ESPN 150 S Antonio Conner talks finalists


BATESVILLE, Miss. -- Trying to help South Panola High to a state championship has kept Antonio Conner busy. His schedule won't lighten up much after the season.

The four-star safety will take all five of his official visits when his senior season is complete. His finalists are Alabama, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Georgia and LSU. He already has taken visits to check out the Crimson Tide, Rebels and MSU Bulldogs, and all have made strong impressions.

"I've been over there to Tuscaloosa a good many times," said the No. 2 safety in the nation. "It's real nice over there. The coaches and players over there, they get it. They work hard. Coach [Nick] Saban, he's going to keep it real with you. He's going to tell you straight up front. He's not going to beat around the bush with you."

Trips to Ole Miss and Mississippi State are easy to make. Both are a reasonable drive from Batesville. And first-year coach Hugh Freeze has given the Rebels' program some optimism.

"I talked to Coach Freeze a couple of times," said Conner, who is the 25th best prospect in the nation and the top prospect in Mississippi. "I can tell he's going to get things changed around over there. It seems like he may have things changed around if they can keep it going."

Mississippi State has been the predominant program in Mississippi while the Rebels have struggled. Many prospects in the Magnolia State have taken notice.

"We went over there for a couple of camps," Conner said of State. "It's real nice over there. They'll tell you up front how you're playing. Coach [Dan] Mullen, he's a good coach."

Considering he hasn't visited Georgia and LSU, Conner didn't have much to say about either. That will change when his visits begin.