March 4, 2009

Versatile New Orleans athlete loves Ole Miss visit

Ronnie Vinson was the talk of camp last summer at Ole Miss.

The 5-foot-11, 186-pound athlete from New Orleans (Isadore Newman), La., blew Ole Miss' coaches away with his athleticism and versatility. The Rebels, meanwhile, made a lasting impression on Vinson, and that was before Houston Nutt and Co. turned the Rebels into a top-15 team that won its last six games, including a victory over Texas Tech in the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic.

This past weekend, Vinson returned to Oxford, this time to take a hard look at Ole Miss as a potential college home.

"It was great," Vinson said. "I got a chance to talk to Coach Nutt. He was funny. He was telling me I could fit into their program. We were pretty much just clowning around and at the same time, we were talking business. He had the same kind of background as my parents. They basically grew up in a church. So they spent a lot of time swapping stories."

Vinson also got a chance to check out the Rebels' facilities. At camp, Vinson got a chance to see practice fields and Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, but during his junior day visit, Vinson got a comprehensive tour of Ole Miss' indoor practice facility, training rooms, weight room and the FedEx academic support center.

"That was a big part of my visit," Vinson said. "It was actually really nice. I liked the FedEx building and everything."

Since returning to New Orleans from Oxford, Vinson has been busy receiving scholarship offers. Alabama, Michigan and Colorado offered this week, joining LSU, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Tulane, Louisiana Tech and Kentucky.

"It feels good, but I'm just trying not to let my head get too big," Vinson said. "I'm just trying to take it in stride. I want to try to win a state championship next year and just stay hungry."

The new developments, however, have caused Vinson to take a step back and slow down a little. Going into this past weekend, Ole Miss and LSU appeared to be Vinson's favorites. The Rebels and Tigers are still going to be major factors for his signature in February, but Vinson is going to look around for awhile before he starts to pare down his list.

"I thought I had some schools laid out, but now with Michigan and Alabama in there, it's too early," Vinson said. "Once I see what opportunities are out there for me, I'll lay it out on the table and narrow it down to a top five."

Vinson's future home, in other words, is still very much undetermined. The same could be said, in all likelihood, for the position he'll play at the next level.

"Ole Miss said I could play both ways," Vinson said. "They said I could play corner or safety and then come in every now and then at wide receiver or running back. I don't enjoy one more than the other. I'll play anything. I've played defense the longest, so I'm more comfortable there, but I have no problem playing offense."

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