BATESVILLE, Miss. - Four-star athlete Nickalos Brassell is ranked as the top prospect in the state of Mississippi and headlines the nation's No. 1 program, South Panola.
Now the 6-foot, 175-pounder will be able to test his skills against the best players in the country after being selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 8 in San Antonio.
"It feels good to be known as one of the tops in the nation," Brassell said. "That means I have to just go out there and do my thing and show what I've got."
South Panola head coach Lance Pogue said the honor is representative of how far the Tiger program has come in recent years.
"It's a tremendous honor for our program," Pogue said. "We're just so proud of our program and have been very fortunate dating back to 1993 when Willis Wright got our program on the map and we've won eight state championships since that time. Seventeen years later we are recognized as one of the top programs and we are very humbled by that."
South Panola is a perfect 9-0 on the year led by Brassell's efforts in all three phases of the game. Brassell has carried five times for 27 yards and hauled in 37 passes for 615 yards, nine touchdowns and four two-point conversions on offense. Defensively he has made seven tackles (five solo, two assists) and four pass deflections.
Brassell has also returned seven punts for 44 yards and took two kickoffs back for 119 yards including a 91-yard touchdown.
"Nick is a great player and before that I should say he's a great kid and has got great parents," Pogue said. "The kid is very humble but just as a football player it's well deserved. He's recognized as one of the tops in the country and there is no question about that. In Mississippi a lot of times we get pushed to the back of the list on a lot of things but football-wise we are highly regarded. His body of work along with the positive things with our team puts him in this position."
As a junior, Brassell helped the Tigers claim the first ever Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A State Championship with a 14-1 record. He caught 62 passes for 1,191 yards and 14 touchdowns and rushed 10 times for 60 yards. Brassell also made six tackles defensively including two interceptions, six pass breakups and a fumble recovery.
The Batesville native earned scholarships from some of college football's elite programs including Alabama, Auburn, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Southern Miss, Tennessee and USC.
Brassell had originally planned to announce his college choice at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl along with fellow Magnolia State star Tobias Singleton. But Brassell shocked the recruiting world by committing to Mississippi State on Oct. 18 along with South Panola teammate Kendrick Market.
"They are just a young team that's on the rise," Brassell said of the Bulldogs. "I can see them being good down the road and in the future."
Brassell is the No. 45 player in the Rivals100 and the nation's No. 6-ranked athlete.