March 11, 2009

Georgia athlete gets first SEC offer

Delino Deshields was surprised when his high school coach told him to call Ole Miss defensive line coach Terry Price.

Deshields, a 5-foot-9, 190-pound athlete from College Park (Woodward Academy), Ga., hadn't heard much from Ole Miss, so he was more than a bit surprised when the Rebels extended his first Southeastern Conference scholarship offer.

"It kind of surprised me because they hadn't sent me anything," Deshields said. "(Price) said (Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt) had looked at my tape and liked it. I never thought I'd get an Ole Miss offer. It was cool, too."

Deshields said Price told him he wants him to come to Oxford next month for one of Ole Miss' practices, adding that the Rebels are hoping to spend some time with him and give him the tour of the facilities and campus.

"He told me he wants to talk to my mom and my dad about it," Deshields said. "I'm hoping to do it."

Deshields, the son of former major leaguer Delino Deshields, said Ole Miss wants him as a running back. Despite missing several games due to an injury, Deshields rushed 86 times for 748 yards and 13 touchdowns.

"That's what I want to play," Deshields said. "I'll play defense, but running back is what I want to play."

The elder Deshields is still in baseball, working as a minor league hitting instructor in the Cincinnati Reds organization. The younger Deshields said he remembers the last eight years or so of his father's career, so not surprisingly, baseball will be a factor this summer as well.

"Baseball is pretty big with me," Deshields said. "I want to go in the draft, but if I don't go high enough, I'll go play football."

Deshields hit .592 with 14 home runs, 25 runs batted in and 56 runs scored last season for Woodward Academy. The leadoff hitter played third base last season but will move to center field this season. Deshields said he'd like to play football and baseball at the college level if he doesn't go where he'd like to go in the June 2010 draft.

"That would be a big factor for where I go," Deshields said, adding that he hasn't "really sat down and thought about (recruiting) yet. I'm letting it come to me right now and then I'll pare it down."

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