Recruiting: The Defensive Backs

Defensive secondary play is crucial to defensive success in the modern game. Forcing offenses to be one-dimensional usually begins with shutting down the run. Most defensive coordinators are forced to bring extra defenders into the box to achieve this goal. Having reliable defensive backs is the key to the number of options available to a coordinator. Consequently, it is extremely important to have a large quantity of talented athletes for the secondary. Here are the DB prospects for 2003:

Nate Banks (5-11/175) Amite County-Liberty, MS

Banks signed with Ole Miss this past February but did not meet NCAA freshmen qualification standards. He is sitting out the fall semester and is attempting to meet those standards in time for the 2003 season. Banks is an exceptional cover cornerback with excellent quickness and speed. He plans to re-sign with Ole Miss and join his former prep teammate, wide receiver Chris Collins.

Quinton Culberson (6-1/205) Provine HS-Jackson, MS

Culberson may be the top prospect in Mississippi. He is swift enough to play cornerback in the Ole Miss scheme and large enough to play safety or linebacker in most schemes. Culberson is also an outstanding offensive prospect as well. Several out of state programs are attempting to lure Culberson out of Mississippi but Mississippi State or Ole Miss are his most likely destinations.

Edwin Gelin (6-1.5/187) Hialeah, FL

Gelin projects as a safety or wide receiver on the college level. He has scholarship offers from Florida, Kentucky, Georgia, Northwestern, Rutgers and Ole Miss. Currently, the Rebels face an uphill climb as Gelin is most interested in Florida, Kentucky and Rutgers. Gelin has no timetable for a decision and says he will select the school where he feels the most comfortable.

Trumaine McBride (5-10/175) Clarksdale, MS

McBride committed to the Rebels earlier this fall and has taken an unofficial visit to Mississippi State but has not wavered in his commitment to Ole Miss. He has exceptional quickness and speed which are two attributes desired in a cornerback. McBride is an offensive weapon on the prep level but he has a preference for his projected position of cornerback on the college level.

Chris Russell (6-2/180) Hillsboro HS-Nashville, TN

Russell is a talented athlete with great size, speed and leaping ability. He is a heavy lean to the Auburn Tigers but assistant coach Mike MacIntyre is a top-notch recruiter and may be able to keep the Rebels in the hunt. Russell is also a receiver on the prep level but his college future will be in the defensive secondary. Tennessee has not offered but could be a factor with a late offer.

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