JACKSON, Miss. -- Nickalos Brassell says he doesn't have a leader. However, one school - via a flurry of public commitments this week - has definitely made an impression on the Batesville (South Panola), Miss., star.
Last Saturday, Brassell camped at Ole Miss and told RebelGrove.com that the (then impending) commitments of fellow campers Donte Moncrief and T.J. Worthy could steer his decision toward that same school. He didn't elaborate, but a simple "yes," a nod, and a smile was a clear detail.
Fast forward to Wednesday, and Brassell found himself reunited with Moncrief in his state's capital city for the Clarion-Ledger's Dandy Dozen photo shoot. With Moncrief and Worthy having gone public with commitments to Ole Miss, Brassell revisited his relationship with the pair.
"To see them go to a school that I like, and then I choose another school, it would be hard to choose another school," Brassell said. "But I'm open to any school."
Four Ole Miss commits were in attendance at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium and chosen for the annual, prestigious award: Moncrief, Pascagoula defensive back Senquez Golson, Sylva Bay athlete Cody Prewitt, and Taylorsville linebacker Marcus Mayers. Prewitt pledged in June, but the other three commits have been a part of an incredibly successful several days for the Rebels.
"A lot of the boys out here that committed, we're cool. So, Ole Miss has a chance to me," Brassell said.
Brassell (6-foot-2, 180) went from Oxford to Tuscaloosa, Ala., for an Alabama camp, then straight from Tuscaloosa to Jackson, Miss., where he ran into the familiar faces. Upon his return to the Magnolia State, Brassell reported that the Crimson Tide has definitely become more of a player in the race for his signature.
Brassell will pick from a high-profile offer list. Several SEC institutions, Notre Dame, Southern Cal, and others, are fighting for his services. Brassell said he plans to make his announcement at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas, on January 9, where his South Panola head coach, Lance Pogue, is set to coach the East squad.
Pogue, who has sent off his share of players to college, thinks Brassell has "unlimited potential." Pogue was entering his first year at the helm of the state's most consistent program when he took notice of a thin, playmaking freshman.
"We knew, without question, he was an outstanding talent," Pogue recalled. "He played sparingly as a ninth grader, but he made a lot of plays. As a sophomore, he arrived on the scene, and then last year he had a phenomenal year, so it's just been a steady progression."
Brassell, Pogue said, will return kicks and play on both sides of the ball as a senior. Most of the time, he'll line up as a wide receiver, but Pogue plans to use Brassell as a wildcat quarterback and a true running back when the proper situations present themselves on offense. Defensively, Brassell will play either as a corner or safety, depending on the opponent.
That versatility, Pogue believes, is what makes Mississippi's top player so appealing.
"He's a guy that can play on both sides of the ball in college. That's at a premium, because he's very, very skilled and he's got speed and great ball skills," Pogue noted. "He's a phenomenal receiver, but you're talking about a guy that's 6-foot-2. If you were to play (Brassell at) corner, and today's corner is 5-foot-9, 5-foot-10, he's in another market.
"If he were to commit to just being a full, every-down corner, I think it's unlimited what he could be, but I think this guy is good enough to play SEC football on both sides of the ball."
Brassell, who plans to visit Tennessee and Mississippi State prior to fall practice, also has the motor and stamina to accommodate two multiple positions at the next level. The Mississippi weather can wilt players, but Brassell has the endurance to withstand the scorching summer and early fall conditions.
"We've never had a problem with him in this Mississippi heat and humidity," Pogue remarked. "He doesn't cramp."
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