Notebook: Tony Conner can do it all

HOOVER, Ala. – South Panola may have fell to Hoover, but they definitely had the most electric player on the field. Antonio Conner is a 2013 athlete and the South Panola (MS) may have been the best player there.

South Panola did not win their game (lost 24-13 to Hoover) , but one of their players impressed Scout enough to become one of their top prospects in 2013. No rankings have been released yet, but when they are, expect Antonio, who goes by Tony Conner to have five stars beside his name.

Connor had a 77 yard punt return for a touchdown and a five yard touchdown run accounting for both touchdowns for South Panola. He had over a 100 yards rushing and he played very well on defense too. He played very physical on both sides of the ball, but what he did was not enough.

It was tough to lose, but he is ready to move forward.

"We have to go back home, look at the mistakes we made, correct them, forget about this loss, and get focused on our next game," said Connor.

They play Memphis University on Friday and like he did against Hoover, the 6-foot-1, 200 pound athlete will play on both sides of the ball. He's okay with that, but he has one side he likes better than the other.

"I will play where the coach needs me, but if I could choose, I would play defense in college. I really like safety, I think I am a better player at safety, and I just like defense. I haven't really talked with schools yet about position, but safety is the position I'd choose if I could."

He will likely be recruited to play safety and he should be recruited by schools across the country. Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and Texas A&M are the schools he named when asked about offers, but he said none of those lead yet.

"I am still just a junior and I am still looking for the next place that I'll call home. I think by the time I am a senior I will know where that is, but right now, I am open, and just looking around."

Ole Miss Commits Perform Well

Issac Gross and Temario Strong are 2012 stars for South Panola and both showed why the Rebels pursued them in this game.

The most impressive one was Strong. He made tackles outside the box, he showed good speed to the ball, and he showed good strength at the point of attack. The 6-foot-2, 220 pound senior is built much more like a linebacker than defensive end, so where he lines up on the next level is something to keep an eye on.

Gross did not make as many individual plays as Strong, but he still affected the game. He showed good quickness off the ball, that stood out more than anything. He is a little undersized at 6-foot-2, 260 pounds, but he uses that size to his advantage. He played low off the ball and he was able to get into gaps with his quickness.

Overall, Strong made more plays and may show up more on film, but Gross may have a little more upside. He really gets off the ball well and can get pressure up the middle.

There is no doubt where they are going to college either – when they were asked about their commitments, neither said anything to make anyone think twice about them being Rebels.

Hoover's Baseball Star Shined on the Gridiron

Sam Gillikin is heading to Auburn - No, not to play football, but to play baseball. The baseball star out of Hoover showed he can play well on the gridiron too, not just the diamond.

He threw for over 180 yards and he had over 260 yards of total offense in Hoover's win over South Panola on ESPN Saturday afternoon. "It was a real confidence booster for me and for us as a team to win this game," said Gillikin. "It was my first game as a starter and a lot of us that did not play a lot last year (Gillikin was injured in 2010) had to play well today. It was a big win for all of us."

Gillikin is headed to play centerfield for the Auburn Tigers, but for now, football is on his mind.

"I really enjoyed the atmosphere out here. We have great fans and we will enjoy this victory, but we will get back to work soon. We want to win a state title and we have to stay focused. We beat a very good team, but we know it is just one game."

This one game though will help them the rest of the way.

"To get this type of win is only going to help us play better. We believe, we will play with confidence, and we will continue to prepare hard. We have a big game against Spain Park next week, so we need to use this game to help us with that one."

Is Humphrey the Next Elite Buccaneer Recruit?

Bobby Humphrey was a star at the University of Alabama when he rushed for over 3,000 yards playing for the Crimson Tide in the late 80s. Now, Humphrey has a son that could be the next top prospect to come out of the Hoover program.

Marlon Humphrey is a track and football star for the Hoover Buccaneers and the 6-foot, 170 pound sophomore is already attracting some attention from schools in each sport.

Football will likely be the way he gets to attend college for free and although his father played for the Crimson Tide, Marlon says he is open.

"I really want to play in the SEC. I do not have any favorites right now, but I just like the SEC style of play. It is a very competitive conference, they have strong academics, great players are on each team, and it is the conference I love," said Humphrey.

Expect to hear more about this 2014 prospect in the coming years.

Mixed Emotions for Deon

Deon Mix already has offers from Alabama, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and Southern Miss. He is only a junior and the offensive tackle out of South Panola has mixed emotions after Saturdays loss to Hoover.

"I really like it in Alabama and I have a lot of interest in playing football here, but I do not like to lose," Mix said. "I can't stand losing, we were 15-0 last year, and it is tough losing here no matter how much I love being in Alabama."

The 6-foot-5, 305 pound junior knows there is always the next game though.

"We will bounce back. This will be a real test for us. We won it all last year and we did not lose a game, so this loss was tough. We still have to get back to work and aim for the original goal, to win another state title."

Although the loss left a sour taste in his mouth, Mix still loves Alabama.

"It still felt great to be in Alabama, I really like their program, and I am still going to take a long look at Alabama. I won't say they are my leader right now because I am open to everyone, but I still like them a lot. I know I will be back in this state to see them."

Chad Simmons started out with Scout in 2003 covering top talent in Georgia and the South. He then moved on to another Recruiting Service from 2004-2008 before returning to Scout the first of 2009 to become South Recruiting Manager. After less than three years, Simmons was moved to National Recruiting Analyst in July 2011.
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