Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Antonio Conner adds to Ole Miss' big day
Safety Antonio Conner (Batesville, Miss./South Panola), the No. 1 player in Mississippi and No. 24 prospect in the ESPN 150, signed with Ole Miss on Wednesday. He picked the Rebels over Alabama and Mississippi State, continuing Ole Miss' signing-day run of success that included its landing earlier of No. 1 overall prospect Robert Nkemdiche and No. 1 offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil.
"It's right down the road," Conner said in an interview on ESPNU. "I feel more comfortable playing in my home state. I want to do something to put Mississippi on the map."
-- Mitch Sherman
What is the impact of Conner's decision?
What it means for Ole Miss: The Rebels often seemed in prime position for Conner. They proved they can close on a top in-state prospect -- and most every other recruit they targeted. His signing further fortifies one of the best signing classes in the nation.
What it means for the teams for Alabama, Mississippi State: Alabama will obviously be fine. It's got talent aplenty. Mississippi State, however, lost the top prospect in Mississippi to its rival. Prospects will take notice of that.
Turning point: Whenever Conner met Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze he must have been impressed. Conner often said that he thought Freeze would be able to turn the program around and win at a higher level than Ole Miss is used to. With Conner and the Rebels' 2013 signing class, he might be right.
Surprise (scale of 1-5): 1. There was just too much momentum in Oxford to think that Conner wouldn't eventually select the Rebels.
Immediate impact (scale of 1-5): 4. Conner will most likely contribute as a freshman, at least as a nickel or dime back or as a special team player.
-- Dave Hooker