July 26, 2008

Ole Miss jumps into mix for 4-star WR

Prior to Saturday's invitation-only elite camp at Ole Miss, the Rebels seemed to be on the outside without much of a chance in the race for Tupelo, Miss., four-star wide receiver Chad Bumphis.

That changed on Saturday.

"Today said a lot," said Bumphis, a 5-foot-11, 185-pounder ranked No. 4 among all prospects in Mississippi and No. 19 nationally among wide receivers by Rivals.com. "It put them right up there at the top. I like all of the coaches and I like the offensive coordinator (Kent Austin). He broke down how they're going to play next year and how they're going to throw."

Bumphis, who ran a 4.6 40-yard dash on the artificial surface inside Ole Miss' indoor practice facility, seemed to form a connection with Louisville, Miss., quarterback Clayton Moore during individual passing drills. Bumphis admitted that he relished chances to compete against Moore's high school teammate, athlete Dennis Thames, and West Helena, Ark., five-star standout Darius Winston.

"I enjoyed it a lot," Bumphis said. "I liked the one-on-ones. I just like competing. I like Dennis. He was competitive. Every time I got up there he wanted to go up against me. I liked (Winston) a lot, too. He was pretty good. He was physical."

Bumphis spent quite a bit of time Saturday talking to Moore and Thames, and he said late Saturday that he's struck up a friendship with the duo during the recruiting process. However, Bumphis said friendships won't impact his final decision.

"It's still going to be about what's best for me, but it would be fun to play with them," Bumphis said.

Bumphis' day got cut a little short when he rolled his right ankle during individual drills late in Saturday's camp. He had a noticeable limp late Saturday, but Bumphis said the injury isn't serious.

"It's all right," Bumphis said. "I was scared, but it's not bad."

Bumphis and Thames will accompany Tupelo quarterback/LSU commitment Chris Garrett to Baton Rouge, La., on Tuesday. The Tigers are in hot pursuit of both Bumphis and Thames and were one of four schools on top of Bumphis' list going into Saturday. Now Ole Miss is apparently very much in that mix, along with LSU, Mississippi State, Florida and Alabama.

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