The North half of the state has held the advantage the last several years when it came to producing the most college level football talent.
This year the south may be able to swing things in their direction. If the north is going to hold on to the advantage then several players are going to need strong summers and senior seasons to get firmly on the radar of college recruiters.
On Saturday on the grounds of Tupelo High School, I was able to get a good look at several prospects who are looking to make a name for themselves.
Guys like Willie Bradford of Charleston are a lot of fun to watch. Willie plays QB in high school, but his college future lies at another position. My best bet at this point is strong safety.
Bradford is one of those prospects who is flying under the radar just a bit, but if we lined up and played this past Saturday night he would be one of the first players to catch your eye getting off the bus.
At just a shade under six foot, Willie has packed on some serious bulk for a high school player. During the team drills, the defense was outnumbered by a pretty large margin, so there were plenty of reps to go around.
Bradford throw some balls in the one-on-ones and then ran some wide receiver in the 7-on-7s. Once the defensive players started getting winded, Willie threw on a yellow jersey and starting running down receivers.
I would want this kid on my team and events like Saturday are the perfect way to find prospect just like him.
Fellow quarterbacks Jeremy Collins and Witt Haggard led the seniors on the day. Kemper County's LaColton Bester rotated between throwing passes and catching passes.
While the seniors had their moments, the top QB on the Saturday turned out to be a junior, Itawamba AHS standout Mikhail Miller. Miller has a very natural throwing motion and he has good arm strength. He is still developing, but he has very good potential.
Horn Lake was well represented on the day with three very nice offensive players in Bakari Trotter, Camaren Harris and Justin Jones. Harris was among the event leaders in the 40 at 4.53. His top end speed made him a very tough draw in the one-on-ones and the 7-on-7s. He came into the event as an unknown. He left as the event's best offensive player.
Another prospect who made a name for himself in the passing drills was Hamilton, Alabama product Codey Frederick. Codey adjusted well once the ball was in the air and he snagged a handful of passes off of the deflection. Defenders were not in a big hurry to line up across from him.
The tight end grouping was very nice. Reed Gordon edged out Dillon Mitchell for the All-Combine team, but the two were almost tied. The biggest difference was Gordon's ability to catch the ball in traffic. A junior to watch is West Lauderdale's Daniel Knox.
The offensive line class in the state of Mississippi is still under evaluation and a couple of players took a nice step forward on Saturday. DeSoto Central's Spencer Hudson was the consensus pick as the top offensive lineman with Rosa Fort's Donald Hawkins also in the conversation. Hudson has made a lot of improvement since last spring. He is in much better shape physically and he is much more fluid in his movements.
Hawkins has the frame you are looking for in an offensive tackle. He will need to add some mass on the next level, but he appears to have the frame to add bulk without hurting his overall athleticism.
The defensive line was highlighted by two of the best looking underclassmen I have observed at one of these events. P.J. Jones and Channing Ward simply stole the show in the big men one-on-ones.
A pair of Tennessee products drew rave reviews for their work in the positional drills. Memphis, Tennessee native Lawrence Peterson continued his strong spring. He was the first linebacker mentioned for the All-Combine team.
Ty Garvin of Kingsport, Tennessee earns the award for longest drive. The ten hour trek paid off for Ty as he was easily one of the best in his grouping. A very vocal player, Garvin was a favorite among his peers.
The best cover guy in attendance was junior Ben Brooks of NE Lauderdale. Ben ran 4.53 and 4.56 with the wind and against it respectively. Under ideal conditions, I could see him getting into the 4.4s. He still has some areas he can improve especially with the jam, but his recovery speed is excellent.
Perhaps the defensive MVP during the 7-on-7s was Starkville's Billy Shed. Billy reeled in a handful of interceptions taking three of them back for touchdowns. Shed is not blessed with great straight line speed, but he simply has a nose for the ball when it's in the air.