5-Star RB set to visit Ole Miss
"We are tentatively set to go to Ole Miss on December 5th," added Jaamal's mother, Eartha Berry. "We were suppose to go over there this weekend, but some things popped up for me at the last minute, and I could not make it. We still might do it the weekend after we visit Ohio State (November 21st), but me and Yolonda Neat are trying to get our schedules together. Her son, Korvic Neat, and Jaamal are real good friends. Our families are close, and both of the boys are interested in Ole Miss, so we want to go on the trip together."
Will Eartha accompany Jaamal Berry on his trip to Ohio State?
"Yes I will. I am going to Ohio State and Ole Miss with him, but those are the only visits we are going to take. I told Jaamal I will go with him to Ohio State, and the Neat's can come with us to Ole Miss, but that is going to be it for me."
Eartha had a chance to trip with Jaamal on an unofficial visit to Ohio State this past summer. Jaamal made a public commitment shortly thereafter.
"We liked everything about Ohio State," stated Eartha. "I kind of fell in love with it up there. They had some very impressive academic programs, and their overall school was just so nice. I understand why he fell in love with it, but that is not my choice, he has to make the decision for himself. I want him to be happy where ever he chooses. If he is happy, momma is happy."
What has Berry interested in Ole Miss?
"Well, we have developed a very good relationship with the Ole Miss coaches. Coaches Baez and Nutt, we talk quite often. They seem like good honest people. Coach Nutt keeps in constant contact with Jaamal, and I guess he still feels something, because he keeps talking to their coaches. He has known Coach Baez since he was coaching at Miami Palmetto. That is why I am pushing him to visit. I have spoken to Jaamal a lot about this, and I want him to see what they have in store for him. That is why we are only planning to visit those two schools, because of the relationship we have with both staffs. We have already been to Florida's Spring game, so we know what they have to offer. Florida's staff has also developed a very good relationship with both Jaamal and myself. I am a Gator though (laugh), but do not take that to mean that I am pushing him towards Florida. But Florida has a nice feel for it. I really enjoyed that visit a lot."
What will Jaamal compare while he is on his official visits?
"Honestly, I am looking more at the academic side of things and what they can offer Jaamal. That is one of the things I want to see at Ole Miss. I know what Ohio State has to offer. Now I want to see what Ole Miss has to offer. He will also look at how many running backs they have sent to the NFL, and just the surroundings in general. The campus has to have that feel to it. I want him to be safe where ever he goes. I do not think that is going to be a problem at either one of those schools. Jaamal is always asking me for my input. That is why I am going with him on his trips to Ohio State and Ole Miss. He wants me to help him make that decision, but like I have told him, ultimately it has to come from his heart, not mine."
Mrs. Berry talks about the relationship she and her son have with the competing staffs.
"We speak to Coaches Nutt, Baez, and Nix at Ole Miss. With Ohio State, we speak to both of the Tressel's and Coach Haynes. I have spoken to Coach Carter and Meyers at Florida. I have spoken with all of those coaches quite a few times. I have a good relationship with all three of their staffs. It is going to be a hard decision in the end because they are all such good people and coaches."
In the end, what is going to be important for Jaamal?
"He wants to have that special relationship with his coaches. Jaamal does not want to be brushed aside if he were to get injured or something. He wants someone to look out for his best interests no matter his status. And like every other kid, he wants to play. If he can not make an impact his freshman season, he definitely wants to be a big contributor his second year. Kids do not want to redshirt these days. I would be OK with it, but I think Jaamal wants to play in some capacity next year. One of the things that is really attractive for Jaamal with Ole Miss is Coach Nutt's history with running backs. He likes how they use their backs. That is a big plus for Ole Miss. But he also likes how they use their backs at Ohio State. Another thing about Ole Miss that he likes is the fact that he has known Coach Baez before he was recruited by any of these schools, so Jaamal has that trust factor with Coach Baez. Their relationship is very strong. If that is where he decided he wants to go to school, I will support him 100%. But again, I can not make those decisions. He has to go where he is the most content. I tell him to be open with me, and I will try and give him the best advise I can possibly give him. But in the end, he has to go with his heart. I think Jaamal will get a better idea after he takes his visits."
Are there anymore colleges who are trying to get in the game for he 5' 11", 195 pound tailback?
"Well, there are quite a few colleges who continue to call and send a lot of letters, but Jaamal is a person that will not play around with you. He is a straight forward kid. Jaamal just tells you how he feels. I am glad that he is so straight forward because those colleges have to fill their spots, and I would hate for them to miss out on a talent because they thought they were going to get Jaamal. But yes, colleges like Boston College, LSU, and Pittsburgh have continued to recruit Jaamal. We could have checked out all of them, but he is interested in Ohio State, Ole Miss, and Florida right now."
Jaamal ran a 4.31 forty at the Scout.com combine this summer. He was hoping to showcase those skills all throughout his senior season but a wrist injury has kept him out of action for the past four games.
"He had surgery, and we took the cast off last week. He also had a high ankle sprain, but that has gotten better. I look for him to get back on the field in time for the playoffs, which starts this Friday."
How frustrating has it been for Jaamal to miss so much action during his senior season?
"In one word, very. This is his senior year, and he has been on the sidelines. It has been killing my boy, just killing him. He just wants to get out there and help his team win a state championship. Jaamal knows that he can do, and he is looking forward to getting back out there this Friday."