"Beautiful is the first word that comes to mind," added Wilma. "I had heard a lot of great things about their campus, but this was my first time to actually see it. I can honestly say that it exceeded my expectations. I have never seen a campus like Ole Miss". It is picturesque."
What was Mrs. McCray focusing
on before she arrived on the visit with her son, Emmanuel McCray?
had never been to Oxford so I wanted to see what the college atmosphere was like.
It looked like your ideal college town.. It is a very safe and friendly environment.
I also wanted to get a feel for the coaches, and I was very impressed with how
concerned they were about Emmanuel getting his education and degree. One of my
concerns for Emmanuel is making the academic transition from high school to college,
and they did a great job outlining what would be expected out of Emmanuel and
how they will help him achieve his academic goals. We met with one of their guidance
counselors and the head athletic tutor. It is just a huge adjustment coming out
of high school, academically, so they really put my fears to rest. We also met
with the lady that is the head of the academic affairs, and I was very/very impressed
with their programs. They monitor their players day by day. They have a tutor
for each class they take. They require them to be at study hall every day. Football
is very hectic and you must maintain a certain GPA, so my main focus as a parent
was on academics. And like I said, they put all of my fears to rest. It was a
very resourceful trip for me."
What did the coaches say to Mrs. McCray
when she arrived?
"Well, they were just glad to have me and Emmanuel
up there together. They told me that their primary focus was to get him his degree.
I think it was the recruiting coordinator that went over the academic issues with
me. But he went into great detail about preparing Emmanuel to get eligible so
he can meet the NCAA academic guidelines. That really impressed me that they are
so focused on academics at Ole Miss. I did not get a chance to talk to Coach Nutt
because he was speaking to the media after the game, but I was really impressed
with how cordial their staff was and how youthful they are. That is important
because they can relate to the kids. The campus is just so beautiful and it is
historically a great school. There is not a negative thing that I can say about
Ole Miss. There were only a couple of things that I needed to see, and after seeing
them, I am very comfortable sending my kid to Ole Miss. I am going to leave the
decision to Emmanuel because it is his decision, but I would be very comfortable
with Ole Miss if he continues to want to go there."
Emmanuel and his
mother also got a chance to speak with McCray's position coach and the Ole Miss
assistant that is responsible for his recruitment.
"I talked to several
of the coaches at the table, but I spoke to Coach (Derrick) Nix a lot. He told
me that he really liked Emmanuel because not only of his athletic ability but
his character. That really stuck out to me that they liked his character. That
is important to me. And then Coach Markuson came over there and spoke to me and
Emmanuel. We had a great conversation."
Does Wilma feel better about
her son's commitment to Ole Miss now that she has seen the campus and met the
"Yes, I do not have any weird feelings about the university
at all. It is a bit of a drive, but it is a great place."
now been offered by USM, MSU, and Ole Miss. Mrs. McCray has had a chance to visit
all three campuses.
"We went to USM's Jr Day in the Spring and went
over to MSU this summer. All of their academics are pretty much on the same path.
Distance wise, USM is a little closer than Ole Miss and MSU but distance is not
a major issue. USM is centrally located in Hattiesburg. I do not know if that
is good or not, but all three are great schools. They all have a safe environment
and have good academic plans for their student athletes."
A mother's perspective
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