The interview started differently than most.
“I don’t know if you’ve ever seen High School Musical,” he began, “but I’m kind of like that.”
In the Disney Channel after school special, basketball star Troy is torn between playing in the state championship game and auditioning for the school musical. It’s an overwhelming situation for Troy, but with just the right touch of teamwork and luck, he’s able to balance both.
Three-star football prospect Justice Shelton-Mosley, ranked the 12th best all-purpose back in the country, can empathize with Troy.
“I’m pretty much doing everything I can in my last year,” Shelton-Mosley said. “I’m doing choir, the play. Just a whole bunch of stuff. Student council. I’m just enjoying my senior year.”
Shelton-Mosley is currently rehearsing for a patriotic-themed choir performance on Nov. 1. He’s also part of the drama club, though he’s not sure what play he’ll act in this year. During his junior year, it was Tarzan.
That’s not all. Shelton-Mosley is also trying to rehab a high ankle sprain he sustained over summer. He played at “30-to-40 percent” during Capital Christian’s first three games, but he’s been sidelined since. He’s hoping for a return this weekend.
All the while, the Sacramento, California, recruit is trying to figure out where he’ll play college football next season. He has plenty of offers, collecting opportunities to play in the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 or Ivy League.
Given his diverse interests in high school, it’s not surprising that he’s looking at a lot more than just a football program as he starts figuring out where he wants to sign.
“I really like the student bodies. I like other sports, like lacrosse and basketball, and all that kind of stuff,” Shelton-Mosley said. “I’m trying to get that interaction between the football team and everybody else on campus. And definitely the city. The sports teams around the city — like in Boston, you have the Celtics and the Red Sox.”
Shelton-Mosley will get a chance to check out Boston on Oct. 17 and 18, when he takes his first official visit to Harvard. He’s also always wanted to check out Boston College, and he said it’s likely he’ll take an official visit there, too. Northwestern is also likely to get a visit.
Among the other schools Shelton-Mosley is considering are Duke, Vanderbilt, Stanford and California. He said he doesn’t have a leader at this moment, though he has been impressed with California’s season so far.
Despite being a California kid, distance from home won’t play a factor in his decision.
“I’m willing to go anywhere. Like my dad always says, you don’t want to miss out on an opportunity on the East Coast,” he said. “My mom’s side of the family — everybody lives on the East Coast, and we’re the only ones down here. I’m fine with going anywhere.”
It will be a while before Shelton-Mosley makes any sort of college decision. He’ll take official visits throughout November and December, and he’ll likely make a commitment in January. He’s trying to time his recruitment so that he doesn’t miss any of his basketball and baseball seasons.
It’s currently unclear, even to Shelton-Mosley, what position he’ll play at the next level. He stars at running back at Capital Christian, but different college coaches have envisioned him as a defensive back, a running back or a wide receiver.
“It’s different at each school,” he said. “I’m just going to go with it. I like scoring touchdowns, but everybody likes that. Playing defensive back is something I like to do, and this past summer, I’ve been working on it a lot. I really like playing DB, too.”
It’s been a hectic fall for Shelton-Mosley, and it shows no signs of slowing down as his recruitment ramps up. He’s OK with it, though. He knows everything will change once he enters a college program this summer.
“It’s sort of tough, but it’s going to be my last year in high school, so I’m trying to make everything count and enjoy the people I have around me,” he said. “Enjoy my friends. It can be as hard as it can, but this is going to be the last year, and next year all I’m focusing on is football and school. I might as well get all of my extracurricular stuff down now.”