December 9, 2008

Bumphis hopes for 'Wild' finish to prep career

MOBILE, Ala. _ There are no feeling of jealousy this week for Chad Bumphis.

The four-star wide receiver from Tupelo, Miss., may be a little envious of fellow Magnolia State wideouts Patrick Patterson and Kevin Norwood, but instead of moping, he's focusing on one last chance to finish his prep career with a win.

Bumphis, in Mobile, Ala., this week for the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, is still getting over the Golden Wave's early playoff exit.

"Our season didn't go as planned, so I'm going to take this week to try to make myself feel better about my high school career," Bumphis said, laughing. "We had big dreams of playing for state this year. At the beginning of the season, we thought there was no way we wouldn't make it, and it just didn't work out. This feels great to represent my state, so I'm just taking it to have fun and get a little better.

"It was pretty tough, knowing we should've been there, but I was happy for all of them because the way they played, they deserve it."

When Saturday's game ends, the focus will turn to recruiting. He took an official visit to Kentucky over the weekend with his high school teammate, best friend and Kentucky commitment, Justin Bean.

"It was real nice," Bumphis said. "We talked to Coach (Joker) Phillips, the wide receiver coach and he was telling me and Justin Bean how we could come in and play early and how they'd use me in that wildcat formation and everything."

Bumphis has scheduled three January visits. He'll go to Alabama Jan. 9, Florida on Jan. 16 and then to Ole Miss on Jan. 23.

"I think I'm going to take one to (Mississippi State) whenever I figure out who they're going to hire," said Bumphis, who added that he doesn't have a leader, though Florida is recruiting him hardest. "I'll set it all up.

"They're all four just like a roller coaster. I like them all. Alabama has a great team and I like the way they use their receivers. Ole Miss spreads the ball around and they talk about how they're going to use me in a lot of ways."

Mississippi State dismissed Sylvester Croom one day after the Bulldogs' 45-0 Egg Bowl loss at Ole Miss.

"I really hate it for him because he's a great coach and a great guy, but as much as I hate to say it and no disrespect to him at all, but I'm just happy that it went ahead and happened before I was there," Bumphis said. "I think it was better for the players that it happened before we were already committed and then we'd be there stuck in an offense or something that didn't fit us."

This week, Bumphis is working in the slot as well as in Team Mississippi's wildcat package, one that looks a lot like the "Wild Rebel" offense Ole Miss employs with Dexter McCluster.

"I played quarterback a few games," Bumphis said. "(Chris Garrett) was out two games, so I played and it helped, I guess. On running plays, I'm always reading the defense, so it helped a lot."

As for the Rebels' specific chances, Bumphis remains coy.

"At the beginning of the season, Mike Wallace was graduating and (Ole Miss wide receivers) Coach (Ron) Dickerson thought Shay Hodge was going to leave. They've been telling me about running the `Wild Rebel,' so I'll just talk to them and see."

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