October 1, 2008

JUCO OT talks about Rebel win

Headed into the 2008 season at Northwest (Miss.) C.C., offensive tackle Heath Blount appeared to be set to take a slow approach to the recruiting process, but two unofficial visits to Ole Miss and an upset by the Rebels over then No. 4 Florida could speed up the pace of his recruiting process.

"That's all I need - an offer," Blount said on Tuesday. "Their win over Florida was really impressive and I really like it over there. I was very excited about their win."

Blount, a 6-foot-5, 295 pound offensive tackle who plays on the left side at Northwest, was not recruited out of Bayou Academy in Cleveland, Miss. two years ago, but has emerged as a legitimate Division I prospect on the Booneville campus.

He currently has offers from UAB and Louisiana Tech and is hearing from Mississippi State, Kansas State, Nebraska, Auburn, and Ole Miss.

"I talked with coach (Mike) Markuson last week," Blount said. "He was just checking in to see how things are going and staying in touch and letting me know they're interested."

While the Rebels have yet to offer, it's not a situation unique to Blount as Markuson, the Rebels offensive line coach, is looking at a host of junior college and high school prospects to see which ones best fill the needs of an Ole Miss offensive line that will lose All-American left tackle Michael Oher and his line mates - Maurice Miller and Darryl Harris - after this season. Unofficially, the Rivals.com database shows only five offensive line offers currently extended to prospects who have yet to commit to a school and interviews with prospects indicate Markuson and the staff are busy evaluating several prospects during the season this fall before they'll make a decision on which prospects to offer. Ole Miss is expected to sign between six and eight offensive lineman and currently only have two committed.

Meanwhile, Blount said he's played well this season, but his play is overshadowed by Northwest's 0-5 start; however, coaches are still showing interest.

"My head coach doesn't want recruiting to be a distraction and he talks to most of the coaches who are calling," Blount said. "My coach said he's getting three or four calls a week asking about me. He wants me to wait until closer to the end of the season before getting too involved in recruiting. He told me that he thinks several schools are real close to offering."

Still, a few calls go directly to Blount. In addition to the talk with Markuson, Blount said he also recently talked with Auburn offensive line coach Hugh Nall.

Blount said he would love to return to Ole Miss this weekend for the South Carolina game. During his last trip for the Vanderbilt game, he said he was able to visit the Grove and re-unite with some Cleveland friends and had an enjoyable experience. However, this weekend, his sister is getting married and he won't be able to attend the game.

Blount was a full qualifier out of high school and does not have to graduate from junior college to transfer to the school of his choice in January. He will have two years of eligibility left after this season and three years in which to complete it.

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