With another signing class having come and gone in the state of Mississippi, it is that time again where college coaches begin to evaluate and send out letters to future prospects for the Class of 2004, which should once again be solid in the Magnolia State.

Pictured: Harrison Central High School's Tony Burks"> With another signing class having come and gone in the state of Mississippi, it is that time again where college coaches begin to evaluate and send out letters to future prospects for the Class of 2004, which should once again be solid in the Magnolia State.

Pictured: Harrison Central High School's Tony Burks">

Football Recruiting Update

<img src="http://www.genespage.com/images/highschool/football/2004/burkstony.jpg" align="left" width="123" height="160"> With another signing class having come and gone in the state of Mississippi, it is that time again where college coaches begin to evaluate and send out letters to future prospects for the Class of 2004, which should once again be solid in the Magnolia State.<P> <small><em>Pictured: Harrison Central High School's Tony Burks</em></small>

Along with those letters of interest that many recruits will receive over the next couple of months, many soon-to-be senior football players are also checking their available list of football camps this summer. A couple of in-state products will begin their off-season journeys with invitations to the May 18th Nike Camp to be held in Auburn, Ala., Columbus High School quarterback/free safety Gabriel O'Neal and wide receiver Tony Burks from Harrison Central High School along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

O'Neal, a 6-foot-2 and 205-pound performer, played quarterback last season for Columbus and head coach Roy McCrory, mainly due to injuries in the CHS backfield. O'Neal also saw time in the defensive secondary and plans on doing both again in the fall.

"We start spring practice on Monday (April 28) and I will be playing quarterback and some free safety on the defensive side," said O'Neal. "I love to play outside linebacker, though, and that is probably my favorite spot on the football field. Plus, most of the colleges are recruiting me as a linebacker.

"The first camp I will go to is the Nike Camp and then I will also go to the LSU camp, Ole Miss camp and the Mississippi State day camp. I really want to find out what position these schools want me to play in college and just basically find out more about the colleges when I go to camp there. Almost everybody is looking at me in the SEC and I also have a lot of interest in MSU. But I just want to go and have a good time at the camps this summer. I will get to see how college life is, meet some new people and try to impress some folks."

Like O'Neal, Burks is considered to be one of the front-runners as far as the top recruits in Mississippi for the next gridiron season. Burks noted that currently, Ole Miss has shown the most interest so far, but it is way too early to name any kind of short list of favorites.

"Ole Miss has given me the most interest so far," said Burks, standing at 6-foot-4 and 195 pounds. "But I don't have any favorites right now and it will probably be awhile until I do.

"I am planning on going to the Nike Camp on May 18th, the Ole Miss camp and the Southern Mississippi football camp. I am still waiting to hear something from Mississippi State about their camp. But I am looking forward to the camps, seeing how people run their camps and how they treat us at that school."

With great size at the receiver slot, Burks also hopes to use the summer camp as not only a recruiting tool, but also as a chance to improve his God-given skills and talent.

"I want to see what I have to work on when I attend these camps," admitted Burks. "I will also have the chance to work against some good defensive backs, which will only help me to get better as a wide receiver. I want to have a lot of fun and meet a lot of new people. I hope I can pick up a lot of little things that will eventually make me a better receiver, in high school and at the next level."


Paul Jones is a recruiting correspondent for Gene's Page. Paul, also a sports writer for the Starkville Daily News, can be reached by email at sdnsport@netdoor.com


Gene's Page Top Stories