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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Notes from Clarion Ledger’s Dandy Dozen photo shoot

VIDEO BLOG: This afternoon the Clarion Ledger held its annual Dandy Dozen photo shoot at Jackson State’s Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium.

The event is always great for the state’s media because it gives us the chance to talk to Mississippi’s top talent all at once (and for that, thank you to Rusty Hampton, Rod Walker and the folks at the CL for allowing us to be a part of it).

This year’s 12 talented Mississippians are as follows: Biloxi WR Scott Austin, Canton OL Daronte Bouldin, Jackson Prep QB Ryan Buchanan, South Panola DB Antonio Conner, Hollandale Simmons OL Kent Flowers, Byhalia OL Davion Johnson, Philadelphia DB Montreal Jordan, South Panola OL Deon Mix, West Bolivar RB Kailo Moore,  Starkville QB Gabe Myles, Itawamba AHS RB Ashton Shumpert and Columbus OL Jake Thomas.

Buchanan, Bouldin and Johnson are all verbally committed to Ole Miss; Austin, Flowers, Mix, Moore and Myles are all Mississippi State commits; Conner, Jordan, Shumpert and Thomas are all currently uncommitted.

Below, Buchanan discusses what it means to be one of the 12, Ole Miss, becoming a recruiter and a bit more.

Buchanan made it pretty clear what it means to be a member of the Dandy Dozen.

“It’s definitely an honor. Growing up in Mississippi, you kind of dream about seeing your face in the paper with the other guys but it really sinks in when you get the phone call saying your going to be in it and you see your face alongside the other guys,” he said. “I feel really blessed to be in there.”

GOING TO BE A WHILE: I talked to two of the currently uncommitted standouts. Shumpert said he’s being recruited the most by Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt. All three schools  are recruiting him as a running back. Shumpert said he enjoyed participating in MSU’s Big Dawg Camp last week and while he hasn’t visited Ole Miss recently, he said he’s hoping to take a visit “before the end of the summer.” When Buchanan committed to Ole Miss he said he was going to turn into a Rebel recruiter. According to Shumpert, Buchanan is making good on his promise.

“I just met Ryan from Jackson Prep. We talked a little bit,” he said. “It was my first time meeting him although I had heard about him. He put a little word in there, talking about coming to visit him.”

It doesn’t sound like Shumpert will be making a college commitment anytime soon.

“I’m still wide open. I’m just taking it slow, going to visit everybody and take it all in,” he said. “I usually say (I’m going to commit) during the season or signing day.”

Like Shumpert, Conner is in no rush to pledge his allegiance to any university. Conner lists Alabama, Mississippi State, LSU, Ole Miss and Georgia as his top contenders in no particular order and said he won’t commit anytime soon.

“There’s been a lot going on, people trying to get me to go to Mississippi State and Ole Miss. At the same time, they made their decision so when it’s time for me to make my decision I’ll make my own decision and not just go on what everybody else says,” he said. “I’m still looking. I’ve narrowed it down to some but I’m still looking into it.”

Conner plans to announce his decision during the Under Armour All-American Game in Orlando, Fla., in January and, according to South Panola head coach Lance Pogue, the state’s top player won’t be tipping his hand anytime before then.

“He has been very mature about it. He has kind of played his cards to himself and kept them in his pocket. You don’t really hear about him having reports on the internet or any of that,” Pogue said. “He just doesn’t do that. It’s just the way he is. He doesn’t care about that. He has said all along he’s going to make his decision about the time of the Under Armour All-American Game down in Orlando in early January and he really hasn’t wavered from that.

“I’ve told other reporters that if I was a fan I wouldn’t read into anything because he has shied away from the attention.”

For more from today’s photo shoot pickup a copy of Thursday’s Oxford EAGLE.

 (July 25, 2012)

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