It all started with the chat of Erika Sisk not being nabbed by Ole Miss or Mississippi State when she goes to Murray State in August to continue with her Basketball and Track career. Then I got to thinking, not a whole lot of our OHS stud athletes have stayed at Ole Miss to continue on with sports.
It has amazed me how many of Oxford High's - and Lafayette's for that matter - student athletes that did not go to Ole Miss that wound up getting a scholarship offer to another D1 school, better known as a "BCS" school and did very well there.
Of the most recent ones that did commit to Ole Miss is Sam Kendricks (Track/OHS) Anne Threlkeld (Cross Country & Track/OHS), Kendrick Fox (Basketball/LHS), Zach Wilder (Tennis/OHS) and John Gunn (Basketball/OHS), in fact in football, I don't remember one soul that managed to commit to Ole Miss with a scholarship offer and played a down for them. There have been plenty that have walked on and may have played a down in garbage time, but nothing significant.
Of the athletes that got scholarship offers to D1 programs that did not go to the hometown university of Ole Miss include:
Brent Brownlee - Mississippi State (OHS/Baseball)
John Frink - Stanford (OHS/Football) (Part of Jim Harbaugh's first recruiting class at Stanford)
Guy Cameron Billups - Rice (OHS/Football)
Keith Searcy - Alcorn State (OHS/Basketball)
Jeremy Liggins^ - LSU (LHS/Football)
Justin Woodall - Alabama (LHS/Football) (Won Nat'l Title w/ Ala during Senior year)
Jeffery Dukes* - Alabama (LHS/Football)
Chad Cregar* - Western Kentucky (OHS/Baseball) (Proceeded to get drafted in the MLB)
Cade Hoggard - Mississippi State (OHS/Baseball) (Proceeded to go to Delta State)
Matt Malouf - Memphis (OHS/Football) (Finished at Samford)
Chelsea Tidwell - Winthrop/Arkansas (OHS/Soccer) (Finished at Arkansas)
Erika Sisk - Murray State (OHS/Basketball)
Larry Pettis - LA-Lafayette (OHS/Football)
DeShaun McNeal - LA-Lafayette (OHS/Football)
Dan Hicks - Florida State (OHS/Football)
Charley Sullivan* - Alabama (OHS/Baseball)
Hope Adams - Memphis (OHS/Basketball)
* - Started at Northwest CC before going to their respective colleges.
^ - Went to Mississippi Gulf Coast CC instead due to grades.
Erika's sister Amber Sisk is commited to Murray State as well and will be a senior next year at OHS. Now for some cases, like McNeal, he had only played during his senior year, so for a select few there were risks involved, few are understandable choices and a lot weren't even offered by Ole Miss. Most of these athletes either have started or are currently starting for their schools.
I'm sure I'm missing a bunch but these are some of the ones just off the top of my head that are notable. More than half went to a major program and one was a starter in Alabama's first BCS National Championship under Nick Saban.
I just wonder why Ole Miss routinely does not get these athletes to come and play or at least even offer a scholarship. The excuse of "I want to get away from my parents" is absurd. You can easily do that getting a room of your own across town. If you're sick of not seeing them, they're just a 5-minute drive away. You can live on your own and have the life of a college student in a place where you have lived all your life and know the back roads of every single street in Oxford. A scholarship can do that.
The athletes in the end make their own decisions of where they want to go, but it shouldn't be 75% of athletes going away from Oxford for college and 25% staying at Ole Miss. One would think they would stay in-state if offered and not make their parents, friends and other family members travel more than they have to to see their son/daughter play while having their college paid for. Money is involved in the decision making when it comes to the family, but the amount of time invested to see that athlete play should also be considered. Parents can't take 1-2 days off every week to travel some place to see their kid play.
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