Aug. 13, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa --Like many young student-athletes in the University of Iowa football program, wide receiver Don Shumpert paid his dues on special teams before seeing action at his primary position. This season the junior from St. Louis is expected to make his first collegiate reception as the Hawkeyes look for ways to cover the 82 catches and 1,315 receiving yards of Marvin McNutt, Jr., from a year ago.
How is practice going to start camp?
"Practices have been going well so far. The wide receivers are working hard and we are just trying to finish every play."
What is it like working with coach Erik Campbell?
"He is a great motivator and a great teacher. He has a lot of experience. You can learn a lot from his knowledge. He is a great coach. I love him."
What led you to Iowa City and the Hawkeye football program during the recruiting process?
"I saw a lot of the St. Louis guys having success, like Marvin (McNutt, Jr.), (Adrian) Clayborn, Paul Chaney was out here as well. They are from the same area as me, and I talked with them. I can relate to them. They said it was great. Good city. I also like the coaching stability."
How does the wide receiving group try and replace Marvin McNutt, Jr., the all-time receiving leader at Iowa?
"We just do that by going out every day and working as hard as we can. It is a team game, so we all will step up."
What did you learn from Marvin that you can utilize going forward in your career?
"Marvin came to practice every day, and he was always ready. Always be ready to practice and go hard."
You were a high school teammate of linebacker Christian Kirksey. How special is that connection now that you are both wearing the Hawkeye uniform?
"It is great. We have the high school memories, now we are building college memories together. It is a great experience."
What facet of your game has improved the most since spring ball, and what are you working on the most heading into the fall?
"I feel more physical as a receiver: getting off releases and blocking and finishing plays."
You are part of a young group of receivers. How do you feel about the group overall?
"We always need work, but we are working really hard. I like that about us. Every play we are going hard. We are holding each other accountable to go hard."
As a junior, how do you try and help the newcomers?
"We help them during practice and make sure they are listening and taking notes during meetings. Whenever they have a question, they can ask us."
You have been a member of two bowl teams during your first two seasons. What is the goal for 2012?
"The goal is to go out and compete every game."
What are your individual goals for the upcoming season?
"The same as the team. Every time I get the chance, go out there and work as hard as I can. You cannot look forward, just have to take it day-by-day."
Is there any significance to the No. 8 jersey you wear?
"Yeah, it was my high school number, and my birthday is Jan. 8."