Mississippi-Alabama clash set for 7 p.m.
By By Mark Etheridge special to The Star
MOBILE, Ala. Since 1988, the best football players from Mississippi have challenged the best from Alabama each June in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic.
Tonight the 15th classic will be held here Ladd-Peebles Stadium and be broadcast across the Southeast on Fox Sports Net South at 7 p.m.
Mississippi is looking to snap a three-game losing streak in the classic that has traditionally featured tight games. Last year was an exception as future Auburn running back Carnell Williams led the Alabama squad to a 33-14 victory.
The current streak is just one of many in the history of the classic. Alabama opened the series with four straight wins including three in overtime. Mississippi bounced back to win the next
four. After back-to-back wins by Alabama followed by a Mississippi win, Alabama has won the last three.
As in years past, this year's game features some of the top incoming freshman in the Southeast. Many experts give the Mississippi squad a
slight edge based on some elite National players. However the top-rated player on the Mississippi squad, Jerious Norwood (6-foot, 200 pounds) from Brandon, will not play due to a toe injury.
Norwood was rated a five star player by Rivals.com, who had him as the third best running back prospect in the entire nation. Norwood is headed to Mississippi State and is expected to be ready to go when Fall practice begins.
Ken Topps (6-foot, 170), a dual-threat quarterback from Shannon, totaled over 3,000 total yards last season. His mobility against a strong Alabama pass rush may give Mississippi a valuable option. Topps will play next season at Mississippi State.
Another player to keep an eye on is Starkville's Tee Milons. He (5-11, 170) is the younger brother of former Alabama receiver Freddie Milons. The younger Milons has a lot of his brother's elusiveness and has been very impressive in limited contact work during practice. Milons will stay home and attend Mississippi State.
On the defensive side of the ball, defensive back Darren Williams is the game's top talent. Williams, rated by Rivals.com as the top safety
prospect in the country, is also headed to play for coach Jackie Sherrill at MSU.
Another top recruit in the game, Timmy Duckworth (6-4, 285) is one of the nation's top defensive tackle prospects. Duckworth has excelled all week earning praise from practice observers. He is headed to Auburn.
Players to watch on the Alabama side include three highly recruited offensive players. Running back Kenneth Darby (5-10, 185) from Huntsville should get the bulk of the carries. He will attend Alabama.
The state of Alabama's 2001 Mr. Football, quarterback Brandon Cox (6-3, 180) from Birmingham, is certain to get a lot of attention from the Mississippi defense. Cox is a very accurate passer and if he has time could have a big game throwing to people like Selma receiver Ben Obomanu. Obomanu (6-1, 182) was rated by Rivals.com as the fourth best receiver prospect in the country. He has game breaking speed. Both Cox and Obomanu will attend Auburn.
MSU leads all colleges with 12 players participating in the game all on the Mississippi side. They are Richard Burch from Brandon, Monte Collins from Provine, Kevin Dockery and Deljuan Robinson from Hernando, Willie Evans from Waynesboro, Kenny Kern and Darren Williams from Clarksdale, Tee Milons from Starkville, Brett Morgan from Vicksburg, Aries Nelson from Cleveland, Scott Shurden from Philadelphia, and Ken Topps from Shannon.
Ole Miss has three players in the game two from Mississippi and one from Alabama. They are Nate Banks from Liberty, Dedric Clark from
Pontotoc, and Lawrence Lilly from Montevallo, Ala. Linebacker Chris Herring from Batesville was expected to play but will not see action.
USM has one player in the game outside linebacker Wayne Hardy from Lawrence County.
The University of Alabama has eight players in the game. Demeco Ryans from Bessemer, Kenneth Darby from Huntsville, Nic Luke from Phenix City, Ramzee Robinson from Huntsville, Chris Harris from Tuscaloosa, Jeremy Clark from Daphne, Greg McLain from Lineville, and Kyle Tatum from Prattville will all head to Tuscaloosa later this Summer. In addition, defensive tackle Matt Veitch from Hoover will attend Alabama as a student but not play football.