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October 15, 2008

Four-star JUCO OT sets Ole Miss visit

Ole Miss will likely sign six or seven offensive linemen for its 2009 signing class, and two or three of those prospects will probably be junior college transfers who can impact immediately on the field next fall.

The Rebels have not only offered four-star Coffeyville (Coffeyville C.C.), Kansas prospect James Carpenter, but also went up for further evaluation of the 6-foot-5, 305 pound offensive tackle prospect during Ole Miss' bye week last week.

Carpenter has offers from Ole Miss, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, UAB, Kansas, and Texas Tech. He also received attention from another school last week - one that also had a bye week - Alabama.

"Coach (Joe) Pendry came by and they're just taking a look at me," Carpenter said. "I talked with coach Pendry and he told me to go ahead and take my visit to Iowa State and they'd see where I stand and be back in touch with me."

Carpenter is set to visit Iowa State this weekend, the team that signed him as a lightly recruited two-star prospect in 2007. Iowa State was the only team to offer the Hephzibah, Ga. native during his initial recruitment.

"I don't plan on committing to Iowa State when I'm up there this weekend, but you never know," Carpenter said. "But I don't have any plans on committing and want to take my visits first."

Those visits will include an official visit to Texas Tech on Nov. 7 and then Carpenter will trip to Ole Miss for an official visit on Nov. 28 for the Rebels "Egg Bowl" match-up with Mississippi State.

While most prospects develop a top five list and take official visits to those schools, Carpenter is taking a reverse approach.

"I don't have a top five list," he said. "I'm going to take my official visits and then I'll decide on the top five.

With three visits accounted for, and the possibility that Alabama, and even South Carolina, could enter the picture and merit official visits later on, that might be the proper approach for Carpenter, who is becoming a hot property mid-way through the junior college season.

Carpenter said he doesn't have a date set, but would also like to take an unofficial visit to Kansas to check out the Jayhawks during the season.

South Carolina, a school that has recruited Carpenter, but not offered, could be a player as the school is closer to his Augusta-area hometown than any other school. Carpenter has stated in previous interviews that returning to the South is a major priority in his recruitment.

While Ole Miss showed the flag at Coffeyville last week, it's clear that Carpenter is a prospect they would love to have.

"I talked with coach (Mike) Markuson (Ole Miss offensive line coach) after he left," Carpenter said. "We have a good relationship. He just told me he wants to get me down to Ole Miss and to get the ball rolling (on his recruitment)."

Carpenter is looking at several criteria when it comes to furthering his college career.

"Playing time is always important," he said. "I want to go somewhere where I can play and where I'll be developed for the NFL. Coaches are also important, and I want to go somewhere where the team is going to win some games."

Carpenter will have three years to complete two years of eligibility after this season and expects to be a December graduate.


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