High school football returns to Mississippi in just over five weeks.
In preparation for the 2015 season, The Clarion-Ledger is evaluating each position and which players are primed for a breakout season.
Mississippi’s wide receiver talent is loaded across the board. To be fair in our breakdown, Oxford’s D.K. Metcalf and Starkville’s A.J. Brown aren’t included on this list due to the fact that they rank as the No. 1 and No. 2 receivers in Mississippi across the board. Here’s a look at six other wide outs to keep an eye on this fall.
Karter Bounds, senior, MRA
Bounds emerged as the Patriots go-to playmaker last season. The 5-foot-9 senior played a number of positions at MRA in 2014 (including several games under center in Hayden Davis’ absence), but is most effective when running short and intermediate routes as a slot receiver. Bounds’ quick, shifty hips allow him to evade defenders trying to jam him at the line of scrimmage and his size and speed give him an advantage playing against press coverage. The receiver totaled 43 receptions for 623 yards and seven touchdowns to go along with 129 carries for 695 yards and eight rushing touchdowns.
Tim Jones, junior, Biloxi
Jones won’t be flying under the radar if he continues to put together performances like he did in 2014. The Indians stand out racked up 100 receptions for 1,364 yards and 15 touchdowns and impressed with the strength to explode off the line of scrimmage and use his body to block and run off defenders. Jones has good upside and should he continue to add to his 6-foot-1, 200-pound frame, he could emerge as one of the more physically imposing receivers among a loaded group in 6A this year.
Daniel Crowell, senior, Meridian
Some will argue that Crowell is the most underrated receiver in Mississippi. The Ole Miss commit is explosive and quick off the ball, not to mention a huge threat in the open field with the ability to stretch defenses with his athleticism, range and speed. On a Wildcats team loaded with Division I talent, Crowell stands out as a do-it-all athlete and nearly notched a 1,000-yard season as a junior.
D.D. Bowie, junior, Morton
The Alabama commit with quick, fast feet is still raw, but detail-oriented. The wide-out gets down the field quickly and excels in deep ball situations in space. As a sophomore, Bowie racked up 41 receptions for 945 yards, which averaged more than 23 yards per catch. Bowie is explosive and his 6-foot-1, 197-pound frame has the potential to add more size, making him even harder to defend in single coverage.
Jordan Duncan, senior, Oak Grove
In a class loaded with wide receiver talent, Duncan is near the top. The three-star prospect holds offers from Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Alabama and Tennessee and ranks as the nation’s No. 66 wide receiver according to 247Sports. Duncan helped Oak Grove to a state championship in 2013 and the 6A title game appearance last year by running sharp, precise routes and making big catches when the game was on the line. Last season he totaled 71 receptions for 1,207 yards and 14 touchdowns and returns his senior year as the Warriors No. 1 scoring threat. His top-end speed isn’t off the charts but his ability to make plays in traffic is what makes the 6-foot-2, 190-pounder one of the state’s best.
Daquan Smith, senior, McComb
The 5-foot-8, 170-pounder is another slot receiver to keep an eye on this fall. Smith, a three-star prospect, accounted for a lot of the Tigers’ offensive prowess last season, tallying 40 receptions for 593 yards, and he was equally as effective out of the backfield with 75 carries for 445 yards and nine touchdowns. He has the quickness to get open on short routes and is dangerous as a kickoff and punt returner.
Contact Courtney Cronin at (601) 961-7091 or email@example.com. Follow @CourtneyRCronin.