December 9, 2009

Four-star athlete slowing down as process speeds up

MOBILE, Ala. -- In the days immediately following Mississippi State's Egg Bowl win over Ole Miss, Matthew Wells came oh-so-close to giving his verbal commitment to the Bulldogs.

Something stopped him, however, from pulling the trigger.

This week, as the four-star athlete from Monticello (Lawrence County), Miss., prepares for Saturday's Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Wells said he did the right thing by waiting awhile.

"I just wanted to make sure it was the right decision before I just rushed into one that I'm really not sure about," Wells said. "I wanted to say I was close, but in my mind, it might not have been the best decision."

Wells, who projects as a running back at the next level, is playing strong safety for Team Mississippi this week. He'll almost certainly represent Mississippi the next four or five years as well, as his two finalists are clearly Ole Miss and Mississippi State.

Wells, a 6-foot, 190-pounder ranked by Rivals.com as the nation's No. 246 prospect, said he's exercising his mind quite a bit lately, comparing and contrasting the Rebels and Bulldogs.

"I pretty much evaluate all I could possibly do," Wells said. "I just have to figure out which one is the best for me, which one is the best fit. …One gives more effort, I believe. As far as the plays, some plays fit me better than others."

Wells will visit Mississippi State on Jan. 15. He'll follow that with a trip to Ole Miss on Jan. 22. Wells admitted he knows more members of the Mississippi State team than he does players at Ole Miss, so during his trip to Oxford, he wants to get a feel for the people who make up the Rebels' program.

"I want to do that as quickly as possible," Wells said. "I want to talk to them and see what they have to say and see how the program really works."

When he leaves Oxford, Wells said, he believes he'll be ready to make a decision.

"I think it will come down to one or two different things that separate them," Wells said. "There's not too many different (things)."

PARKER IN NO RUSH: While Wells works this week in the defensive secondary, Team Mississippi seems ready to hand the football to three-star running back Nicholas Parker early and often. Parker, a 6-foot-2, 210-pounder from Batesville, Miss., just finished leading South Panola to a state championship last week in snowy Jackson.

"I had to pick it up," Parker said, referring to a slow start to his season. "If I wanted to win a state championship, I had to pick it up."

Parker said he's hearing from LSU, Southern Miss, Tennessee, Auburn, Ole Miss. The Rebels, it has been reported, have talked to Parker about playing fullback at the college level, though Parker said late Tuesday Ole Miss "likes me at tailback. They like how I run the ball."

Parker said he has no official visits scheduled yet and no favorites.

"Everybody's equal," Parker said.

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