January 16, 2011

Whitehead has 'good idea' regarding school choice

Greenwood (Amanda Elzy), Miss., cornerback Jermaine Whitehead wrapped up his official visit to Mississippi State on Sunday and said he has "a good idea where I want to go."

Whitehead, ranked by Rivals.com as the No 5 prospect in Mississippi and the No. 20 cornerback in the nation, said he will visit Ole Miss next weekend and possibly Auburn on Jan. 28 before he's ready to complete the recruiting process.

Whitehead's trip to Starkville was his first major interaction with the Bulldogs' staff since former defensive coordinator Manny Diaz left for Texas. Whitehead got a chance to visit with recently promoted assistant Chris Wilson and staff addition Geoff Collins.

"It went really well," Whitehead said. "I had a lot of fun. It was a great visit. …(The Bulldogs' staff is) almost exactly the same. Coach Diaz's personality is gone, but the new guy is real cool. He was kind of getting in and finding out about the recruits and who we were. He seemed like a great guy to be around though."

Whitehead left Starkville Saturday to play basketball at New Hope (Miss.) before returning later that evening.

"I didn't miss anything," Whitehead said. "They understood. They knew I was going to do that and I wanted to do that and they made it convenient. It was a great thing they did that for me."

Upon leaving Starkville, Whitehead said his commitment to the Bulldogs is "about 50 percent solid. It's still a good school and one that I still can say I want to choose from."

Ole Miss has clearly made a major move for the 5-foot-11, 183-pounder's services. Whitehead will play in a home basketball game against McClain High School on Friday afternoon before traveling to Oxford for the start of his official visit.

"I really just am looking to see how I fit in there," Whitehead said. "I want to see how the staff's relationship with the players and the families and just the overall feel. I want to feel warm and comfortable."

Whitehead said his mother's opinion would weigh heavily on his decision. She traveled with him to Starkville and will accompany her son to Oxford as well.

"She got the chance to meet (the MSU staff) and mingle with them," Whitehead said. "I think she feels a little more warm and understands their coaches a little bit more. I still think she likes the Ole Miss staff better. I think she likes Mississippi State's school the best but Ole Miss' personnel the best."

Whitehead has long said the decisions of some of the other elite prospects in Mississippi could impact his choice. Last week, Madison, Miss, wide receiver Tobias Singleton committed to Ole Miss. Batesville, Miss., wide receiver Nickolas Brassell canceled a planned trip to Alabama and appears close to choosing the Rebels as well.

"Those are my guys, true enough," Whitehead said. "They did what's best for them. We all want to play together, true enough, but at the end of the day, I have to look out for me. If it's me lining up against them, we're going to say good luck and I'll call them after the game. But to play with them would be even better. We're all from Mississippi and we came out together. It's definitely something you have to think about doing, but you also have to do what you think is best for you and your family."

Whitehead said he's getting closer to a decision, adding the "hardest thing is going to be telling people no. I think I have a good idea where I want to go. The hardest thing will be making sure and saying, 'Coach, this is where I want to go.' I'm going to work on that probably this week and confirm everything I know about the places I've been, do my Xs and Os and I'll know where I want to go."

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