Two of the players I'd hoped to watch at the Auburn Nike Camp were safety Greg Hines and offensive lineman Josh Winchell from perhaps the top team in Mississippi, Southaven.
I ran into Hines Sunday just as we were being shooed out of the thunderstorm and into the indoor practice facility. I asked Greg if Michigan had been to his school. "No they haven't. I hope they come though. Definitely, I'd be interested in Michigan if they recruited me." I asked him his testing stats. "I measured 6-1. My 40 was bad, 4.6 seconds." (Note: he ran his 40 as the rain came down creating a slippery field). I didn't ask him his weight, but looked a rock-solid 200+ lbs. And Greg just had that unique 'headhunter' look in his eye -- like Ryan Mundy last year (and also like SoCal's Randy Estes this year).
As we were cooling our heels inside, waiting futily for the rain to stop, the players were grouped by position and received short talks from the camp coaches. So I took the opportunity talk to a Southaven assistant coach. "Most all of the SEC teams have been through the school to do evaluations. Notre Dame said they were coming, but haven't. And the kids would love to see Michigan, but I don't know if they are coming." I told him about Hines' 4.6 second 40 yard dash. "Well, I timed him at 4.47 earlier in the week. Hines plays all over for us: safety, wide receiver, and this year he will be our starting tailback. He has a qualifying GPA but hasn't taken a test yet."
Then the camp was cancelled and everyone started filing out. When Josh Winchell walked past I did a double-take. He looked huge at about 6-4 and 300 lbs., but he was in rock-solid physical shape, with a huge barrel-chest reminiscent of Gabe Watson's.
Tuesday evening I decided to give Josh a call, and I got a positive response when I asked him if Michigan had been to the school.
"Yes, Coach Jackson came in today (Tuesday). It went well ... he got my number, and Greg's ... he couldn't really talk to us."
Who are your favorites?
"Michigan, Nebraska, Texas, Florida, Florida State ... that's the order. I've always liked how Michigan runs the ball."
Who has offered you?
"MSU (Mississippi State) and Arkansas so far. Auburn said they were real interested and would offer me soon. Nebraska has been in here and they're recruiting me hard. MSU offered me and wanted me to commit to them right then, but I didn't."
What summer camps do you think you'll attend?
"I want to go to four of five camps. Vanderbilt, another one close by, and one or two others far away."
I asked him for his Nike stats.
"I was measured at 6-3 1/2, and weighed 291 lbs. That's strange actually. I'd been measured before recently without shoes at 6-4 1/2, 305 lbs." He joked, "It was a MSU fan that measured me at Auburn, right after I'd told him I wasn't committing there. And I scratched my 40 -- I'd been cramping up since Friday; I rested up Saturday but it happened again Sunday."
Winchell has a 2.8 GPA and had forty pancake blocks as a junior. He also has a 365-lb. bench press.
Hines made 110 tackles and six interceptions as a junior free safety.
Southaven finished 10-4 last season and lost in the state semi-finals (5-A, largest classification).
Southaven MS Kids Impress U-M
Gene's Page Top Stories
Dear Enjoying More OpportunitiesAfter serving a one game suspension for the dreaded "violation of team rules", Mississippi State sophomore wide receiver Malik Dear has worked his way back in to good graces and…
Gene's Page3:29 PM
Williams Finding Mid-Season FootingHe’s been shy about showing up for interviews as it is. Being asked to remove cap and backpack before a mid-week media meet might push Aeris Williams further in this direction. “Y…
Gene's Page4:25 AM
Sweat Talks StateMississippi State hit the junior college ranks hard this recruiting cycle with defensive linemen in mind. The Bulldogs will lose five seniors from their regular rotation up front…
Gene's PageYesterday at 7:36 PM
Feeding the DogsThere is a lot of practice, planning and preparation that goes into a typical day for the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Between film review, positional meetings, practice, strength…
Gene's PageYesterday at 9:16 AM
Cheering for #1The 2014 football season was by far the most exciting football season in Mississippi State’s history. Being on the sideline for the Number One team in the nation during that…
Gene's PageYesterday at 9:02 AM