April 27, 2009

Rebs hope first impression is lasting for four-star OL

Ron Dickerson Jr. recruits the Mississippi Gulf Coast for Ole Miss.

On Monday, however, on the first day college coaches were allowed to make in-person spring evaluations of rising high school seniors, it was Rebel offensive line coach Mike Markuson _ and not Dickerson _ who was making a house call at Harrison Central High School in Gulfport, Miss.

Markuson spent part of Monday getting to know Harrison Central four-star offensive guard Wes Rea, a gesture that clearly impressed the 6-foot-5, 290-pounder.

"It went good," Rea said Monday night. "He just came by the school. We're not allowed to sit down and have a long discussion but we bumped into each other. It meant a lot to me. He said I was the first guy he came to see. Him being the offensive line coach, it meant a lot to me to see how important to him and his program I am."

Rea said his discussion with Markuson was "just small-talk, really nothing about football. We were just talking and starting a relationship, I guess you could say."

Rea said he expects LSU and Alabama to make similar house calls over the next three weeks. Harrison Central began spring practice Monday, but Rea took the day off, having just completed the high school baseball season over the weekend.

"I'm still into baseball, getting ready for summer," said Rea, who hit .520, with five home runs during his junior season as a pitcher and first baseman.

Rea will spend most of his summer playing baseball for the Louisiana Knights showcase team, a club organized by a former Cleveland Indians scout. Baseball, obviously, is vitally important to Rea, and it's the wildcard in his recruitment. Schools, including Ole Miss, have talked to Rea about playing both football and baseball at the college level, but Rea doesn't feel that's a realistic option.

"It would be hard to play offensive line and play baseball," Rea said. "It's going to boil down to having to make a choice. Football practice and all the two-a-days, of course, that's more dreaded, but Friday night lights are unexplainable. I don't really have a favorite, so it's going to come down to what offers I have and what kind of (scholarship) money I'm offered in baseball."

As for football, should Rea decide to go that route, he said Monday he hasn't "really picked a favorite. I wasn't able to do much research or go see any schools. I'm going to get out this summer and go see some places.''

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