February 18, 2008

Connor gets it done on and off the field

South Panola has sent a lot of players to Ole Miss in recent years including the Jerry brothers who play on the offensive line and hard hitting safety Jamarca Sanford.

Last signing day, things didn't work out so well because of a combination of the coaching change and grade issues with several prospects, some which ended up at Southern Miss.

For next season, things will be different when it comes to South Panola prospect David Conner.

"I put academics first," Conner said Sunday evening. "My mother lets me know that if I don't do my work, I'm not going to play."

"It doesn't matter what kind of athlete I am," he said. "If I don't get my work done, I'm not going to get to play."

That attitude has resulted in Conner supporting a 3.4 GPA and drawing interest from schools like Stanford.

Conner, who is a cousin to the Jerry brothers, is being recruited by Ole Miss, but it's obvious the Rebels have some work to do.

"I'm really not interested in Ole Miss," Conner said. "I've had so many relatives play over there, I think I'd like to do something different."

However, that doesn't mean the situation will stay the same with the Rebels."

"Maybe if I go to camp over there and get to know the coaches, that could change," he added.

Conner currently supports offers from Michigan, LSU and Mississippi State.

He has an offer from the previous staff at Ole Miss, but is yet to hear from the new staff.

Connor finished his junior season by tallying 97 tackles, 15 sacks and two forced fumbles from the weakside linebacker position and picking up first team all-state honors.

Conner said he likely projects as a strong safety in college.

Ironically, the Rebels will lose their starting strong safety after this season - Jamarca Sanford - also a South Panola graduate.

Conner is unique in his approach to the recruiting process when compared to most high school prospects who are looking for a school that can best help them get to the NFL.

"Academics are the most important thing to me," Conner said. "I want to get there, have fun, and get a good education. That way, if things don't work out, I can fall back on my degree in physical therapy.

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