March 24, 2008

Rebels pusue speedy Mobile combo

Mobile's Williamson High School is known primarily for producing former LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell, who went on to be the first pick in the 2007 NFL draft and is ready to become the Oakland Raiders' starter.

A couple of wide receivers from that same school in the Port City are looking to have Williamson known for more than a gun-slinging passer.
Mujahid Assad and LaVoyd James are two of the less heralded rising senior prospects in Alabama, but both players have landed scholarship offers from Ole Miss and are gaining momentum in recruiting circles.

"They've been big assets to our program," Williamson coach Bobby Parrish said. "I see them helping whatever program they end up with. Their work ethic is great. They both run track. They're both special athletes."

Assad, a 6-foot-1, 184-pounder with explosive speed, has offers from [tm]Ole Miss[/tm] and [tm]Mississippi State[/tm] and interest from [tm]Auburn[/tm]. [tm]Alabama[/tm] is evaluating him, and Assad said he expects to take a visit to Tuscaloosa sometime this spring. However, he's not at all set on staying in his home state.

"I didn't grow up cheering for anybody," Assad said.

Assad, who had 33 catches for 517 yards and 10 touchdowns last season, said his strong suit is breaking tackles after the catch.

"He's our deep-ball guy," Parrish said. "He needs to improve his ability on short passes, but he can get deep."
James, meanwhile, is dangerous on short routes. The 5-10, 174-pounder is "like (Carolina Panthers star) Steve Smith," Assad said. "He's real good in the open field. I don't have moves like he does."

James said Ole Miss is the leader for his services. He told that he plans to make it to Ole Miss for one of the Rebels' remaining junior days. He's eager to learn about the school and meet the new Ole Miss coaches.

"I like their school colors," said James, who recently collected a scholarship offer from Mississippi State and, like Assad, attended Auburn's junior day. "That's all I know right now."

Catching passes from Auburn signee Brandon Smith, who is expected to enroll at Jones (Miss.) Junior College this fall, James caught 25 passes for approximately 650 yards as a junior.

As with any prospect from Alabama, a late charge by the Crimson Tide or Auburn can change things in a hurry. Another Williamson product, defensive lineman Terrance Coleman, has already committed to Auburn. Coleman also has an offer from Ole Miss, among other schools. However, Parrish said Ole Miss has a strong chance on both players.

"The state schools are here, but you have to go where you feel comfortable," Parrish said. "The chance Ole Miss has is great. They offered so early and they're an up-and-coming program."

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