MSU Football Camp a Huge Success

Mississippi State football enjoyed another very successful camp last week. With over 800 campers in attendance from states throughout the southeast and southwest, the camp received high accolades from campers and the high school coaches.

Carthage (Miss.) High School head coach Pete Lucovich, a five-year veteran of MSU camps, said, "it is very rewarding because you get the chance to see some of the top athletes from across the south. As a coach, it is very rewarding to coach people like Michael Spurlock, Jerious Norwood and Darren Williams. And coaching the all-state game in Mobile last year, those were the same type players I coach at the camp here. I love coaching high school football. It is what I have done for 26 years. It really gets you charged up to see kids like this and get the chance to coach them."

Not only does coach Lucovich see it as a camp where high school coaches can coach great players that they normally would not, but he also sees it as a good recruiting tool for Mississippi State. "I think State does a great job with it. It is certainly a good recruiting tool. The past few years it has been very fruitful for them."

As an example of what coach Lucovich was referring to, this past recruiting season Mississippi State had one of the top recruiting classes in the nation with the signing of four Parade All-Americans, several of whom have camped at MSU.

Coach Lucovich also sees it as a great deal financially for the high school players and their parents. "They pay $50 (to attend the camp). They come here, spend the night, get a t-shirt, get a chance to see the campus and meet other players from other schools. It is very inexpensive because they don't have to pay $200 or $300 (like a lot of other camps charge)."

Heritage Academy (Columbus, Miss.) head coach Herbert Davis also came away impressed with the camp. In fact, because he joined Heritage Academy this past spring, the passing aspect of the camp is exactly what his team needed since it gives him a chance to see his offense's passing game.

"This is perfect for us. We have people who can run and catch the football and we have a quarterback (Conner Wise) who can pull the trigger. He is going to be a good one."

And this will not be the last time Heritage will be attending the camp. "Next year, we are going to come to both camps because we are so close (Columbus is 24 miles away from MSU)," said Davis. "That will be the only two team camps that we will go to. By doing that, we will get about 28 games against great competition. We are a small school and probably everybody here is a bigger school than us."

While the coaches that I talked to were very excited about the camp, the players may have been even more excited.

Heritage Academy's 6-6, 215-pound tight end Dudley Swoope, a two-time veteran of the MSU camp, has gotten a lot from the camps that he has attended. "In the 9th grade, I came to a defensive line camp here. It was a lot of fun. You learn of lot about fundamentals. They really work with you on ripping, cutting and other techniques. It is a lot of one-on-one work. They actually teach you a lot at your position. It is one of the best (camps) that I have been to."

Dudley also sees another advantage of coming to a camp such at MSU's. "Being from a private school, you don't get to play public schools. Here, you get to play everybody. You get to see how you stack up against 4A public schools."

Dudley was also impressed with the price of the camp, especially when you compare it to other camps he has attended. "It is very reasonably priced. It is a lot cheaper than anything else that I have been to. I went to the Manning Passing Academy and it was about $300 to $400. Southern Miss' was like $300."

He also felt the meals were impressive. "The meals are great. It is the best cafeteria that I have been to compared to the others that I have been to."

Two of the top senior tight ends in Mississippi, Linzy Patterson (Amory HS) and Dezmond Sherrod (Caledonia HS) also had fun at the camp.

"It is great," said Linzy. "Going one-on-one with the DBs puts your ability on the line. You really get to see what you are all about."

While Linzy enjoyed the competition, Dezmond probably enjoyed the food just about as much as the competition. "The food is awesome," said Dezmond after first talking about how much fun he had playing against the different levels of competition.

Two of the top senior quarterbacks at the camp, Jeremy Young (Jackson-Provine HS) and Zac Champion (Bessemer Academy) also saw some things about the camp they really liked.

Jeremy, a three-year camp veteran, said, "I like the coaching staff and Coach Sherrill is a good coach. I have played against a lot of good players in the state and from out of state."

He also mentioned that the price of the camp is an advantage for Mississippi State. "The price is fine with (my parents). I am not going to any camps that cost $200 or $300."

Zac took it a step further and said, with a lot of excitement in his voice, that, "being down here at Mississippi State is great. The coaches are great. The camp is incredible. All we do is seven-on-seven. I have been to other camps before this. At those camps, you do more drills, things you would do in the off-season. Here you have seven-on-seven games, competing against other people. It is great. I love it. All of the guys on my team love it. We are having a great time. It is a blast."

As with all the other campers, food came up during the interview. According to Zac, "the food here is great, man. I told all of my teammates the food is good here. They all loved it."

A veteran of the first camp this summer, Mississippi State commitment, senior linebacker Ken Griffith (Brandon, Miss. HS) likes the competition of the camp. "You get to play against other players in the state. You get to test your talent against theirs. That will help you out in the long run."

An expected Clarion-Ledger Dandy Dozen selection, Ken had something specific in mind that he wanted to do during the just-completed camp. "I'm trying to work on my coverage. This seven-on-seven camp helps me a lot."

Facing quarterbacks who threw upwards of 30 passes per game, he easily accomplished that goal.

One of the top senior wide receivers in the state, Jim Hill HS's Jason Husband, also had some nice things to say about the camp. "You get to play against a lot of players and you get to have fun while you are here. It is a good experience."

He also liked the fact that he faced not only a lot of players but many that he had never seen before. "Everytime I play against a team, I go up against a new player. I have to come up with different moves everytime."

While those were some of the top players, a few of the other top players at the camp included Wayne County (MS) HS athlete Akeem Lofton, Carroll (Southlake, TX) HS defensive end Jake Benoist, Callaway HS offensive lineman Donovan Davis, Eupora HS quarterback Cliff Davis and wide receiver Eric Marshall, Brandon HS fullback Bobby Weakley, Philadelphia HS quarterback Tyler Threadgill, Columbus HS linebacker Quinton McCrary and Provine HS defensive back Quinton Culberson.

Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at

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