Steve Robertson -

South Bend, Indiana speedster John Michael Hankerson may return to his Magnolia State roots.

While the playoff race is heating up in the state of Mississippi, one Mississippi State recruiting target is already preparing for the second round of the post season. South Bend, Indiana product John Michael Hankerson did his part to help the Panthers of Washington High to a 45-0 shelling of Clay last weekend. Hankerson found the end zone with a 76 yard kickoff return as his team improved to 8-2 on the season.

"Things have been going really good," Hankerson said. "We are having a good year and we're getting ready for Andrean. It is the second round of the playoffs for us and I feel like we have a good chance.

"They like to throw the ball a lot and we like that. We don't get to play against too many teams that like to air it out. It should be a good game and we're excited about it."

Hankerson believes that he is playing some of the best football of his high school career. As a senior, he understands that the next game could be the past one on the prep level.

"I feel I have been playing pretty good," Hankerson shared. "I am just trying to make plays and help the team. I feel like we have a good chance to go all of the way this year if everybody keeps working hard."

Unlike most high school seniors, Hankerson knows that his playing days will continue after the emotions of senior day have long passed. The fleet footed wide out will trade the Friday Night lights for Saturday sports cathedrals. 

With a handful of offers to his credit, Hankerson is still considering his options. One school close to his heart has begun to emerge with favored status.

"I am liking Mississippi State right now," Hankerson said. "It feels like home there, well it would be like coming home."

Starkville was home for the Indiana 100 meter state champion sprinter at one time. Hankerson reports that he has weekly conversations with the Mississippi State staff about a possible homecoming.

"I talk with Coach G (Billy Gonzales) once or twice a week," Hankerson said. "We talk about just about everything. We talk about football and just about life. He is always telling me about how things are going down there and he wants to know how I am doing in school and all of that. 

"We have a good relationship and he says that they want me to come down there and play wide receiver for them."

The Bulldogs are not the only program in regular contact with Hankerson, who plans a late decision.

"I hear a lot from Western Michigan, Ball State, Indiana State and a few other schools," Hankerson said. "I have had some talks about setting an official visit, but I don't have anything set up yet. I am just trying to focus on my season right now."

With the season winding down, Hankerson will soon spend more time contemplating his college decision. The selection process is expected to continue for a bit longer.

"I am not sure what I want to do yet," Hankerson said. "I know I want to take all of my trips and then make my decision. I am just not completely sure where I want to go yet. I haven't really had a chance to visit any schools this season, so I want to do all of that before I make my decision.

"I don't know when I will know for sure, but I want to take my time and be sure I am making the right decision before I do anything."

Gene's Page Top Stories