King's Treatment

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Rosedale, Miss., running back Kailo Moore arrived in Montgomery for the week-long buildup to the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Classic with but one goal.

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Moore, a four-star prospect, has been weighed down by the constant pressures of the recruiting process, flooded with phone calls and texts and tweets, from college recruiters to fans of opposing schools.

"I just want to come here and just have fun, be in high school pads one last time for my senior year," he said following practice Tuesday morning. "Just try my best to help Mississippi get a win over Alabama."

Here he can keep his focus centralized. Fooball. Only football.

"It means a whole lot to me," he said of playing in the game. "I've just been working hard for it since I've been playing football, starting out in 7th grade. It's my senior year and (the hard work) paid off."

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Moore joins Itawamba, Miss., running back Ashton Shumpert to comprise a formidable Mississippi backfield. Shumpert, like Moore, is a highly-recruited prospect.

Moore and Shumpert combined for over 3,000 yards rushing this season, with Moore rushing for 1,218 yards and 16 touchdowns for West Bolivar High School as a senior.

"It's going to be dangerous," Moore said. "If I don't get it, he's going to get it. If he don't get it, I'm going to get it. The defense is going to be confused. Both of us are real good backs. We're going to be hard to stop."

A four-star recruit, Shumpert, who holds offers from, among others, Ole Miss and Mississippi State, has no set position for the college level. Is he a running back or defensive back? Moore has an idea.

"I know a lot of colleges have been recruiting him as a safety," he said. "From how he was looking in the backfield (Tuesday morning), I'd stick to recruiting him as a running back. He looked real good today."

Kailo Moore
Yancy Porter

But no matter how much he would like to avoid the recruiting aspect of practices, the questions persist.

Moore committed to Mississippi State in June. He's held firm, though Ole Miss remains in the picture.

"When I go up to Ole Miss, they treat me like a king. When I go to Mississippi State, they treat me like a king. I'm happy at either school," Moore said.

"I'd say the process will be over in January. I just want to go on my official visits, then I'll just close my recruitment process out and let the world know where I'm going to go."

Alabama and Vanderbilt are involved, as well. The Crimson Tide have yet to extend a scholarship offer.

Mississippi State has a handful of commitments, including Moore, Deon Mix and Chris Jones, playing in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Classic, while Ole Miss has one in Eupora, Miss., wide receiver Derrick Jones.

Shumpert is uncommitted. Same for Batesville, Miss., defensive back Antonio Conner, a five-star prospect, according to Moore is rooming with Shumpert this week.

"Me and Deon, we're real cool," Moore said. "Me and ‘D' (Derrick Jones) from Eupora, we're real cool. Tony, he's just like my brother. I'm just meeting a couple more players today.

"Everybody here ain't just going one way. But me and Conner, we said we're going to play on the same team in college. I think he's leaning a little bit towards Alabama and Ole Miss."

Moore was once committed to Ole Miss. He de-committed following the dismissal of Houston Nutt in November of last year.

In came Hugh Freeze, who led the Rebels to a 6-6 record and a berth in the BBVA Compass Bowl in his first season. More importantly for Moore, running backs coach Derrick Nix was retained. Nix has recruited Moore since the 8th grade.

"That's the first person that ever recruited me," Moore said of Nix. "We were in Jackson (Miss.) down there in a little spring game when I was in 8th grade. That's when he first said something to me, and I started building a relationship with him then.

"For them to keep him on the staff, that made me happy a little bit. I still talk to him once or twice a week. We still have a good relationship. But I let him know how it is with Mississippi State, and he tells me how he feels about me coming to Ole Miss."

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