One of the top prospects on Ole Miss' board was in town for Junior Day . We called to see how Justin Sparks' visit went.
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One of the top prospects on Ole Miss' board was in town for Junior Day . We called to see how Justin Sparks' visit went.
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Justin lands two scholarship offers.

With Jonathan Nichols' graduation nearing, Ole Miss has some pretty big shoes to fill.</font> <font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2"><br> <br> One of the top prospects on Ole Miss' board was in town for Junior Day . We called to see how Justin Sparks' visit went.<br>

The following information was revealed during our interview with Sparks:

What is your current height, weight, and forty time? "I am 6' 2" to 6' 3", 170. I probably run about a 4.8 forty."

Which position are you being recruited to play on the next level? "Place kicker, but I also punt."

Is anyone recruiting you for punter? "Mainly just place kicker."

What are your strengths at place kicker? "Accuracy and distance and just poise while I am out on the field."

What do you need to work on to take your game to the next level? "I need to get my leg stronger and get in the weight room. I also need to work on kicking without a tee. Those are the two main things."

How long have you been starting for Briarcrest? "I came to Briarcrest my sophomore year and have started every game since."

What were your stats from your sophomore and junior seasons? "I missed one PAT each year, and that is about all I know for sure. I will send you my stats when I get them. I know I averaged over 41 yards a punt this past season, but I do not have my field goals stats."

What was your longest field goal from the 2003 campaign? "42 yards."

What about in practice? "60 yards."

Did you garner any awards? "I was named Division 2's All-State kicker in 2002 and All-State punter in 2003."

Do you prefer to kick field goals or punt? "I prefer kicking field goals but I can do both."

Which schools are presently recruiting you the hardest? "Ole Miss and North Carolina State. And Oklahoma State too."

Anyone else writing you? "Memphis, Army Dartmouth, Baylor, Duke, and I think that is about it."

Any early offers? "NC ST and Ole Miss."

Where have you been, unofficially, this year? "I forgot to mention MSU, they are writing me too. I went there and Oklahoma State this Fall, and I went to Ole Miss and NC ST this Spring."

Both Spring visits for Jr Day? "Yes sir."

Was this your first trip to both schools? "Well, I have been to some games at Ole Miss, but I had never been on a recruiting visit there. This was my first time to really get a look at both schools."

Did anyone accompany you on your trips? "My father and two other Briarcrest players went with me on the Ole Miss Jr Day. My father came with me to NC ST."

What did you learn about Ole Miss that you might have not known from before? "Their philosophy on working to be the SEC champions. That was neat. I did not know about their new facilities. I was really impressed with those. And I got to know the coaches. I was impressed at how knowledgeable Coach Cutcliffe was with the kicking game. He had watched a lot of my tapes, and we discussed what he saw."

When did you learn of your offer from Ole Miss? "Two weeks ago."

How were you informed? "Coach Cutcliffe called Coach Freeze, and we got something in the mail a few days after that. I called Coach Cutcliffe, and we all talked about it after that."

What all was discussed during your conversation? "He seemed like a really nice guy. He was a real personable guy. He told me that he was looking for his next Lou Groza award winner (laugh). I could tell that he was really serious about their kicking game."

Did he ask you to commit? "No sir, he did not."

What stands out about Ole Miss? "I would have to say their coaches and facilities or their future facilities. What it is going to look like."

Is Ole Miss' new indoor facility going to provide the kickers any extra benefits? "It is going to be tall enough where you can kick it. It is taller than the one at Tennessee, and I kicked inside it."

Was Tennessee's indoor tall enough for you? "Yes sir, on some of the punts, it got close. You could not go all out, but it was OK. Ole Miss' is going to be plenty high enough though."

Which schools are you considering right now? "NC ST, Ole Miss, and Oklahoma State."

What attracts you to NC ST? "It is an Ag school, which is what I want to go in after college, but I do not necessarily have to go to an Ag school. All of their facilities are new like Ole Miss'."

What new have they built or going to build? "They have a few football only operation. It has their locker and weight room in it. It is right by their stadium. They are also adding on some skyboxes where their press box is located. In the next couple of years, they are going to convert one of their practice fields into an indoor facility like Ole Miss'."

What are Oklahoma State's positives? "I would say their coaches and facilities, but mainly their coaches. They are also an Ag school. They are redoing some of their facilities, like adding some skyboxes and things like that."

You say that you want to go in something that pertains to agriculture after college; what exactly do you want to do? "I want to work for a commodities firm or an economics firm."

What exactly are you looking for when you are trying to find the right school for you? "I will probably say that is the school for me if I go down there and feel comfortable with their coaches and surroundings. I just want to be comfortable with everything."

Justin carries a 3.3 GPA and a 24 on his ACT test.

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