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Sunday, February 3, 2013
Antonio Conner breaks down top three

By Dave Hooker

With three days until national signing day, Antonio Conner was ready to break down his top three schools.

In his first public comments in weeks, the ESPN 150 prospect from Batesville (Miss.) South Panola confirmed he is down to three schools: Alabama, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.

Certainly the winning tradition at Alabama has caught Conner's eye. He has said that's important in his recruitment. He has often mentioned how much pride he takes in his high school's winning ways. South Panola won a state title in 2012.

"Alabama is a tradition like no other," said Conner, who took his official visit to see the school on Jan. 11. "Every year you can look forward to winning a state championship at my school. At Alabama, you can look forward to winning a BCS title. There's going to be hard work there. They put in hard work like we put in hard work."

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Conner took his official visit to Ole Miss on Jan. 25. First-year head coach Hugh Freeze has made a positive impression.

"Ole Miss, everything is getting turned around with Coach Freeze there," said Conner, ranked No. 24 in the ESPN 150. "He's really getting things changed there. … I think he'll have a tremendous season next year."

Conner is well aware of the class that Ole Miss is assembling. It currently ranks No. 13 in the nation and figures to move up.

"The class that they're getting right now, it seems like they're going to be a top recruiting class," said Conner, who is the top prospect in Mississippi.

That, however, won't be a big factor in his Conner's decision. "Wherever I go I've got to feel like I'm comfortable," Conner said. "... It doesn't affect me at all."

Conner has a close connection with Mississippi State. He said assistant coach Deshea Townsend feels like family. Conner has also grown close to safeties coach Tony Hughes. Conner also said he has great respect for head coach Dan Mullen.

"He always told me he's going to get something going at Mississippi State," said Conner, who added he was impressed by the new football facilities in Starkville. "It's great down there."

Conner said he will announce his college decision on Wednesday, national signing day. He said he's not sure what time the signing will take place but that it will be at his high school. The four-star Conner is the top-rated prospect in Mississippi and the No. 2 safety in the country.