Recruiting Update

The first major recruiting weekend is upon us now, with many high-profiled prospects making their way across the South, and rest of the county, to visit their potential new university.<P> Among the 17 or so visitors this weekend in Starkville are Rory Johnson of Vicksburg and Kisan Flakes of Lovejoy, Ga. Both players seemed excited about the weekend, and had several positive things to say about Mississippi State and newly-named head coach Sylvester Croom.

Johnson, a 6-2 and 205-pound Dandy Dozen linebacker, plans to visit Nebraska next weekend following his trip to Starkville. Johnson is expected to travel to Oxford on Jan. 16 and LSU on the 30th of Jan.

Rory Johnson will be joined by Vicksburg teammate and wide receiver Maurice Taylor.

"Southern Miss is looking good but I am still looking at MSU and LSU," said Johnson. "I have already talked to Coach Croom and I think this weekend will be a good visit. I want to see if it is a comfortable place for me and see if I have a chance to play early.

"I want to check out the atmosphere off the field, and try to take in the night life. Me and Maurice always have fun together and we should again this weekend. It is always great to have a teammate around."

Kisan Flakes, 6-1 and 195, is rated among the top three signal callers in the state of Georgia. Flakes has plans to officially visit Illinois and South Florida along with his trip to Starkville this weekend. His other pair of visits are still up in the air.

"Right now, my mom and coach are dealing with the major part of recruiting," said Flakes. "I really like Mississippi State and they have shown that they want me, too. I have gotten to know Coach (Jim) Tompkins and I met a lot of the other coaches at summer camp.

"Of course, most of those guys are gone now since Croom arrived to be the head coach. I am anxious to check out their program and see how the atmosphere is with the team and campus."

Another Georgia product, Tristan Davis, will make the trek westward to Oktibbeha County next weekend, Jan. 15-17. Davis, 5-9 and 194, is being recruited as a defensive back and tailback. Before visiting the Bulldogs' program, Davis is visiting North Carolina this weekend along with a trip scheduled for Auburn on Jan. 22-24.

"Most of the schools are recruiting me as an athlete," said Davis. "They say I will get my first look on defense and that side would be my best chance of playing early. I really have no preference, but I love playing defense.

"I will probably wait to commit until my visits are all over. Nobody is really leading with me right now."

But Davis did note of his high interest in Mississippi State, especially with the fact of a new coach taking over the program.

"Mississippi State would be a good situation to go into," admitted Davis. "They are bringing in a whole new staff and every player has to prove himself all over again, and starting all at even. They have a lot of talent there. They just have to get it all in place now. And I believe they will soon."

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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