March 29, 2009

Four-star wide receiver checks out practice

Ole Miss made Macon (Noxubee County), Miss., wide receiver Patrick Patterson a top priority last fall. The hard work paid off when Patterson chose the Rebels over Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi State and others.

Months later, one of Patterson's former Noxubee County teammates is emerging as a must-have for Ole Miss' 2010 recruiting class. The Rebels haven't convinced Vincent Sanders to don their red and blue just yet, but they made a strong impression on the wide receiver/defensive back during an unofficial visit to the Ole Miss campus on Saturday.

"I wanted to see the wide receivers, the routes they run and how they're coached," Sanders said Sunday afternoon. "I was real impressed by how good they actually are. I saw them throwing the ball deep down the field a lot and I like running deep routes."

Sanders, a 6-foot-3, 182-pounder who was rated a four-star prospect in's initial rankings, is being recruited to Ole Miss by running backs coach Derrick Nix. However, he spent a lot of time Saturday with Ole Miss wide receivers coach Ron Dickerson Jr. and Rebel head coach Houston Nutt.

"That was my first time talking to Coach Nutt face to face," Sanders said. "He told me they were going to be lacking in receivers when I got up there and he wanted me up there bad. I think I get along well with them. All of them are nice and they treat me the same when I am up there."

Ole Miss is recruiting Sanders as a wide receiver. Mississippi State, meanwhile, is pursuing Sanders' skills in the defensive backfield. Alabama, the other team involved in what is quickly becoming a three-school race for Sanders' signature, is telling Sanders he can choose his position if he signs with the Crimson Tide. For now, at least, the side of the football plays doesn't seem to be overly important to Sanders. Instead, the position he'll play is a non-factor in a race that is still way too close to call.

"I really can't say right now," Sanders said. "I think all of them are the same. I haven't gone to Mississippi State or Alabama's practices, so I really can't say. I'm just planning on taking as much time as I need. I want to make the right decision because that's where I'm going to be the next four years of my life."

Ole Miss, however, might have a bit of an advantage due to Patterson's scheduled arrival in Oxford this summer and the Rebels' increasing interest in his friend and teammate, junior fullback Ernest Harmon, who made the trip to Oxford with Sanders on Saturday.

"At the end, we're going to have to do what's best for us," Sanders said. "Maybe we can figure something out. …(Patterson) was telling me about some of the other colleges that were recruiting him. They're basically the same ones recruiting me. He told me why he didn't pick them or whatever."

Sanders, who said he's getting ready for spring drills by lifting weights and doing corner drills, said another key factor in his decision will be what he sees on fields around the Southeastern Conference this fall.

"I think that will impact on it a lot," Sanders said. "Ole Miss had a good year last year. I want to see if they can keep it up. Mississippi State has a new coach (Dan Mullen) and I want to see how he's going to improve Mississippi State."

Sanders who accumulated 800 yards of total offense and scored 14 offensive touchdowns, also recorded seven interceptions as a junior. Sanders also has scholarship offers from Tennessee and Southern Mississippi.

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