January 26, 2009

Miss. State commitment checks out rival

Macon (Noxubee County), Miss., Deontae Skinner visited Ole Miss and not Auburn this past weekend in large part because he wanted to reward a coaching staff that had pursued him for more than a year.

Skinner, a Mississippi State commitment, left Oxford on Sunday, however, with the Rebels very much on his mind.

"It went great," Skinner said. "I was very impressed. I had a great time. …My expectation was I wanted to get to know the coaching staff better and see if I could get along with them. I got along with them real good. They told me I could play a big role and I could help this team keep going forward."

Skinner, a 6-foot-2, 230-pound outside linebacker/defensive end, was hosted by freshman linebacker Jason Jones. The three-star prospect, overshadowed a bit this season by his high school teammate, four-star wide receiver Patrick Patterson, said that while he still is committed to the Bulldogs, the Rebels made a strong move.

"I would say right now, I'm just thinking," Skinner said. "I'm just thinking about what I should do. …I still consider myself committed, but after I go on my visit there (to Mississippi State) next weekend, I'm going to find out what the best place is for me."

Skinner's parents made the trip to Ole Miss with the nation's No. 39 weak-side defensive end prospect, and Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt will visit with the Skinner family Tuesday in Macon.

"They were impressed with it," Skinner said of his parents. "They like Ole Miss a lot. It's just me just wanting to go to that school and feeling like it's the best place for me and feeling like it's going to help me four or five years from now."

As for Mississippi State, Skinner said, the Bulldogs' staff told him late last week that they were not concerned about him taking a trip to Oxford.

"They said to go have fun and they'll talk to me when I get back," Skinner said.

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