The Clarion-Ledger’s stock watch is back after a few weeks hiatus to break down five players who have impressed with big performances.
These prospects have made an impact that has not only helped their teams inch closer to the postseason but has provided a boost to their recruitments.
Justin Connor, ATH, North Panola
North Panola’s season hasn’t gone according to plan, but it’s hard to ignore the numbers Connor puts up weekly. The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Ole Miss commit has rushed for over 1,000 yards and had his best performance of the season in a 30-18 loss to Water Valley last week. Connor rushed for 292 yards and three touchdowns coupled with two tackles, a forced fumble and an interception. The Cougars rely on Connor to do a lot, which sometimes spreads him thin on offense and defense. The four-star prospect will likely transition to cornerback at the next level, but a new set of blocking schemes at North Panola has allowed the athlete to showcase his explosiveness and potential to make an impact as an SEC running back. The Dandy Dozen selection being left off the Mississippi-Alabama and Bernard Blackwell All-Star rosters raised some eyebrows, but Connor continues to prove his value among the top prospects in Mississippi’s 2016 class.
Kylin Hill, RB, Columbus
Hill’s recent performances make him a candidate for this list every week. The four-star 2017 running back rushed for nearly 800 yards in Columbus’ first four region games, including 259 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Southaven. Hill is a strong, physical, power runner whose work in the weight room has paid dividends this year. Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Tennessee are all after the Falcons’ standout. They won’t be the only ones if he continues to perform at an elite level.
Alan Lamar, RB, DeSoto Central
There are 5-foot-9, 190-pound running backs just about everywhere you look in high school football. Alan Lamar is different. The DeSoto Central standout recorded 11 total touchdowns in an 87-86, triple-overtime loss to Olive Branch, which included eight rushing TDs to tie the state record. The three-star prospect holds more than a dozen offers from the likes of Yale, Harvard, Cornell and the service academies, but it’s hard to understand why a bigger school (say, Vanderbilt) hasn’t offered. Stanford might not be far away, though. Following Lamar’s explosive performance in Week 8, the Cardinal coaching staff began to express serious interest. His lateral quickness and change of direction speed is what makes him worthy of a bigger offer. The running back runs a 4.3 40-yard dash and has no issue finding a crease to rip off a long touchdown run. He also leads Mississippi in rushing through the first nine weeks with 2,022 yards.
Lorenzo Dantzler, DE, Starkville
Starkville’s defensive line is among the best in the state, and three-star defensive end Lorenzo Dantzler is every quarterback’s worst nightmare. The Louisiana Tech commit is the catalyst of the Yellowjackets’ pass rush and excels playing below the pad level. Dantzler’s best performance came during his team’s district opener at Callaway where he recorded four sacks and eight total tackles. His goals for the season are two-fold: record 20 sacks and make bigger schools take notice of his talents. Purdue, Arkansas State and Memphis have all shown recent interest and a late offer from a Power 5 school isn’t unlikely. At 6-foot-2, 240 pounds, Dantzler makes up for being slightly undersized with his speed. At the next level, the Starkville standout could transition into a hybrid defensive end or a stand-up linebacker brought in for pass coverage.
Zaire Jones, S, Meridian
Vanderbilt stole one of Mississippi’s top prospects when it landed a commitment from Jones at the end of September. The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder is among the hardest-hitting safeties in the state and a major reason why Meridian’s secondary limits so many deep threats. Jones is a force in the open field and excels in pass coverage, particularly with his ability to read situations before the ball is snapped. Versatility is key with Jones, and it has shown this season. The safety has over 50 tackles as a senior and two interceptions.
Contact Courtney Cronin at (601) 961-7091 or email@example.com. Follow @CourtneyRCronin on Twitter.