I have been hard at work the past four months collecting information on all of the top junior football players in the state of Mississippi. I've already done tons of interviews with the biggest, strongest and fastest players in the state of Mississippi. And there are some potentially great players in the class of 2004.
The talent can be found in all areas of the state. Early indications are no section of the state will be left without at least one potential D-I prospect this year. There are kids that can bench in the 360 to 400 pound range. There are kids that weigh over 300 pounds and kids that weigh 160 pounds. There are kids that are 6'8" tall and kids that are 5'6". They run fast (10.7 meters) and then run faster (10.4). They jump high (36 inch vertical leap) and they jump long (22' in the long jump). There is even one youngster who can run a 10.7 second 100 meters, bench 400 pounds and squat 605 pounds. And no, he doesn't wear a red and blue cape with a large S on it, although I have to admit I didn't look to see what he had in his locker.
While the athletic talent is evident, some academic trends that have impressed me even more than the athletic trends are the number of kids who have already taken or are taking their ACT tests before their senior season. Of the youngsters that I have talked to, almost 95% of them have taken or will take their ACT prior to their senior season. Even more impressive is twenty percent of them have already made a qualifying or better score on their ACT. There is even one youngster who made a 21 on his ACT in the SEVENTH grade. And forty percent of them are doing extremely well in the classroom, with a 3.0 or better on their GPA. And most of the others are doing well enough to meet the NCAA academic eligibility requirements. Hats off to all the high school coaches in Mississippi for doing an exceptional job not only on the athletic field but the academic area as well.
By the way, 50% of the youngsters that I have talked to have heard of or have read Gene's Page, a few on a regular basis.
Over the next six weeks to eight weeks, I will be posting profiles (with photos) of approximately 100 high school juniors from the state of Mississippi on my page. The profiles will be primarily used to introduce you to all the players that have shown some indication that they have college talent, either on the D-IA or D-IAA level. Once the spring evaluation period comes and goes, I will be conducting additional interviews with these players to find out what colleges called them during that period and where they plan on camping this summer.
Before I finish, I want to thank not only the youngsters who were kind enough to take time out of their day or night, as the case may be, to talk to me, but also their parents for graciously allowing me, a stranger in a lot of cases, to talk to their sons. I hope every one of your sons are given the opportunity to live their dream of playing football somewhere on the college level.
With that said, it is now time for all of you who are absolute recruiting buffs to hold on to your hats and get ready for the biggest and best coverage of Mississippi State recruiting that you have ever seen on Gene's Page.
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com), the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports and Mississippi high school sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.