July 31, 2008

Ole Miss or State for Jackson star?

Jackson (Forest Hill HS) offensive tackle and Ole Miss commitment Emmanuel McCray has been a hot topic in Mississippi the last couple of weeks with reports that he may be wavering on his verbal pledge to the Rebels after visiting Mississippi State earlier this month.

However, on Wednesday, McCray downplayed the reports and rumors.

"I don't really want to talk about that," McCray said when asked about any interest in Mississippi State. "The media has made something out of it that's not there. I really prefer not to comment about it. It's caused me a great deal of stress for me and my family."

McCray says for now that he's committed to Ole Miss and is working hard for the upcoming season.

"I'm preparing for my senior year and I'm looking at it like I'm working to play at the next level, just not my last year in high school," he said. "I don't think I've worked this hard since I was in the ninth grade.

McCray, a 6-foot-5, 280 pound offensive tackle committed to the Rebels in early April shortly after visiting for junior day and told RebelSports.net in early June that he was firm with the Rebels, but would attend camps at Alabama, Southern Miss and Mississippi State for instructional purposes and not to look at other schools.

However, reports after his visit to Starkville in mid-July resulted in rumors that he was re-thinking his commitment.

"Mississippi State was cool," McCray said on Wednesday. "I talked with coaches, players and it seemed like a family - and they are putting together an outstanding recruiting class."

McCray acknowledged that a lot could happen in his recruitment in the coming months and that if Ole Miss puts together a winning season, it would "most definitely" solidify his commitment to the Rebels.

McCray was a no show for Ole Miss senior "Elite" camp last Saturday, but, according to McCray, that was due to a planned family vacation.

"I think we're going to New Orleans to shop the week before school starts back, and then I'm going up to Ole Miss the week after that for an unofficial visit," McCray said. "I plan to take my mother with me - she's never been up there and I'd like for her to meet the coaches."

In the meantime, McCray says that the frequently receives e-mails from Rebel running back coach Derrick Nix, who is recruiting him for the Rebels.

"I get a least one e-mail a week from Coach Nix," McCray said. "And, we talk a lot when I call him."

McCray praised the three camps he's attended (Alabama, Southern Miss, and Mississippi State) and said he's sharing some of the things he learned from camp with his teammates.

McCray projects as a full qualifier with a 19 on his ACT and a 2.7 GPA.

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