Recruiting Update

This week we glance at the top-rated team in the state- South Panola High School. And like their Region 1-Class 5A counterpart Southaven, the Tigers have more than their share of Division 1 recruits on the defensive side of the football.

In the secondary, Mario Bobo has been tabbed one of the top three cornerback prospects. The 6-1 and 175-pound Bobo has offers from Ole Miss and Tennessee along with interest from MSU, Auburn and Florida.

"Most people are recruiting me as a cornerback and that is where I would like to play in college," said Bobo. "Tennessee is probably my leader right now but I won't commit to anybody until I take all of my visits. I plan to visit Tennessee, Ole Miss, Florida and I might visit Mississippi State.

"Right now, I would have to say I'm leaning towards going out-of-state. But you never know with recruiting."

Although he currently plays linebacker, Jamarca Sanford is also projected as a defensive back at the next level. Sanford, 5-11 and 200, has one offer from Ole Miss with interest in Marshall and the Bulldogs.

"I am really going to look at it after the season," said Sanford about recruiting. "I am looking obviously for a good school and good coaches. I want the chance to play early if I am ready, and play strong safety at the next level."

Sanford, just one of five juniors to make the 2002 all-state squads, admits that having teammates to discuss recruiting makes the process easier. Sanford said he would "visit whoever wherever", noting his open options.

"I think recruiting is a lot easier if you have friends and teammates going through the same stuff," said Sanford. "You can compare things and have more fun with it."

Another Tiger linebacker expected to face a position change in college is Peria Jerry. The 6-1 and 260-pound future defensive end has offers from Ole Miss, MSU, Tennessee and Auburn with no early favorite. He did note of the interest in the pair of in-state SEC schools.

"I think Mississippi State just has a young team and they will come together eventually," said Jerry. "I may consider them, too. I think Ole Miss has a great club also. But I am going to look at every school first before I make any decision.

"I will go out-of-state if I feel that a certain school is right for me. It all depends on the situation and how comfortable I feel there. But I don't have any favorites right now, just waiting to see who has the most interest in me. I would like to play defensive end and I think I would be better suited for that slot. But if needed, I can play linebacker, too, as long as I am on the field."

Linebacker Reterio Brown, 6-3 and 220, has been slowed since a mid-season tear of the ACL in his right knee. Although Brown has played through the injury, he still is receiving a lot of interest from the Division 1 in-state universities.

Rounding out with the defensive line, South Panola twins Kendrell and Lendrell Barksdale. The pair of defensive linemen stand at 6-4 and 255, and are expected to attract several offers before Signing Day arrives.

Lendrell has interest in nearby Ole Miss, MSU and Auburn with official visits planned for Oxford, Starkville and on The Plains.

"I will look at MSU's new coach and check that situation," said Lendrell Barksdale. "It may be somebody that grabs my attention. I have been to their camp before so I have some interest with Mississippi State."

Kendrell has garnered offers from Ole Miss and Tennessee with the Vols' an early front-runner.

"I definitely want to go somewhere that is used to bowl games," said Kendrell Barksdale. "It would be nice if me and my brother went to the same school."

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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