"We are all going up there Friday," Breeland Speaks said about his
upcoming trip to Ole Miss. "I have been up there several times before but
this will be my first chance to see Ole Miss without all of the cameras around.
I think it is going to be pretty cool."
Scout.com's #50 rated defensive end has tripped to Ole Miss several times before but never for a non-football game or camp function.
"That is why I am so excited about this trip. I will get to spend a lot of one-on-one time with their players and coaches. I want to see how their drills are run and how the coaches interact with their players. What type of tempo do they practice? I want to see if I can operate at that level of intensity. We are going to go up there and watch them practice Friday and then the rest of the weekend we are just going to chill with their players and coaches. Just see what it is all about on an every day basis."
Two of Breeland's teammates, Dayall Harris and Ronald Walker, have already committed to Ole Miss. The Rebels are trying to add Speaks and another teammate Roderick Taylor to the list.
"It is always cool to play with somebody you have already been playing with for a number of years. All four of us have been playing with together since we were like in pee-wee ball. But at the end of the day Dayall and Ronald told us that if we come with them that would be really cool, but if not, then we will just knock heads against one another. That has been the mentality the whole time, but with Justin Bell being on their team that is a huge plus for me. He has always been a role model for me. Aaron Morris is also playing for them and we are real cool. I just ask those two a lot of questions about their experiences at Ole Miss, and they give me an inside view of what it is really like."
What have his former teammates said about their experiences at Ole Miss?
"They love it up there. Their coaches will work you hard but they want what is best for off of the field. They told me that as long as I am doing the things I am supposed to be doing then they are going to work hard for me. It is really the same way at any school though. They just tell me that they made the right choice for themselves and now I have to make the best decision for me."
What has stood out about Ole Miss so far for the Class 5A All-State selection?
"I just like their coaching staff. I love the way coach Freeze has turned that program around. He is building a big time program up there. Everybody has some of the best facilities so you really can't go off of that but I love their facilities up there too. I also love coach (Derrick) Nix. We are really close and having my former teammates playing up there is a big plus. It is good having some players that I looked up to playing up there. Like I said before, they kind of give me an inside view of what it is like playing up there."
Who else is heavily involved in the 6' 3", 255-pounder's recruitment?
"MSU, Auburn, and Alabama."
Each school sees a little different role for Speaks.
"Ole Miss is talking about me playing middle linebacker or standup defensive end. MSU and Auburn are talking about me playing defensive end, and Alabama likes me at outside linebacker or kind of like a standup defensive end.":
Breeland played defensive end until this past season. He moved to middle linebacker and led his team in tackles. Which position does he see himself playing on the next level?
"I think I will probably be a standup defensive end or move inside (to defensive tackle). It really does not matter to me."
The Jackson native had a chance to visit Mississippi State this spring.
"It was a good visit. They have a good school. I like coaches (David) Turner and (Dan) Mullen. They are cool guys. They are building something special up there too. Chris Jones and I went to the same camp together last summer, and he was the first one to greet greet me when I got up there. He wants me to come join him up there at Mississippi State. I like coach Mullen too."
Auburn's recruiter, Melvin Smith, recruited him while he was the coach at Mississippi State.
"He's a real cool coach. I got a chance to visit them a few weeks back. It is a pretty cool place with coach (Gus) Malzahn down there now. I spoke to coach (Rodney) Garner a lot. He had one of the best defensive lines in the country while he was over there at Georgia. He has put a lot of people in the draft. That was really my first time to ever go down there. I watched the Alabama/Auburn 30 for 30 show on ESPN so it was neat to see what it is really all about behind the curtains. I was going to go to the Iron Bowl last season, but I decided not to go because I knew it was going to be a blow out."
The Tide's winning ways has really caught Speaks' attention.
"I visited Alabama for Jr Day this spring too, and I have been to a couple of their games. They are the number one team in the nation. What's there to say that has not already been said? It was nice to talk to coaches (Nick) Saban and (Chris) Rumph. I got to see what they actually do to be the number one team each year. I also got to meet a lot of their freshmen and some of the guys who graduated early from high school like I am going to do. Wherever I go I will be enrolling in December."
What did the coaches at Alabama say about Breeland's future in Tuscaloosa?
"They just told me that I would probably be playing outside linebacker or rush end. They have not offered me yet. If they do they do and if they do not I am not too much worried about it."
Breeland will enroll at his school of choice in December. Does that speed up his time-frame for a decision?
"No, not really. I am just going with the flow. I am soaking everything in at a slow pace and whenever I make my decision it will be final."
Which school has been the most consistent throughout Speaks' recruitment?
"Actually Ole Miss. They were the first school to offer me, and coach Nix and I talk pretty much every day. We talk on twitter a lot too. That is the coach I am closest to."
Speaks had 136 tackles and 3 sacks last season.This year he is looking to improve on a few things.
"I want to work on my quickness so I can play faster. I want to get off of my blocks faster. I think my junior year went pretty good especially with me playing linebacker for the first time, but I am looking to take it up a level this year and hopefully help take our team deep into the playoffs. We have a lot of talent on our team. I feel like we have underachieved since I have been here. We are all kind of looking at ourselves and saying we can't let this happen again. We want to go out on a high note."
Yancy Porter is the Mississippi Scout for Scout.com and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org