April 27, 2010

Cleveland, Miss., standout wants to make early decision

Cleveland, Miss., has been good to Ole Miss the past two years.

First, Ole Miss dipped into the small town in the Mississippi Delta to nab Derrick Herman, who appears poised to challenge for time at running back and in the "Wild Rebel" this fall.

A year later, the Rebels signed Terrell Grant, who moved from wide receiver to safety and seems poised to have a bright career on defense.

This year, Ole Miss is flirting with another prospect from Cleveland, and there's a real chance that if the Rebels offer Jahmel McIntosh, the pipeline from Cleveland to Oxford just might become stronger.

"I went to a junior day at Ole Miss," McIntosh said. "They said they really liked me and they'd be in touch. They said they were going to drop by during spring training.

"Ole Miss is a good program. The past two years, we've sent some of our players to the University of Mississippi. There's a connection. There's a pipeline, so there's definitely a connection and I have visited often in Oxford. I've seen a lot of the players. I know most of them and I pretty much know how the program is and what's going on up there."

McIntosh, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound wide receiver/safety, said he plans to attend several games at Ole Miss this fall.

"Me and Terrell are pretty close," McIntosh said. "We're like brothers. Me and Derrick are pretty good friends."

Ole Miss has not yet offered McIntosh. The Rebels' archrival, Mississippi State, has extended a verbal offer, though McIntosh said he hasn't received the paperwork from Starkville yet. He's also hearing from Stanford, Vanderbilt, Alabama, LSU, Kansas State, Southern Mississippi, Tennessee and Michigan.

His decision, however, will likely come down to a battle between the in-state Egg Bowl rivals.

"Both schools are really good programs," McIntosh said. "It would just depend on where I feel more comfortable at the time."

Speaking of comfort, McIntosh prefers defense, though several schools are recruiting him primarily as a wide receiver.

"I'm physical," said McIntosh, who said he envisions a career at safety on the college level. "I like to hit. I could play either way, but I'd rather play safety in college."

McIntosh, who had 119 tackles and one interception along with 16 receptions for 420 yards and three touchdowns as a junior, might have solidified that opinion over the weekend with a strong showing at the Badger 7-on-7 tournament in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

"I had a really good tournament," McIntosh said. "I had six interceptions. I feel pretty good about that. I did pretty well on offense, too, but right now, I'm being recruited more as an athlete than as a wide receiver or a defensive back."

McIntosh, who has a 3.2 grade-point average and a 17 on the ACT, said he plans to camp at Ole Miss in June and at Alabama in July. He'll also attend a NIKE camp in Tuscaloosa on May 22.

"I want to make an early decision," McIntosh said. "I want to commit before my senior year in high school. That's what I'm banking on."

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