The Mississippi team will be without Columbia High's Jamal Pittman and Brandon prep All-American Jerious Norwood for the 15th Annual Classic.
"Pittman didn't even show up at mini-camp and we had to replace him right off the bat," said Mississippi coach Greg Wall. "With Jerious, we found out he couldn't play after the players arrived down here this week."
Pittman was replaced by Hernando's Kevin Dockery, a splendid runner who has surprised coaches this week with his versatility.
Dockery plays for coach Anthony Jenkins at Hernando. Jenkins, the Mississippi high school team's offensive coordinator, was a Mississippi State player in the late 1970s.
Players on the Mississippi squad said Norwood wore a specially-fitted boot for the entire mini-camp a few months back but was holding on to the hope that he could heal a bone spur malady in time for the game. He left camp and returned to Brandon on Tuesday.
Norwood's departure opened the door for D'Iberville's Torey Staten to be added to the squad. Staten rushed for over 6,000 yards in his splendid career and has signed with Delta State. His 500-plus game during his junior season at DHS set a new state record.
The other running back in camp is Leflore County's Terrance Williams and Mississippi coaches have obviously experimented with the passing game extensively during two-a-days.
MSU signees Brett Morgan and Aries Nelson have worked under center along with MSU signee Ken Topps. All three will see time, but all three have lined up elsewhere during the week of workouts.
Nelson and Topps could both play receiver, and Morgan is showing toughness as both a punter and defender when he has not been taking snaps.
"In this kind of game you line folks up all over," Wall said. "You let them play. They are all considered to be among the state's best so we'll stick them everywhere ... without putting them at risk of getting hurt by being too far out of position."
A pair of defenders has stuck out above the rest of the group this week. Auburn signee Timmy Duckworth of Taylorsville and Tennessee recruit Parys Haralson are getting solid reviews from defensive coordinator Roy McCrory of Columbus High.
Ole Miss signee Dedrick Clark, from Pontotoc, is also a player that is truly in his element this week.
Other notable players include linebackers Terrence White and Wayne Hardy, plus defensive back Darren Williams of Clarksdale.
Coaches say they are comfortable trotting Neshoba kicker Scott Shurden out onto the field after seeing him practice this week.
Tee Milons has shown some of the quickest feet in camp and defensive lineman Willie Evans of Wayne County has made his presence felt.
Pat Wright is a free-lance correspondent for Gene's Page.