Eastern Michigan’s Kempton Shine Nears Transfer Decision, Strongly Considers JMU

Image courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications

By Bennett Conlin

Eastern Michigan defensive back Kempton Shine is nearing a final decision on his transfer destination, and James Madison is one of Shine’s top choices. 

Shine visited JMU and UVA over the weekend, looking for a spot to play his final season of college football. The cornerback’s visit to Harrisonburg left a great impression. 

“I’m starting to fall in love with JMU,” Shine told JMU Sports News. 

Defensive fit

He’s particularly excited about the possibility of playing alongside D’Angelo Ponds in JMU’s secondary. Ponds, who is entering his sophomore season in 2024, became a starting cornerback for JMU as a true freshman. Ponds finished the season with 51 tackles, 15 pass breakups, and two interceptions. 

“I think he’s probably one of the best in the country,” Shine said. “I’d love to play with Ponds.”

Shine said he enjoyed his conversation with defensive coordinator Lyle Hemphill, who has recently worked as the defensive coordinator at both Duke and Wake Forest. Hemphill has a background working with defensive backs, and his defenses are known for forcing turnovers. 

Creating turnovers is an area Shine wants to improve before embarking on a professional playing career. 

In five seasons with Eastern Michigan, Shine has 176 tackles and 27 pass breakups. He’s broken up 22 passes in the last two seasons, but has just one interception during that time. He’s hopeful to turn more plays into interceptions in 2024. 

Decision timeline

Shine expects to make his decision in the near future, and while he stopped short of saying he plans to commit to JMU, the Dukes are firmly in the mix. UVA and Tulsa are among others battling for Shine’s services, and he says his phone continues to ring as other programs reach out. 

As for what will sell him on a school, Shine says he doesn’t care about finding an NIL deal, fancy facilities, or special uniforms. 

“I just want the opportunity to play,” Shine said. 

Given JMU’s turnover in the secondary – multiple safeties graduated and the Dukes aren’t deep with proven corners outside of Ponds and Chauncey Logan – there’s a clear path to playing time for Shine in Harrisonburg. The combination of JMU’s recent on-field success and the chance to play meaningful snaps has JMU squarely in contention to land the impact defender. 

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