September 15, 2009

Sanders intrigued by scandal involving former teammate

Vincent Sanders hasn't gotten on a scale recently, but he knows what so many who are losing or gaining weight know.

The clothes don't lie.

Sanders, a four-star wide receiver from Macon (Noxubee County), Miss., broke his jaw in the season-opening game last month. Since then, his jaw has been wired shut and his ability to consume solid food has been limited to say the least.

Almost four weeks later, there is light at the end of the tunnel and more importantly, perhaps, food at the end of the fork.

"It's going pretty good," Sanders said. "We're close to finishing up rehab. I've had nothing to eat but milkshakes. I'm just starting eating noodles and mashed potatoes. A lot of people said I've lost a lot. I can't fit in my UnderArmour."

Sanders doesn't laugh at his comments. Missing the last two games is not a laughing matter. Noxubee County plays West Point on Friday, and Sanders hinted repeatedly on Monday night that he'll be on the field.

"It's been kind of difficult," Sanders said. "I had a lot of goals set for myself. Now some won't be reached. My team is winning, so that's taken some of the stress out. "

The time away from the field, while unwanted, has given Sanders some extra time to focus on recruiting. In the past two weeks, he's had conversations with coaches at Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Alabama, Southern Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina and Wisconsin. He attended Mississippi State's opener against Jackson State on Sept. 5 and has tentative plans to be in Oxford when No. 5 Ole Miss entertains Southeastern Louisiana for the Rebels' home opener Saturday.

"(The Bulldogs' opener) went pretty good," Sanders said. "I got a chance to see their new offense. I knew they'd start off slow, which they did, but they picked it up in the second half."

Mississippi State might have some cleaning up to do off the field, however. Recently, Ole Miss freshman wide receiver Patrick Patterson, a former Noxubee County standout, had to re-take the ACT after someone told the testing organization that Patterson's original qualifying score was made fraudulently. Patterson re-took the test days before Ole Miss' opener at Memphis, made a qualifying score and was re-cleared to play college football.

"I heard something about it," Sanders said. "It surprised me a whole lot. I'm glad that he made a 20 again on it and he cleared. That's a good thing. I heard somebody from Mississippi State reported it. That's why I was so surprised. They had the same opportunity everybody else had to get him. …Right now, I really don't know what happened. I don't hold a grudge against anybody or something like that."

Sanders said he got a chance to visit with his former teammate recently and get a report regarding how things are going in Oxford. With Shay Hodge and Dexter McCluster out of eligibility at the conclusion of this season, Sanders figures to be a top target for the Rebels in February.

"(Patterson) came down for a couple of our practices," Sanders said. "I was asking him about everything up there. He told me about their drills, their practices and that kind of thing. He was telling me some good things about them."

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