense, junior Elijah Shumate is still looking to find his fit in the Irish defense. One of the more physically gifted players in the Irish secondary, the New Jersey native battled injuries and a transition to safety in 2013.

Learning a new system under Brian VanGorder, Shumate is still battling for time as a safety playing in the box. After not hearing his name through spring practice and much of fall camp, Shumate has emerged as a candidate to spell veteran Austin Collinsworth, getting into the two-deep with the season just around the corner.

Here’s a closer look at Shumate.

 

ELIJAH SHUMATE
6’0″ 208 lbs.
Junior, No. 22

 

RECRUITING PROFILE

An Army All-American, Shumate had an impressive offer list before choosing Notre Dame in San Antonio. A product of Don Bosco Prep, Shumate was a Top 150 recruit by every measure and an instant impact athlete.

“He’s a young man that played running back, returned kicks, played safety position,” Kelly said on Signing Day. “He’s got great versatility, can play off the hash, close to the ball, excited about having Elijah with us.”

Shumate took official visits to South Carolina and Rutgers before visiting South Bend in December. He also turned down offers from programs like Michigan, UCLA, Oklahoma, Miami, Georgia and Penn State.

 

PLAYING CAREER

Freshman Season (2012): Played in all 13 games, serving as a nickel cornerback and also playing on special teams. Made nine total tackles for the Irish and also broke up three passes.

Sophomore Season (2013): Shumate started four games, but only saw action in nine total games. Shumate battled injuries and was also didn’t make the trip to Palo Alto after violating a team rule. Made 23 tackles on the season, including four against Arizona State.

 

UPSIDE POTENTIAL

That Shumate isn’t starting as a junior isn’t an indictment on his future, but most expected him to surpass Austin Collinsworth by now. But the transition from slot cornerback to safety has taken longer than most Irish fans hoped, a product of expanded duties and a depth chart with some talent as well.

Shumate has started to find his niche, and could be a serviceable in-the-box safety, playing like a bull in a china shop, the type of high energy sledgehammer we saw in 2012. Shumate was capable of running like a cornerback covering slot receivers, and could slide into that role if the suspension of KeiVarae Russell lasts a significant amount of the year.

But Shumate’s down to two seasons of collegiate eligibility, needing the light switch to flip on soon if he’s going to play up to his recruiting ranking and the promise he showed as a freshman.

 

CRYSTAL BALL

It’s hard to predict Shumate’s season without knowing how well Collinsworth plays. But in a defense that has multiple packages, you’d be hard pressed to think Shumate doesn’t have a role in there somewhere. A better athlete than Collinsworth, Shumate showed skill in coverage as a freshman, though playing a role the Irish have pushed to Matthias Farley.

That Shumate hasn’t moved to that hybrid spot likely says that he’s still a great option at safety, merely one not quite as reliable as the fifth-year Collinsworth. But with two seasons under his belt and a year away from the nagging injuries that kept him off the field, Shumate is another unproven quantity that needs to play well this season for the Irish to have a chance.

***

The Irish A-to-Z
Josh Atkinson
Nicky Baratti
Alex Bars
Hunter Bivin
Grant Blankenship
Jonathan Bonner
Justin Brent
Kyle Brindza
Chris Brown
Jalen Brown
Greg Bryant
Devin Butler
Jimmy Byrne
Daniel Cage
Amir Carlisle
Austin Collinsworth
Ben Councell
Scott Daly
Sheldon Day
Michael Deeb
Steve Elmer
Matthias Farley
Tarean Folston
Will Fuller
Everett Golson
Jarrett Grace
Conor Hanratty
Eilar Hardy
Mark Harrell
Jay Hayes
Matt Hegarty
Mike Heuerman
Kolin Hill
Corey Holmes
Chase Hounshell
Torii Hunter Jr.
Jarron Jones
DeShone Kizer
Ben Koyack
Christian Lombard
Tyler Luatua
Cole Luke
Nick Martin
Greer Martini
Jacob Matuska
Cam McDaniel
Mike McGlinchey
Colin McGovern
Pete Mokwuah
John Montelus
Kendall Moore
Nyles Morgan
Sam Mustipher
Quenton Nelson
Tyler Newsome
Romeo Okwara
James Onwualu
C.J. Prosise
Anthony Rabasa
Doug Randolph
Max Redfield
Cody Riggs
Corey Robinson
Isaac Rochell
KeiVarae Russell
Joe Schmidt

  1. domerboyirish - Aug 22, 2014 at 10:07 AM

    This guy is too talented to keep on the bench. I’m sure he will be out there more often than we think. With his background and ability I can see this guy being used as a roaming ball hawk / hit man in the defensive backfield. Find ball = kill the guy with it.

  2. jommy995 - Aug 22, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    Hope so dboy, but you’d expect to hear his name regularly on special teams, wouldn’t you, if he was really about to have an impact on D? Remember when Collinsworth and Jackson were freshmen getting in on every kick/punt coverage tackle? I have no similar recollection of contributions from Shumate. Instead, I remember not noticing him. Kind of like iShaq.

  3. irishwilliamsport - Aug 22, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    He will have a big year this year, I love collinsworth but he gets beat so often and we saw it in the blue gold game and in the practice clips. Shumate is too good to be sitting, I’d love to see him and redfield out there together with rigs and Russell, wishful thinking in know.

  4. irishwilliamsport - Aug 22, 2014 at 10:33 AM

    Riggs

  5. upthera44 - Aug 22, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    Shumate being behind Collinsworth is a head scratcher.

    On the one hand, the coaches see what we don’t see, day in and day out — maybe Shumate isn’t developing the way his star-power suggested he might.

    But on the other hand, is this another case like Matthias Farley, Collinsworth (last year) and Tommy Rees — slow, ‘smart’ guys who end up getting beat pretty often when it matters? Sometimes I wonder if Kelly and Co. don’t get a little too carried away with their message — discipline, playing smart, fundamentals– and let that cloud their vision to who is actually going to make big plays on the field.

    • irishwilliamsport - Aug 22, 2014 at 11:33 AM

      Great comment, how many times can those guys get beat before a change is made ? For how rigid Diaco was recruiting just imagine how he was in meetings and with personnel decisions. I think BVG will play the best guys and we see that with Redfield now and I have a feeling Shumate’s play on the field will separate him from the other guys.

  6. goirishgo - Aug 22, 2014 at 10:57 AM

    I love this kid but it’s time to move past potential to performance. The opportunity is there as is the ability. I see this as a make or break year for him.

  7. tlndma - Aug 22, 2014 at 10:58 AM

    If this kid can have a good year, it will be a huge plus for ND. I don’t trust Collinsworth on the back end.

    • tucsonfan - Aug 22, 2014 at 6:50 PM

      Redfield is pretty much an unknown quantity too, IMO. Losing Russel would really drop my confidence in our defense.

      • liv4nd - Aug 23, 2014 at 10:48 AM

        Troll

  8. johngaltisspeaking - Aug 22, 2014 at 10:58 AM

    Major SEC Talent

    • domerboyirish - Aug 22, 2014 at 11:33 AM

      YES! John pulls yet another lame and unimaginative SEC comment out of his ‘Hello Kitty’ backpack of ideas!

      • irishwilliamsport - Aug 22, 2014 at 11:37 AM

        Can we all agree to ignore this Johngalt retard and just do what I do when I see a drug induced comment from assman and just skip over it and ignore it ? There both idiots.

      • domerboyirish - Aug 22, 2014 at 12:14 PM

        Irishwilliamsport,

        First, I like your input. Keep up the nice work.

        I don’t know. Right now I’m having fun slamming the moron in the room with the brain the size of a peanut. You might want to just skip over them for the time being…

    • domerboyirish - Aug 22, 2014 at 11:33 AM

      John, I know that you got over excited this morning but I think you forgot to tell us all what prize you found in your cereal today?

  9. fnc111 - Aug 22, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    I already like him way more than Farley. He’s actually making a tackle against scUM in that pic.

    • danirish - Aug 22, 2014 at 5:39 PM

      I like the fact you hate Michigan. Me too….

  10. jerseyshorendfan1 - Aug 22, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    Another example of “Why isn’t this kid on the field more?” I’m really starting to question the Diaco philosophy of years past and even more so after that recent UCONN press conference clip. I thought to myself I’m glad UCONN is sponsored by Dunkin Donuts as their press corps is gonna need a lot of coffee to stay in tune with that guy. Again, I find it hard to argue with the results of the 2012 version of Diaco’s D, but wondering now about his ability to fully use and develop the talent that he had.

    As an aside, I watched the 2009 version of ND vs. UM on the B1G Network you know the one where Tate Forcier pulls one out of his ass in the closing seconds to win 38-34 at the Big House. Although this game took place a mere 5 years ago, it seemed like forever ago. That team was so rich with talent it was incredible. Clausen, Tate, Floyd, Robert Hughes, Armando Allen, are just some of the studs on that offense alone. Then you see Weis roaming the sidelines and you can’t help but wonder what went wrong there? Anyway, all that happens with this program makes that season seem like it happened eons ago and I guess that’s part of the joy in following ND: there’s never a dull moment.

  11. johngaltisspeaking - Aug 22, 2014 at 12:28 PM

    Well it will be very interesting to see how the new BCS Playoff committee ( dancing with the stars, american Idol, americas got talent, gymnastics judges ) will judge strength of schedule. If I see it right ESPN will have a lot of push and pull as to what this beauty committee does when ranking 1 and 2 loss teams. If strength of schedule is legitimate and they make it a focal point of the judging then a 2 loss Irish team should jump a 1 loss Ohio State team. The problem is once again teams with playoffs have the edge over ND as they play one more game. I think its gonna hurt Nd by not being a full member of a conference. They Basically have to win out in order to get to the playoffs. Why even play a hard schedule were if you lose two games you’re out but in a conference you can lose two and get in. Strength of schedule once again works against the Irish even though they have been doing it for decades.

    • dwp1991 - Aug 22, 2014 at 2:18 PM

      My understanding was always that we had a tough schedule to compensate for the fact that we cannot play in a conference championship game. But maybe I’m talking out of my ass on that one.

    • liv4nd - Aug 22, 2014 at 3:14 PM

      If you lose 2 games you’re gonna be out anyway. A one loss ND team still gets in this year…

      • johngaltisspeaking - Aug 22, 2014 at 4:46 PM

        That is flat out not true a 2 loss team can get into the playoffs if they are playing in a conference championship game. They play 13 games.. They would have the same win record as a 1 loss ND team. I don’t know lets just see how it plays out but I have a feeling there are going to be some pissed off fans come this year.

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Aug 22, 2014 at 8:55 PM

        Galt,

        Since the BCS era began, there have been an average of 8 teams per year that finish with 1 or fewer losses. That number ranges from about 6 to as many as 13….the chances of a 2 loss team making the playoffs are well below 1%.

      • papadec - Aug 23, 2014 at 2:35 PM

        A close loss to fsu – maybe ND gets in – a loss to any team not ranked in the top 5 – fahhh geddah bout it.

    • johngaltisspeaking - Aug 22, 2014 at 10:31 PM

      So strength of schedule means nothing. A 2 loss Irish is worse then a 1 Loss Ohio state. Yeah right

  12. prancerbyanose - Aug 22, 2014 at 12:36 PM

    This guy looks like an NFL draft pick to me. Through two seasons he reminds me of Harrison Smith.

    If Onawualu can play linebacker, Shumate can fill that type of role too. This year’s defense is faster and more athletic than any in recent memory. With all the short passing, spread run plays and up-tempo offense in college football, it makes sense to have an athletic guy like Shumate out there as much as possible. I think Irish fans will see a lot of snaps this year with three down lineman and some combination of: Smith, Onwualu, Collinsworth, Baratti, Shumate, Redfield, Hardy, Riggs, Russell (knock on wood), Luke out there at the same time.

  13. getsome99 - Aug 22, 2014 at 4:19 PM

    Seriously, how long does it take to determine if 4 students cheated or not? Just bring Maury Povich in and give them lie detector tests. I understand they’re investigating the entire cheating “scandal”, but you would think they have enough by now to make decisions on the athletes.

    • liv4nd - Aug 22, 2014 at 4:27 PM

      Quadruple thumbs up! I’m starting to look at it this way…if it was so obvious that they cheated it would not be taking this long.

      Also, if they are cleared it will galvanize this team and bring them all closer together

      • jerseyshorendfan1 - Aug 22, 2014 at 5:29 PM

        Maybe its all a charade, a team-building exercise.

    • notredameirish1980 - Aug 22, 2014 at 6:27 PM

      Aren’t there student reps on the Honor Committee and they are just getting back this weekend?

      • papadec - Aug 22, 2014 at 7:34 PM

        Yes.

      • liv4nd - Aug 23, 2014 at 10:54 AM

        With so much at stake wouldn’t you think they could reach out to people even if they are not back on campus? It’s called a phone call! Unless there is some rule about interviewing students while not at school it seems stupid to wait until they get back. Am I the only one thinking this?

        Go Irish. Beat Rice…to a pulp!

      • notredameirish1980 - Aug 23, 2014 at 1:36 PM

        If your future was hanging on it, wouldn’t you prefer a face to face?

    • johngaltisspeaking - Aug 22, 2014 at 7:21 PM

      Longer than it takes for a priest to fondle little boys.

      • papadec - Aug 23, 2014 at 2:38 PM

        jg – you were doing so well. A couple of semi-intelligent posts related to football. Then a relapse to your true anti-Catholic bigoted self.

  14. irishwilliamsport - Aug 22, 2014 at 5:20 PM

    I get nervous when I think about the starters that either won’t be here or have been drafted. Obviously Nix, Tuitt, and Niklas would have benefitted from another year at ND and arguably would all have been first round draft picks in 2015. But to loose those 3 plus Russell, Williams, and Daniels is tough that’s six solid starters.

    You’ve got to give Kelly and Co. credit for adding quality depth to the roster but after 3 ho hum years and one great year we all are waiting for some signs that the program will be elite again and not just once every 4 years. I’m tired of losing to the teams on the schedule that we are “supposed” to lose to and 1 head scratcher every year except 2012 although Pitt should have beat us in 2012. The QB position had us hamstrung for 4 years but I think they mishandled Gunner, wait till you see his numbers this year.

    If we blow Rice out, this may be a very good year, if we struggle or lose to them it could be a long year.

    • heartofgoldandblue - Aug 22, 2014 at 10:46 PM

      And how do you feel they mishandled Gunner?

  15. shaunodame - Aug 22, 2014 at 5:53 PM

    As some of you have alluded to, although Collinsworth is technically starting over him at safety we should absolutely see plenty of Shumate in sub packages. Our Nickel package is going to be soooooo much more athletic then our base 3-4 we chose to stay in versus 3 and 4 WR sets in years past.

    On passing downs can you.imagine how awesome this Nickel package can be for us?!….

    DEs- Trumbetti and Okwara
    DTs- Day and Rochell
    LBs- Smith and Onwualu
    CBs- Riggs, Luke and Shumate as Slot
    Safeties- Collinsworth and Redfield

  16. johngaltispeaking - Aug 22, 2014 at 7:20 PM

    I know I said above that he’s an SEC talent, but I have to retract my statement. Elijah Shumate is a dirty, dirty man.

    Growing up in a seedier part of East LA (Go Trojans), I lived next to a boy who was a few years older than me named Elijah Barrajas. Elijah’s parents weren’t around much. His mother was a second generation American, but his father was from Tijuana. Elijah was born after a chance meeting in a local bar between Jorge Barrajas and a young Emilia Rodriguez. Long story short, Jorge was eventually deported but Emilia went to visit her love every weekend in what turned out to be a rough part of TJ (not Jones, you stupid Irish fans). I think that Elijah dealt with his loneliness at week’s end by turning to a strange habit–pretending to be Australian. Every time I’d see him, he’d ask me if I considered my Swiss Army keychain a “real knife” or he’d be hopping down the street claiming to be a kangaroo.

    • johngaltispeaking - Aug 22, 2014 at 7:21 PM

      After a few years, Elijah grew up. His mom, still spending weekends in Tijuana, left him money for food and dutifully returned to her son on Monday mornings. Now 15, Elijah began spending this money meant for food on marijuana. He soon fell into the wrong crowd and eventually joined a gang–the East Side Nortenos (sorry, I went to an SEC school, I can’t figure out how to make the little n with a squiggly line over it). Despite still speaking like an Australian on the weekends, Elijah soon became quite the soldier for his largely (overwhelmingly) Hispanic gang. This is when my life turned into a living hell.

      Elijah started drinking large, blue cans of beer and invited me to a Bar-B-Q one Saturday night. He was obviously drunk when he invited me, but I could make out his invitation despite his strange Spanglish-with-faux-Sydney-lilt. A girl who I was interesting would be in attendance (her name was Regina Bush, but don’t read too much into it. I never gave her the ole’ Bush push har har), so I put on my bravest face to mingle with gang members (and, of course, Regina).

      • johngaltispeaking - Aug 22, 2014 at 7:21 PM

        When I walked into the backyard, Cyprus Hill was blasting and the ground was littered with Mexican beers and, in almost equal quantity, Fosters. Elijah, safe to say, was now a weekend warrior at the age of 15. “Oye, mate!” he yelled to me as I joined the party, “Welcome down under the border!” I grabbed a Coke and looked for Regina. To my dismay, Regina and Elijah seemed overly comfortable with each other, and it seemed that Elijah knew about my crush.

        In a caffeine haze, I decided to talk to Regina. Elijah, claiming loudly and openly that his mom actually spent her weekends in the Sydney Opera House, must have seen me approach Regina because what happened next will haunt me forever.

    • johngaltispeaking - Aug 22, 2014 at 7:25 PM

      Thinking that maybe Elijah was overly-lonely during the weekends, Emilia purchased a large pitbull for her son. He named his behemoth of a dog “El Capitan Kangaroo.” Well, the capitan ate (and shat) a lot. In fact, I noticed large chunks of K9 excrement poking through the scattered beer cans and bottles as I first entered their property. “Mate, you talkin’ to my chica?” Elijah asked. I was terrified. His friends circled me and began moving closer and closer. I saw a small pocket of Elijah’s “familia” break from the group as I stammered, “Hey…how ’bout them Trojans? Major SEC talent, huh?” The gangsters who had broken from the ranks suddenly pushed forth and said, “Eat it,” handing me a clean Nike. Then I noticed what was inside. It was full of the capitan’s filth. I attempted to flee, but they wouldn’t let me. They began attacking me, hurling insults, until it became clear that the only thing I could do was to eat what El Capitan had already eaten. I choked it down, I’m not proud to say.

      • johngaltispeaking - Aug 22, 2014 at 7:26 PM

        The next day, I was heading for my bus stop when I saw Elijah and his friends. Elijah asked me one thing that haunts me even today: “Hey, want another shoe, Mate.”

        I hate Elijah Shumate.

  17. johngaltisspeaking - Aug 22, 2014 at 7:23 PM

    I see Notre Dame is filling its roster our with Walkons while Bama is loading up on more 5 stars.

    • domerboyirish - Aug 23, 2014 at 8:54 AM

      When you go to the store are you one of those kids tethered to your mom?

  18. goirishgo - Aug 22, 2014 at 8:28 PM

    This site has gotten positively bizarre.

    • jerseyshorendfan1 - Aug 22, 2014 at 11:47 PM

      Agreed. Why did I read that BS?

      • papadec - Aug 23, 2014 at 1:22 AM

        joisey – I don’t know why – bored maybe? I just scrolled past. Just watched the Seahawks take the Bears apart – hoping that’s what I’ll see the Irish do to their opponents, this season.

      • domerboyirish - Aug 23, 2014 at 8:53 AM

        Everyone be thankful that this is just a blog site and we can just skip whatever garbage John writes / spews.  Imagine how bad it would be in person.  I’m sure he hasn’t learned to chew with his mouth closed.  (In a related topic, Alabama announced a new entry level course entitled ‘Chewing with your Mouth Closed: A study is multitasking’.  Oddly enough this class is taught right after Honors Lunch…)

    • papadec - Aug 23, 2014 at 1:18 AM

      Not the site – only a few posters.

  19. yaketyyacc - Aug 23, 2014 at 6:14 AM

    Shumate is a question mark, and how he will perform remains dubious. talent, sure. let’s hope he finds the right rhythm and tenacity. think he will. confident he will. work hard Shumate and give us your best season yet. bring the Irish an undefeated season, one game at a time. Crush Rice!

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