December 15, 2009

Four-star receiver looking at top three

Vincent Sanders had hoped to spend last weekend in Mobile, Ala., helping Team Mississippi try to knock off Team Alabama in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic.

His balky hamstring, however, had other ideas.

So Sanders rested, and by the weekend, he was over the disappointment of missing the all-star game and focused on hoops. Sanders celebrated his return to health with a 16-point effort in Noxubee County's double-overtime win over Tippah County Saturday.

He spent Sunday and Monday doing what he's been doing for awhile now -- talking to college football coaches. And as National Signing Day approaches, the four-star wide receiver from Macon, Miss., is narrowing a once-lengthy list of suitors. Sanders said Monday night that while he's not naming a top three, three schools _ Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Florida State _ have clearly separated themselves from the rest of the pack.

"I feel like if I'm high on a school's board, they'd be calling me by now," Sanders said. "If no other schools don't start showing interest, it might be down to those three."

All three schools dropped by Noxubee County to see Sanders late last week, with Florida State orientating Sanders on the Seminoles' plans now that Bobby Bowden has announced his retirement and with Ole Miss and Mississippi State countering each other's sales pitches.

"I'm trying to get to know (Florida State) a little bit," Sanders said. "Coach (Jimbo) Fisher said since Coach Bowden retired, they'd had a lot of top players commit to them. I'm looking hard at them, seeing what they have to offer, stuff like that."

As for the ongoing battle between the in-state Egg Bowl rivals, Sanders said Mississippi State "started it because they came down and they talked about (Ole Miss') Pat Patterson and (MSU's) Chad Bumphis, comparing their stats. …Ole Miss came down and they were telling me that (MSU) to use their first receiver and compare him to (Ole Miss') fifth receiver. …When State came, it looked good, but when Ole Miss came and proved their point, they looked good, too. It's going to come down to am I going to go some place where they have an established quarterback or am I going to go somewhere where it's an unproven quarterback?"

Florida State, Sanders said, is selling him on the prospect of playing with Christian Ponder next year and E.J. Manuel in the future. Ole Miss is making a similar pitch, selling the prospect of playing with Jevan Snead next season and Nathan Stanley and/or Raymond Cotton down the line. Mississippi State, meanwhile, is selling Tyler Russell's potential and the prospect of playing with Cameron Newton, a top junior college quarterback the Bulldogs are pursuing.

"It just depends on what chance I'm willing to take," Sanders said.

Sanders said he'll definitely visit Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Florida State, though he added he does not yet have firm visit dates to any of the three locales. As for a decision, it appears Sanders is prepared to wait until the very end.

"It all depends on what happens," Sanders said. "If something really good happens that I like, it won't take until signing day. If not, I'm going to sit back and make sure I make the best decision possible."

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