On July 13, The Clarion-Ledger kicks off our great summer tradition of revealing the 12 best high school football players in Mississippi.
This will be the 27th year of the annual football Dandy Dozen. A new player named to the coveted preseason list will be revealed daily at 11:30 a.m. July 13-24 at clarionledger.com, followed by a breakdown analysis of why the player was chosen.
After all the selections are revealed, the Dandy Dozen photo shoot will take place at Veterans Memorial Stadium on July 28. The Clarion-Ledger’s special Dandy Dozen section will be on stands Aug. 2.
For those who don’t know and others who want a refresher of the selection process, here’s how we choose the Dandy Dozen and answers to other frequently asked questions.
1. Who’s eligible?
The Dandy Dozen is a group of the top 12 high school football players throughout the state of Mississippi. The list is comprised of players entering their senior seasons this fall.
2. How is the Dandy Dozen chosen?
The Clarion-Ledger high school sports staff picks each member of the Dandy Dozen based on a number of factors. We take into consideration what each player has done the previous season, the type of competition this player faces on a given Friday night, a player’s recruitment/stock as a future college prospect, our own observations about the type of season each player projects to have in 2015 and where they stand among the rest of the talent in Mississippi. This isn’t something we can do without some help. In choosing the Dandy Dozen, we consult with a large number of high school and college football coaches, scouts, recruiting analysts and others who cover high school football.
3. Recruiting vs. high school football
The fact that Player X is a four-star prospect and claims 15 Division I offers doesn’t automatically make him a guaranteed pick for the Dandy Dozen. In most cases, a player’s recruitment is a reflection of how dominant that prospect is at the high school level, but also takes into effect one’s upside and where he projects at the next level. The Dandy Dozen is a list of the top 12 most dominant high school football players right now, not two to three years in the future. We’re often asked how much a player’s recruitment comes into effect when picking between players for the Dandy Dozen. It certainly plays some role, but isn’t the biggest factor in determining our list.
4. It’s not position specific
There’s no set number of positions that need to be filled. Over the last few years, several Dandy Dozen groups didn’t feature a quarterback. Last year, seven of the 12 were defensive players highlighted by an elite group of safeties and athletes. The strength of various position groups changes from year to year.
5. Where a prospect is committed does not matter
Some years the Dandy Dozen will feature eight prospects who have already pledged a commitment prior to August before their senior year. Others years there will be more prospects who aim to commit later in their senior year. Where a player is/isn’t committed does not matter when choosing the Dandy Dozen. If the list consists of six Ole Miss commits and only two for Mississippi State, so be it. If there are nine committed to Mississippi State, two to Alabama and one to Ole Miss, everyone is welcomed the same.
6. The Dandy Dozen is not the Targeted 22
The Clarion-Ledger’s Targeted 22 is a list of Mississippi’s top football recruits based on a prospect’s recruiting stock. That list is strictly focused on a player’s recruitment, where he is projected to end up signing, how/why he is receiving new offers and where he stands among the rest of the top college football prospects in the state.
7. Order doesn’t matter
To squash any conspiracy theories about Player No. 1 being more important than the twelfth player chosen to the Dandy Dozen, the 12 players named from July 13-24 are selected in random order. No one spot on the list holds more weight than another.
Other housekeeping items:
Guess the Dandy Dozen content
Want to go head-to-head with the experts? Send your 12 picks for the 2015 Dandy Dozen to email@example.com or tweet them to @CourtneyRCronin by July 12, and you’ll be entered in our Dandy Dozen contest. The winner will receive a 2015 Dandy Dozen t-shirt and will be notified after all 12 selections are made.
Dandy Dozen on social media
Keep up with our daily reveals on Twitter/Facebook by using the #Dandy12 hashtag. Once the entire list has been revealed, C-L high school sports and recruiting editor Courtney Cronin will host a live chat via Periscope on July 24. Bring any and all questions you have about our list, hits and misses, etc.