Southern Elite gives opportunity

Published 12:01 pm Friday, July 1, 2016

The Southern Elite Combine was held in Oxford for the fifth straight year Wednesday. David Johnson, who helped start the combine and grow it into what it is today, estimated that 186 high school football players were in attendance.

That’s nearly 200 players who were put in front of an array of high school coaches, recruiting analysts and media and got the chance to make themselves known.

Granted, not everybody in attendance was starving for exposure. There were some players — South Panola’s O’Bryan Goodson and Oxford’s Devin Rockette and D.Q. Thomas to name a few — who are already committed to FBS schools or have multiple offers, but the combine gives so many more players in this area and in the state who have the same dream of playing at the next level that opportunity to show what they’ve got that they may not otherwise get if the combine didn’t exist.

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A couple of examples this year were wide receiver Tyrese Quinn, the brother of Ole Miss receiver Derrick Jones who’s a rising senior at little ole Calhoun City, and Garrison Boling, a senior linebacker at Northpoint Christian in Southaven who was virtually unheard of in the recruiting world until Wednesday. Both got their names out there by being named to the all-combine team, and they may get a profile on recruiting websites out of it, too.

Not every player will be offered a scholarship. Of the ones that are, not all will get the chance to play on the same level. But the combine at least gives them a chance, and that’s what it’s all about.