Recruiting Update

After glancing at some of the top offensive players in the state of Mississippi, this week we skip to the defensive side to update several top recruits.

One of the state's top linebackers tabbed an early leader this week. Rory Johnson, 6-2 and 220 from Vicksburg High School, noted that LSU is a slight leader among the other 10 or so offers thrown his direction, including MSU, Alabama, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Arizona State.

"I may commit early and right now I would have to say LSU is my leader," said Johnson. "I have looked at MSU and that's a place I could play early."

Johnson unofficially visited the USM/Nebraska game and also expects to officially visit both of those schools along with LSU and maybe the MSU/Ole Miss game.

Another top defender getting his share of scholarship offers is defensive end Cedric Jones of top-ranked Wayne County. Jones has offers from Auburn, USM, MSU, West Virginia and Alabama. Jones noted of his interest in the Bulldogs along with Auburn and the Golden Eagles.

"I am looking at everybody right now and just seeing what different schools have to say," said Jones, 6-6 and 225. "I will probably commit during basketball season after I have a chance to look at it better."

Jones unofficially visited the USM/Alabama game last weekend and plans to be at the Auburn/MSU contest on Saturday. Jones also expects to visit USM and possibly Tennessee.

Xavier Mitchell of Long Beach High School has several recruiters making their way to the Mississippi Gulf Coats. Mitchell, a 6-3 and 290-pound defensive end/tackle, has received offers from MSU, Ole Miss, USM, Tennessee, LSU, Auburn and Arizona State. Mitchell, an all-state performer as a junior, has the Vols, LSU, Ole Miss and Arizona State among his favorites.

"I will probably commit after football season, or around January," said Mitchell. "I went to Arizona State last weekend and man was it hot. I am trying to visit LSU and Tennessee later on."

Unlike the trio mentioned above, the state's top recruit in some circles does have a lot of interest in Mississippi State.

Greg Hinds, 6-2 and 220, has been offered by almost every school in the SEC along with other national powerhouses such as Michigan and Nebraska.

Hinds is being recruited at several positions, mainly as a running back or future free safety at the next level.

"I really don't care where I play (position-wise) as long as I can help out early on," said Hinds. "I will wait until after the season to decide but I know I want to play in the SEC. The schools I have interest in are MSU, Auburn, Arkansas, South Carolina and Tennessee.

"State has a good campus and I like their coaches, too. I think I would have a chance to play early there. I know they are struggling right now but they are also playing a lot of young guys."

The lone offensive player updated this week is ranked as the state's top tight end prospect, Justin Jackson of George County. Jackson, who also lines up at receiver and wingback, has offers from USM, Ole Miss, MSU and Marshall with the Golden Eagles holding a slight edge.

"USM is my leader right now, mainly because I like the way they use their tight end in the offense," said Jackson. "But I will look at all of my options after the season, giving me more chance to concentrate on my grades."

Jackson plans to visit USM along with Ole Miss and possibly MSU, LSU and Auburn.

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

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