Football Recruiting Update

[Premium Article] Like always, college football teams can never possess too many offensive linemen and recruiters will attempt to recruit as many as possible. With the Mississippi State rushing game falling short of expectations the past couple of years due to injures or inexperience up front, it is no secret that MSU hopes to bring in another solid young group, looking to get back to a punishing ground game.

With 2003 signees Donovan Davis and David Price expected to push for time in the O-line rotation in the fall, MSU is beginning to widen their search for more big bodies in February of 2004. Of course, there will be the usual three or four standouts in Mississippi, but the Bulldog are also keeping tabs on a lot of unheralded prospects, including rising prep seniors Nathan Waltman of Southaven and Josh Crockett of Independence.

Waltman, standing 6-foot-3 and 290 pounds, is getting ready for another busy summer of football camps, while also seeing his recruiting interest pick up slightly.

"MSU has called my coaches and South Carolina said they really like what they saw on a tape of me," said Waltman. "I would say that Marshall has shown the most interest so far and they are close to offering me. But I grew up a Bulldog fan and would have to say they are my favorite right now."

Waltman also has as many as five teammates receiving Division 1 interest, including highly-regarded Greg Hinds (defensive back) and Josh Winchell (offensive lineman). Having started at right tackle the past two seasons, Waltman noted that having friends and teammates going through the same recruiting process only makes it easier.

"We got about five or six guys getting looked at and have a lot of talent on our team," said Waltman. "It is great to be able to talk about recruiting with guys on the team. It is fun to see who is looking at whom and overall that just helps you get prepared better. I think it just makes the whole experience better all around.

"I am going to the MSU camp, Vanderbilt camp and Middle Tennessee State camp this summer and might try to go to one more," said Waltman. "I just hope to get noticed by someone this summer and let them see me play. I also want to learn a few things and pick up some new blocking techniques."

Crockett, 6-foot-3 and 260 pounds, helped lead Independence High School to an 8-3 mark with a playoff berth in the 2002 state playoffs. The offensive tackle is drawing interest from several Division 2 schools and hopes to catch more eyes this spring and summer.

"Spring is going pretty good right now," said Crockett. "I am working at offensive and defensive tackle in spring practice. I didn't play both last year but it looks like I am going to play both ways this fall. But my favorite spot is on the offensive line.

"Right now, the Nike Camp in Auburn is the only camp I have lined up. I am hoping to go to a couple more that are close by. I went to the Ole Miss camp the past two years and I want to try to get down to the Mississippi State camp. But our team did not go to the team camp last year and I don't think we are going this summer either."

Crockett has received a few letters and mentioned his interest in MSU, Southern Mississippi and Delta State University, with the Bulldog being his top choice if offered a scholarship. Crockett is currently working on his game and strength in order to move up higher on the recruiting scene.

"I am planning on spending the whole summer trying to get stronger and faster," admitted Crockett. "I am really focusing on my footwork and trying to improve my speed there. I also want to use my hands quicker in order to block better. And I am looking forward to the season and hope to keep getting better every day."

Paul Jones is a recruiting correspondent for Gene's Page. Paul, also a sports writer for the Columbus Commerical Dispatch, can be reached by email at

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