Olive Branch 4

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Illustrated and The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas, Dudley E. Dawson writes about Mississippi's version of the Springdale 5. This story is sponsored by the Arkansas Toyota Dealers. It's free and so is a special offer to attend a Razorback event on the Arkansas Toyota Dealers website.

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While the University of Arkansas football coaches live and work close to the Springdale 5, they also spent Friday night just down the road from where the Olive Branch 4 has made their name.

  That's a quartet of Mississippi prep stars all playing for Olive Branch - defensive tackle Victor Thomas (6-4, 255), quarterback Anthony Summers (6-3, 200, 4.55), wideout Markeith Summers (6-1, 192, 4.6) and safety-wideout Allen Walker (6-2, 200, 4.55) - who have put up a ton of points just like the Red Bulldogs this season.

    In fact, the Conquistadors started the season with a 64-0 win over Memphis Kingsbury then buried Shelby (Miss) Broad Street 77-0 and have been over 50 points on five occasions this season while outscoring their foes 497-109 on the season.

  Obviously there is no 35-point mercy rule in Mississippi like we have here in Arkansas allowing Olive Branch (10-1), ranked third in Class 5A, to pile up the points.

    "We've been pretty good this year to say the least," Thomas said. "We've got a lot of great athletes here at the same time and we've really played well as a team. It's been a pretty good year. We've just had one week we would like to have back and maybe we'll get a shot at them again." 

  Thomas is referring to a a 27-3 loss to national powerhouse Batesville (Miss.) South Panola (11-0), a team ranked No. 11 in the USA Today poll and who is currently riding a 41-game winning streak.

    That game was played before 12,000 fans in what turned out to be for both for the conference title and the top spot in the state.

    ""They earned No. 1, and until we beat them, they'll remain No. 1," Anthony Summers noted after the loss.

  The two could very well meet again in the playoffs if Olive Branch can come through with a playoff run beginning this Friday night with a matchup against visiting Warren Central.

    The Conquistadors are coming in off a 35-14 win at Tupelo where Anthony Summers threw four TD passes and Markeith Summers caught three of those scoring strikes from his brother and also picked off a pair of Tupelo passes while Walker hauled in the other TD toss. 

  "We went out and finished the regular season up on a good note and got Anthony back after his hand injury and he played really well," Thomas said. "I think we are tuned up and ready to go."

    Arkansas, whose team spent Friday night in Olive Branch before rallying to whip Ole Miss 28-17 the next day, has offered scholarships to all four Conquistadors, but so has a ton of other schools.

  The Razorbacks are in there with schools like Florida and Tennessee, who are recruiting all four as well.

    "It's been nuts around school with the all the coaches coming by and calling," Thomas said, "but that's good, too, because it lets you know they are respecting you as players. It has made it hard to make a decision and try to figure out which school to go to."

  Thomas has already set three visits to LSU (Dec. 9-11), Tennessee (Jan. 13-15) and Mississippi State (Jan. 20-22). He could take a visit to Arkansas on Dec. 2-4, but would rather do that at a later date because that is the weekend of the state title game.

    "We need to be playing in the state championship that weekend, not taking visits," Thomas said. "There's a chance we might all come up to visit Arkansas at the same time, but we don't want it to be that weekend."

    He is also taking a look at Ole Miss, LSU, Tennessee and Memphis.

    "Our defense has just gotten better and better all year," Thomas said. "As for myself, my strength is really getting off the ball quick and with some power."

  Walker has told Scout.com recently that Ole Miss and Florida are his co-leaders right now and he also plans to visit Clemson, LSU and possibly Arkansas. 

  The Summers brothers both have Florida and Ole Miss high atop their lists with Alabama, LSU, Georgia and Arkansas to name a few.

  "We're all going to get down to the recruiting soon, but right now it's got to be about winning and playing football every Friday night," Thomas said. "We really want to win this thing."


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