Antonio Conner was the fourth five-star signee for Ole Miss on National Signing Day Wednesday. Conner, a South Panola product, was considered the No. 2 safety in the country by multiple recruiting services.
Ole Miss was in the national spotlight for National Signing Day on Wednesday, as head coach Hugh Freeze reeled in the best-ranked class in school history, filled with big-name prospects. However, one of the highest-ranked recruits didn’t come from too far away.
South Panola safety Antonio Conner signed his letter of intent to play for the Rebels next season, choosing Ole Miss over Alabama.
“It was a real great battle,” Conner said. “Alabama and Ole Miss were my first two offers.”
Conner, who is a five-star prospect according to Scout.com and 247Sports, is a part of what has been ranked the best recruiting class in the history of Ole Miss and could make an impact early in his career.
Freeze said they look at Conner to play the huskie position for the Rebel defense for the next few seasons.
“I think he’s one of the best safeties to come out of high school in a long time,” Freeze said. “He’s so physical, so rangy, so fast. He’s an immediate difference maker in what we do. We need our best athlete to play our huskie position, and we’ve identified him as that type of guy.”
He joins a long line of talented players who star at South Panola and eventually go on to sign with Ole Miss. Conner said that he heard from many of those players about Ole Miss but that it did not have much of an impact on his decision.
In addition to being hotly recruited by Ole Miss and personally by head coach Hugh Freeze, he was highly coveted by Alabama and Nick Saban.
“He was telling me that I might get early playing time over there,” Conner said. “(But) I just think I had a better chance to get on the field in my home state.”
It was clear that Conner is proud to stay in his home state and that early playing time was one of the key factors in his recruitment. South Panola head coach Lance Pogue feels he can do just that.
“If there is a guy that’s physically and mentally ready from a maturity standpoint to play early, he fits the bill,” Pogue said. “He will make an impact early.”
Conner feels that the class that Ole Miss signed can accomplish things at Ole Miss that most people would be afraid to admit.
“We’re going to make it to the top,” Conner said. “We’re going to the BCS National Championship. We’re fixing to put Mississippi on the map.”
For continuing coverage of Ole Miss football, follow @JLgrindin and @thedm_sports on Twitter.