[Premium article] Offensive lineman Richard Burch of Brandon says after watching MSU sophomore quarterback Kevin Fant play his final two games under center, he believes Fant is as good a passer as Ole Miss' heralded Eli Manning.

"Kevin was throwing that thing pretty good in those last two games," Burch said. "I think he could jump up there and compete with Eli. He played better than Eli in those last few games.

"I think he just needed a chance to get that start."

Burch, 6-5, 300-pound lineman from Brandon, said even though coaches from Ole Miss have been calling him on a weekly basis, he said he's still firmly committed to MSU.

"I'm dead set on Mississippi State," Burch said. "I like the environment up there and the people and stuff. I'm planning on going on my official visit to MSU on Jan. 11.

"Ole Miss has been trying to get me to come up there on an official visit that following weekend but I don't think I'm going to go."

Burch said he's glad he'll be able to block for his former high school teammate, running back Jerious Norwood ‹ also a MSU commitment, when he suits it up for the Bulldogs.

"I like the idea of blocking for somebody that I'm already close to and know how they run," Burch said. "I feel like he's one of the best running backs in the nation."

MSU head coach Jackie Sherrill paid a visit to Burch's home in Brandon last week (Thursday, Dec. 6) for an in-home visit.

"It went good, he was telling about all the stuff my scholarship would include and about when I could report for summer workouts. I'm looking forward to going up there this summer.

"Coach Sherrill is cool. He's real laid back. My family liked him a lot too."

Burch can be found on the hardwood these days, playing center for the Bulldog basketball team, the team former MSU basketball star and assistant coach Greg Carter now coaches.

"Yeah, I've already lost a little weight since I have been playing basketball. Coach Carter's a tough coach. He's been running us to death."

Burch said when he straps on his helmet next year at MSU, he hopes to help lead the Bulldogs back to Atlanta for the SEC Championship game.

"I'm ready to get up there, make some friends and win a championship. We're going to make a run at it anyway."

Fredie Carmichael is a recruiting correspondent for Gene's Page. He is also a staff writer for the Meridian Star. He can be reached by email at fcarmichael@themeridianstar.com

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