'Old' commits stay the course

Sometimes recruits who have been committed for a while get lost in the shuffle of "what's new?" in recruiting circles, but it was vital for Ole Miss to keep commitments Eric Mitchell, Clarence Jackson and Nick Parker in the fold during their official visits this past weekend. Read about it inside.

"Who's next?" in covering football recruiting has somehow become more urgent than "are the older commitments, the guys who committed months ago, staying the course?"

But that's not how the coaches feel. They spend as much time on commitment maintenance as they do in obtaining new commitments as the recruiting process nears Signing Day.

These days, a commitment to one school does not slow down the recruiting intensity of other schools who are still interested.

Eric Mitchell
That's why there was a sense of urgency to solidify the commitments of South Panola RB Nick Parker, Cape Coral, FL, CB Eric Mitchell and College Park, GA, LB Clarence Jackson on their official visits to Ole Miss this weekend.

All is well for the Rebels and these three important keys to the 2010 recruiting class.

Cornerback has been a high priority for the Rebels this year and getting, and keeping, the commitment of Mitchell has been a priority.

The 5-11, 170-pound speedster, who played both running back and corner at Mariner HS, has all the tools the Rebs are looking for.

"Athletically, Mitchell has a lot of what you look for in a major college prospect and that's a big reason why he landed as many offers as he did. He's extremely versatile and has played a number of positions at the prep level. He's made the biggest impact at running back when the ball was in his hands, running for over 1,700 yards over the last two seasons. He's also a skilled-pass catcher so the ball skills should be there for a smooth transition to corner. He has ideal size at 5-11, good speed, excellent athletic ability, and good ball skills and those things will give him a chance to be an impact corner in college," said Scout's Florida Recruiting Analyst Mike Bakas.

Mitchell picked up scholarship offers from Ole Miss, Michigan, Indiana, Louisville and South Florida in his junior season, but he chose the Rebels after coming up for their summer camp last year.

Clarence Jackson
Parker is well-known in these parts having rushed for over 4,000 yards the last two seasons at South Panola. In his tenure, South Panola has won three state championships and was the runner-up in 2008.

Great balance, power and a burst of speed when needed are his trademarks when he made his reputation as the top tailback in the state of Mississippi and the most prolific since Tig Barksdale, who Nick took over for when Barksdale graduated.

The sidebar to Parker committing to Ole Miss is it strengthens and continues the Ole Miss-South Panola connection/pipeline. South Panola will always produce Division I football talent and being as close as it is to Oxford and Ole Miss, it's vital to keep that relationship strong. On a side-note, just look at the Tiger's squad next year as they perhaps the state's top prospect in do-it-all Nickloss Brassell.

With Barksdale already on board and Parker on the way, the Rebels have two of the best South Panola has ever produced in the fold. The enormity of that cannot be stressed enough and cannot be taken for granted.

Parker also had early offers from LSU, Tennessee and Mississippi State.

Nick Parker
Jackson, like Mitchell, is another who was a dual threat in high school.

The 6-2, 220-pounder was a prolific running back and linebacker, but most believe his future is at LB, where he had over 150 tackles and 20 sacks the last two years at North Clayton.

Clarence is known for delivering big hits and an aggressive style of play that drew the Ole Miss coaches quickly. An early offer was extended after they watched him up close at their Senior Camp and accepted. Minds were made up, on both ends, quickly.

Ole Miss' main competition for Jackson was Tennessee and Mississippi State, who both came in for home visits recently trying to get him up for an official visit these past two weekends.

While it's not new news, it's good news that all three affirmed their commitments to the Rebels and will ink their scholarship papers Wednesday.

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