If you only recruited players who played in high school within a 30 mile radius of Hattiesburg, you would have a good chance of winning the Egg Bowl.
No. 8 Ole Miss (9-2, 5-2 SEC) and Mississippi State (7-4, 4-3) face off in Starkville Thursday (6:30 p.m., ESPN) in a showcase of some of Mississippi’s top talent at to offer. Some of the headliners include:
- Running back Ole Miss Snoop Conner (Hattiesburg)
- Ole Miss wide receiver Dontario Drummond
- Mississippi State tackle Charles Cross (Laurel)
- Ole Miss wide receiver John Rhys Plumlee
- Mississippi State defensive tackle Jaden Crumedy (Oak Grove)
- Mississippi State Security Fred Peters (Colombia)
Not to mention players from Sumrall or Purvis or even a little further south in Biloxi, Gulfport or Pass Christian. With so many Southern Mississippi talent filling every roster, it’s no wonder the players know each other so well.
“I feel like we all just played in the same high school and stuff, and it’s a great feeling because we can see each other again, replay each other, have fun with each other,” Crumedy said. . “I like seeing the old people I was playing with and communicating with them after the game. I love the feeling.”
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Crumedy was a senior at Oak Grove when Plumlee was a junior. Cross and Drummond played Laurel and Conner together in the Little Brown Jug match. Cross is now an expected first-round pick, Conner ranks third in the SEC in rushing touchdowns, Drummond ranks fifth in touchdowns received, Crumedy leads Mississippi State in rushing quarterbacks and Plumlee has 128 yards in his last three games.
“It’s pretty special just for the state of Mississippi,” Conner said. “It’s going to be good. It’s a lot of us getting ready for the state of Mississippi. It’s pretty special.”
Cross said he would talk to Drummond, Plumlee and Conner after the game. He says there is no bad blood in rivalry. Crumedy said he would text a rival player every now and then or get a direct message on Twitter here or there, but for the most part there is not too much communication and certainly no chatter. .
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But it’s hard to say that there isn’t a natural tribalism in high school rivalries. Crumedy jokes that he “didn’t like” Cross too much before the offensive lineman joined him at Starkville. He didn’t know Cross from a stranger on the street. But he knew he had played against him in high school.
The animosity isn’t as strong for any of these guys anymore. Crumedy said he and Conner had previously trained together. And they could end up in the hole Thursday for their rival teams once again.
“It’s interesting. It’s interesting,” Cross said. “But it’s fun to see and play against other guys that I’ve played against.”
Contact Nick Suss at 601-408-2674 or [email protected] Follow @nicksuss on Twitter.