There are a lot of great players in the state of Mississippi this year. And there is no doubt whatsoever that Hattiesburg High School defensive end Milton Talbert is one of those players, especially when you consider his early scholarship offers.
"To my knowledge, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Southern Mississippi, Tennessee (have sent written offers) and Alabama offered me verbally and Coach Dunn, from Auburn, told me that they are going to give me a scholarship," said the 6-2, 235-pounder.
With so many offers received prior to the beginning of summer, going to football camps hasn't been high on his priority list, but he does have plans on attending a couple with his team.
"I might go to (the) Mississippi State (7-on-7) camp," said Talbert. "I'm trying to get to that one because our team goes up there. I'm also going to try to go to the Southern Miss 7-on-7 camp this Saturday with my team. I went to a lot of camps my 10th 11th grade years and that almost killed me. This year, I told my coach that I was only going to camps my team went to. The last two years, I really haven't been with my team too much because I was trying to go to camps to prove myself."
Since he knows, based on his offers, what teams are showing the most interest in him, who are Talbert's early favorites.
"This is not in any kind of order, but Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Southern Mississippi," said the speedy defensive end. "I kind of like Auburn and Tennessee. I like all of them, really. They are all kind of medium because I haven't had the chance to see all of them."
What does he know about each of those five schools?
"Ole Miss is the school that I have seen the most," said the senior-to-be. "My junior year, I went up there for their Senior Day Camp. I got the chance to meet (former Ole Miss head) Coach Cutcliffe and I also got to talk to (Ole Miss assistant) Coach (Matt) Luke, who happens to still be there. I've also been up there for their Junior Day. I've seen (Ole Miss head) Coach (Ed) Orgeron. He's a real excited person. I've never seen a coach like him. They called me a lot when they were able to call me and sent a lot of letters."
Something else that could be in Ole Miss' favor is a Hattiesburg area player that currently plays for Ole Miss.
"At Ole Miss, I know (former Oak Grove High School player) Garry Pack," he said. "I don't know him, but I've talked to him a couple of times."
As for Mississippi State, he said, "I've heard a lot of good things about (Mississippi State head) Coach (Sylvester) Croom. He called me one time (during the May evaluation period) and we talked. You know how some recruiters call you and talk about football, but when I got on the phone with him, Coach Croom was talking to me about life. You almost wouldn't know he is a football coach because he barely mentioned it. The way he talked to me was like a father to son talk. I respect him. I'm pretty sure he will be a great coach to play for one day."
He also made it a point to mention the Mississippi State assistant coach that is recruiting him and the positive impression he left due to something he did while at Hattiesburg High School.
"I've seen (Mississippi State assistant) Coach Kitchens, too," said Talbert. "He was with (MSU signees and former teammates) Charles (Burns) and Calvin (Wilson). Charles told me that he can't say anything to me because it is against the rules. If you don't play by the rules now, you won't play by the rules later."
While he likes and respects coaches Croom and Kitchens, another factor that may be in MSU's favor are the aforementioned Charles and Calvin.
"At Mississippi State, I have Charles and Calvin," said Talbert. "We are real close, real tight."
He mentioned that his two buddies are already recruiting him for Mississippi State, although they've been unsuccessful, so far.
"They talk to me, trying to get me to come to Mississippi State, but I told them I'm going to wait until the time comes," said Talbert.
Like Ole Miss and Mississippi State, he's also had the opportunity to visit with Southern Miss coaches.
"I've been there and talked to (Southern Mississippi head) Coach (Jeff) Bower and (assistant) Coach Johnson," said Talbert. "They are real nice people and nice coaches. And Southern Miss is close to home. It's probably a couple of miles from my house."
The last two favorites are schools that he doesn't really know much about, yet.
"I don't know too much about Auburn, but I watched them on tv," he said. "I thought that they should have gone to the national championship (game). They have some good players down there. They were No. 3 in the nation.
"I've watched Tennessee on tv, too. But, I don't know too much about them. Tennessee was second to Auburn (in the SEC). They were a pretty good team."
What will be his main criteria when it comes time to select a college?
"Education is No. 1," Talbert quickly said. "I have to have that. And the people that I will be around. I like to be around good people. I can go to a winning program or a program that has had success, but I feel like some good players can go into a program and make it better. Like Mississippi State - I think they are going to be real good this year, because they got some good recruits. The next couple of years, you better watch out for Mississippi State."
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Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing email@example.com.