An Early Look at Mississippi 2012

While college coaches are preparing for the home stretch to signing day 2011, they are also keeping an eye out for talented juniors in hopes of getting in first. The Mississippi 2012 class looks to be another talented group led by several blue chip defensive prospects. As the recruiting calendar turns from 2011, the 2012 prospects will soon be on the clock.

Mississippi lacked a marquee quarterback in the 2011 class, but there are a few candidates for next year that have a a great chance of inclusion in the Scout National 300.

Lafayette's Jeremy Liggins and Petal's Anthony Alford look to be the early favorites. Both signal callers already hold multiple SEC offers.

Alford is also a prized baseball recruit, so that may prove to be a real factor in his college decision.

A trio of pocket passers Lee Smith of Philadelphia, Alex Nicholson of Northeast Lauderdale and Griff Loftis are prospects who will likely benefit from some summer camping trips.

Wayne County's Jaleel Lacey, Olive Branch's Todd Mays and Laurel's Dontell Pruitt all line up behind center, but could make the move to another position on the college level.

The running back crop looks to be much deeper in 2012 than it was in 2011.

At this point the jewel of this grouping looks to be East Marion standout Xavier Grindle. With over 4,000 career rushing yards, Xavier will be in demand.

DeMarkus Dennis of Lafayette, James Booth of Harrison Central and Desmond Michael of Pearl River Central all have the look of work horse who can grind out the tough yards and wear a defense down.

Deonte Evans of McComb, Jordan Woods of Oak Grove, Percy O'Bannon of Charleston, and Quintavius Burdette of Senatobia all have the ability to play another position, but in the right system could remain a ball carrier.

Jaborian McKenzie is one of the fastest rising running back prospects in the state after making the move from Wilkinson County to Trinity Episcopal.

McKenzie is more of a scat back type who will make his yards on the edges.

Michael Hubbard of Meridian appears to be another prospect who appears to be maturing on and off the field.

2011 may have been the year of the wide receiver in Mississippi, but the cupboard is far from empty in the Magnolia State with that talented group of seniors moving on.

While there may not be an All-American in the group, there are several talented targets to consider.

Fred Brown of Jim Hill, Shelton Cole of Meridian, D.J. Thompson of Pearl and Christian Keene of Brookhaven Academy look to be outside receivers who can stretch the field.

Gulfport's Travon Travis, West Oktibbeha's Dwight Quinn, Columbus' Deonte Jones and Lake Cormorant's Steve Sanders are probable slot or inside receivers.

A trio of talented tight ends have already emerged on the scene as juniors.

New Hope standout Lawrence Brown, Brandon's Nelson Adams and Pearl River Central's Justin Boudreaux are all names to watch.

Mississippi produced a pretty nice crop of offensive lineman in 2011 and the 2012 group may prove to be equally as talented when the dust settles.

Provine's Cordaryl Gaines already holds a pair of SEC offers and that list is expected to grow.

Jamal Danley of Byhalia, Nathaniel Shelby of Jim Hill, Kirby Wixson of Pearl, Devon Desper of Madison Central, Tyler Gray of East Rankin Academy, Jocquel Johnson of Callaway, Cole Carter of Caledonia and Kel Thurman of Raleigh all have a real chance to play beyond the high school level.

While there are certainly some talented play makers on offense, the headliners will likely come from the defensive side of the ball in 2012.

Defensive end Channing Ward of Aberdeen has the early lead as the state's top overall prospect for his class.

Channing holds offers from nearly every SEC program.

Not far behind Ward is defensive tackle Quay Evans who projects as one of the top defensive tackles in the southeast if not the country.

Nick James of Long Beach, Jamal Malone of Jefferson County, Maurice Bennett of Madison Central and Issac Gross of South Panola will also be names fans become more familiar with as the process moves along.

There are some interesting junior names at linebacker as well.

While this grouping may not be long on flash, they are certainly not short on production.

Kevin Brothern of Bogue Chitto has a real blue collar appeal to him and he is a very heavy hitter.

Richie Brown of Long Beach has an amazing motor and a nose for the football. Brown is a very sure handed tackler who does the little things well.

Jamison Goins of Gulfport and Jerry McCorvey of Vancleave are both very impressive physically and strong at the point of attack.

Temario Strong of South Panola, Artis Thigpen of West Jones, Reggie Richmond of Byhalia and A.J. Jefferson have all turned in great 2010 seasons and will have college recruiters stopping by to gather information soon.

The defensive secondary looks to be pretty talented even though the numbers at first glance are a little thin.

Certainly more names will emerge through the summer camp sessions and when some players from other positions make the move to DB.

Adarrius Perkins of FCAHS is an extremely talented player who could wind up on either side of the football.

With so many programs looking for the big corner, who can handle man-to-man coverage Perkins will be a hot commodity.

James Northern of Rosa Fort, Austin Shumpert of IAHS, Steven Whittemore of Walnut, Corderyl Weathersby of Pascagoula, Travonte Fenton of Oak Grove and Josh Keys of Seminary are all players who will be on the radar pretty early.

The state also has a few kickers who will draw some interest.

Michael Mordecai of Jackson Academy helped lead his team to a state title and his kickoffs have a habit of finding the end zone.

Evan Sobiesk of Oak Grove and Latimer Smith might be prospects who help their cause next summer at the kicking camps.

Devon Bell of Warren Central made a name for himself this past summer when he produced some majestic punts that drew oohs and ahhs from on lookers.

There are certainly several other players who will emerge over the course of the next few months, but the early returns for next year look to be pretty solid.

At this point it is tough to really quantify the amount of depth in the class, but the state is very good at the top of the heap with names like Ward, Evans, Alford, Liggins and Grindle leading the charge.

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