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Friday, October 31, 2014

Recruiting nuggets from Ala.-Miss. practice

BLOG: Hello from Montgomery, Ala., the site of tomorrow’s Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game.

The drive over this morning was rather uneventful (a good thing), and I got to Huntingdon College just in time to see Team Mississippi’s bus pull up from the practice field.

This was my first chance to see a handful of the players representing the Magnolia State in person and many looked the part.

One coach told me South Panola’s Temario Strong has been one of the more impressive players in practice.

Strong, along with teammate Issac Gross, are the lone Ole Miss verbal commitments in the game.

From what I could tell, the only two players wearing college gear were Strong (in an Ole Miss hooded sweatshirt), and Tigers teammate Kendall Carr (in an Ole Miss hat and sweatshirt). From what I could tell no other players were wearing college shirts/hats/etc.

After the players finished lunch at Huntingdon College’s dining hall I had a chance to catch up with Pearl receiver D.J. Thompson and Long Beach linebacker Richie Brown.

STILL A GOLDEN EAGLE… SORT OF: Larry Fedora’s recent departure from Southern Miss to North Carolina has made Thompson rethink his verbal commitment to the Golden Eagles and given rival schools an opportunity to get in on the 6-foot-3 receiver.

“I’m still with Southern so far, but I talked to Ole Miss a couple of nights ago and I’m going to see where that takes me and just see about after this game,” he said earlier today. “I know there’s going to be plenty of coaches (at the all-star game), so just see what happens.”

Thompson said he was very tight with the former coaching staff. Retaining current offensive coordinator Blake Anderson could help keep Pearl’s receiver.

Thompson said new Ole Miss defensive coordinator Dave Wommack has called him and shown interest on behalf of the Rebels.

“He called me and talked to me and said they like big receivers,” Thompson said. “He asked me if I was interested and you know, of couse I told him yeah. It’s the SEC. You can’t pass that down.”

Thompson said he expects to make a final decision in a month or so and plans to make visits to Mississippi State, Ole Miss, “maybe” an out-of-state school and Southern Miss “just to see how everything is going to go down.”

Thompson also said there’s no sense in listing a top five because it could change after tomorrow if he receives more interest from other schools.

REBS STEPPING UP GAME FOR BROWN: The hiring of Hugh Freeze as Ole Miss’ next head coach appears to be a good thing with regard to the recruitment of Brown.

Ole Miss’ contact with Brown had dwindled over the last couple of weeks. That changed with the hiring of Freeze, who was recruiting Brown to Arkansas State.

“We have been talking and he made sure to call me right when he got hired and said, ‘we need to get you here. I’m going to do everything it takes,’” Brown said. “He means business. He has done a great job and is a great coach, that’s for sure.

Brown added: “Ole Miss was starting to not be in contact with me as much I guess as their season was going along because they weren’t doing good and the coaching change. They’re at full stride again.”

Brown doesn’t have a favorite as much as he has a cluster of schools atop his list of 14 scholarship offers.

“It’s probably going to come down to the Mississippi schools, LSU and Purdue or Vanderbilt,” he said. “Something like that. I’m going to take my senior trips and let everything settle down and then start narrowing down to make a decision soon.”

Don’t expect Brown to make his college choice public until signing day.

“I’ll probably know before signing day, but I don’t know if I’m going to tell anybody,” he said. “I’m really pretty confused right now. There’s a lot of stuff going on. It’s real confusing for me. There’s a lot of changes going on here and there and I’m just trying to narrow it down. I really am trying, I don’t have a secret school in my head.”

UNDERSTAFFED: Team Mississippi will have to overcome the loss of five players on Saturday. For various reasons Morton DT Quay Evans, Long Beach DT Nick James, East MarionRB Xavier Grindle, Lafayette QB Jeremy Liggins and Olive Branch WR D’Arthur Cowan will all be missed by the Magnolia All-Stars.

Evans, James, Grindle are all Mississippi State verbal commitments, Cowan is an Arkansas verbal and Liggins is uncommitted.

TELEVISION: Kickoff for Saturday’s game is set for 12:30 p.m. CT. The game will be televised on the following Mississippi stations: WLBT  in Jackson, WLOX  in Biloxi, WTOK in Meridian, WDAM in Hattesburg, WABG in Greenwood, WMC in Memphis and WCBI in Columbus. (December 9, 2011)

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