Shurden may be the deciding factor in all-star football game
By By Mark Etheridge / special to The Star
June 13, 2002
Scott Shurden does not look the part of a rough and tumble football player. That said, the 5'8" 155 pounder may have the final say about who wins or loses Saturday night's Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game.
Shurden has joined the best prep stars from both states in Mobile, Alabama for the fifteenth annual meeting between the neighbors. Shurden opened some eyes with several long kicks Monday as practice opened. To the surprise of many, the strong-legged place-kicker was just getting warmed up.
Shurden had a distinguished high school career that saw him put his name in the record books.
Shurden received many accolades as a kicker at Philadelphia's Neshoba Central High School after playing his first four seasons at Noxapater.
He played for head coach Jim Ray at both schools. He converted 10-of-19 field goals and a perfect 48-of-48 on extra points during his junior campaign, his final season at Noxapater. Shurden also sent 59 of his 71 kickoffs (83 percent) into the end zone for touchbacks that year as a junior.
With those kinds of statistics, Shurden got noticed by both local and national media. He is rated by Rivals.com as the 17th best high school kicker in the country and listed as the No. 3 place-kicker in the southeast by PrepStar magazine/CBS Sportsline.com. Scott earned first-team all-state as the place-kicker on the Mississippi Association of Coaches' Class 4A season-ending team.
Shurden lists the highlight of his high school career as a playoff run early in his high school career. "My sophomore year we played in state championship game. We got beat but it was fun playing in Memorial Stadium. That was pretty special."
A perfect 4.0 student during his high school career, Shurden credits his on-the-field success to a lot of kicking practice growing up.
Shurden committed to Mississippi State early – in the Summer before his Senior season. As a pledge, he was instrumental in the wooing of other recruits considering the Bulldogs. While he helped recruit others, when it came to his own recruitment, Shurden was an easy sell.
Scott is looking to Saturday's game in front of a large crowd and television audience with the ice-cool demeanor that the best kickers must have.
When he gets to Starkville later this Summer he will have a lot of competition for the starting kicking job including highly regarded incoming freshman Keith Butler from Monroe, Louisiana.
As for this week, Scott is looking to show everyone what the small-town boy can do this week in Mobile. His new-found teammates in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game even kidded him as he prepared to do an interview in Monday's media night joking, "you want to talk to the kicker?"
They laugh now, but if this week is any indication, the diminutive kicker may be giving a lot of interviews during the next few seasons in Starkville.