As a very productive freshman running back at Paterson Catholic High School (910 yards, 12 touchdowns) in New Jersey, Elijah Shumate went 11-0.
As a sophomore at Don Bosco Prep, Shumate went 12-0 on a team that won a state title and was crowned the national champion by USA Today and National Prep Poll.
As a junior at Bosco, Shumate went 12-0 with another state title.
As a senior at Bosco, Shumate had 14 touchdowns as the team went 11-0, with another state championship and a second mythical national championship.
So Notre Dame’s 4-0 start is nothing new for Shumate, a freshman nickel cornerback for the Irish. Winning’s all he knows.
“Last time I lost was eighth grade,” he said. “Pop Warner game, semifinals. We lost by a point. Missed a field goal. That hurt a lot.”
At least, he thinks it does. Truth is, Shumate really doesn’t remember what it feels like to lose.
“No, I really don’t,” he said.
And he’d like to keep it that way, thank you very much.
“Definitely,” he said. “I do not want that feeling.”
Shumate is one of many freshman contributors on the team, particularly in the secondary, where KeiVarae Russell starts at corner, and Nicky Baratti is seeing significant time at safety.
“It’s definitely been a big experience, a big dream and a big accomplishment for me,” Shumate said. “I’ve worked so hard to come here and play, in the offseason before I got here, because I wanted to play. It’s definitely been a big transition from high school to college. It’s a big stage. You’re playing at one of the most prestigious schools, if not THE most prestigious school, in the country. It’s definitely a big transition from high school. This is a big accomplishment.”