Almost any college recruiter will say that getting a prospect on campus for a visit is a key to signing the prospect, and Ole Miss took that first step when Boutte (Hahnville HS), La. three-star running back Alfred Blue tripped to Oxford for the Rebels' senior camp last Saturday.
Blue, a 6-foot-2, 203 pound prospect quickly showed why the Rebel staff has offered when he ran a 4.45 40-yard dash and otherwise was impressive in camp.
Blue was also not disappointed in what it saw at Ole Miss and with the Rebel coaching staff.
"I talked to just about everybody up at Ole Miss," Blue said on Wednesday. "I talked with Coach (Houston) Nutt, Coach (Kim) Dameron, Coach (Derrick) Nix, Coach Nutt's brother (Danny Nutt) and several other coaches. They showed me a lot of attention."
According to Blue, that attention is based on his potential to play quarterback in Ole Miss' Wild Rebel formation - a formation where an athlete takes the snap in a shotgun formation with the option to either hand off, run the football, or pass it.
The Wild Rebel has caught the attention of numerous prospects across the southeastern United States who would like to succeed senior Dexter McCluster, who frequently ran the formation last fall for Ole Miss.
However, while McCluster enjoyed tremendous success running the ball - and even handing it off on occasion - he was 0-5 passing the football with two interceptions. That's because at 5-foot-8, 165 pounds, he often had difficulty in seeing over the line.
What the Rebels may be after is an athlete who can run like McCluster, but also has the arm to keep defensive backs from cheating to stop the run because of being a true passing threat.
Blue said he offers that package - and loves the "wildcat" formation.
"I run that formation for my high school and I love it," he said. "The coaches (at Ole Miss) had me throw some for them and I think I did pretty good. I'd say I can throw the ball between 60 and 65 yards."
While Blue may have the arm, it's not something he was asked to do last year in high school as he gained 603 yards on 87 carries and 10 touchdowns while catching seven passes for 72 yards and another two scores and wasn't asked to pass the football.
Blue has amassed offers from Ole Miss, LSU, Arkansas, Colorado, Texas A&M, Tulane, FIU , Tulsa and McNeese State. He camped this summer at LSU and Alabama in addition to Ole Miss.
The trip to Ole Miss has the Rebels in good shape, but Blue stopped short of naming the Rebels his leader on Wednesday.
When asked who is standing out, Blue replied "Ole Miss and LSU" and said those two programs are currently equal for his services. He said he doesn't plan to make a verbal pledge until after his senior season.
Still, Ole Miss made an impression.
"I loved it at Ole Miss," he said. "I really liked the atmosphere and it definitely felt like home. The coaches showed me a lot of love and told me that they want me to come there and that they really need me."
Blue said the overriding consideration in where he ultimately decides to play football will be the potential for him to play early.
"I want to be there as a true freshman," he said. "I want to go somewhere where I can play early and be on the field next fall."
One person that believes Blue has the potential to do that is Hahnville Head Coach Lou Valdin.
"He is very lean, fast and knows how to run off blocks," Valdin told TigerBait.com earlier this month. "You are just talking about a good kid. He is a big kid that I believe can be the workhorse kind of back on the collegiate level. I can see him carrying the ball 15-20 times in the SEC and the schools believe that as well if you look at the offers he has."
Originally believed to be a 2011 prospect, Valdin also told TigerBait.com that Blue has fast-tracked his academics and will graduate from Hahnville in three years.
"He is going to graduate in the spring of 2010," Valdin said. "He is a young kid. Something happened in either first or second grade or whatever but he has hit the books hard and will graduate in three years. He will have his core, test score everything.
Blue told RebelSports.net on Wednesday that he has a 3.0 GPA and will take the ACT for the first time in September.