Former Pine Belt players suit up for Ole Miss

Published: Jan. 1, 2022 at 2:36 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WDAM) -The Pine Belt’s presence can be seen during any Ole Miss offensive drive, the stats sheets often littered with outstanding performances from area players.

While all of them are finding their success for the Rebels, it was their hard work in the Pine Belt that landed them in an Ole Miss uniform including running back and former Hattiesburg High School Tiger Jarod “Snoop” Conner.

“When I think of Snoop Conner, I think of a guy (that) epitomizes what we’re looking for in high school football players as coaches,” said Tony Vance, Conner’s former coach at Hattiesburg. “Probably never had a guy that’s worked as hard as he worked in the weight room, on the field to develop himself and be a master of his craft.”

Conner carried that same ethic to Oxford and it paid off with time on the field and in the limelight.

“I enrolled early to try and get some playing time on the field because I knew I wasn’t a highly recruited player,” Conner said. “So, I just went there, started working, put my head down and just kept going,”

Conner hasn’t stopped going since, recording more than 1,500 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns in his three years as a Rebel.

Another Pine Belt player who spent part of his time under center in high school was Sumrall High School’s Dannis Jackson.

The Bobcats former receiver-turned-quaterback-turned-receiver has had to sit on the sidelines for most of his collegiate career, but found openings this season.

“He’s been willing to wait his turn to play receiver and so some injuries this year allowed him to get on the field about mid-season and you got to see his talent,” Sumrall head coach Shannon White. “You felt like he belonged and then you saw he belonged.”

In this era of college football, players found waiting their turn seems few and far between, but Jackson has done just that.

“(Given) the nature of (a lot of) players today and the transfer portal, he’s hung in there,” White said, “which, if you know Dannis, doesn’t surprise you.”.

And that waiting was necessary because of the depth of talent Ole Miss has stockpiled at the position.

“Ole Miss is off the charts at receiver,” White said. “I don’t think there’s a better place to be in America.”

That is something Dontario Drummond knows as well. The standout wide receiver, who started his journey at Laurel High School, recorded 924 receiving yards and eight touchdowns this season.

“You could see it immediately, the talent level he had,” said South Jones High School coach Todd Breland, Drummond’s former coach at Laurel. “He struggled at the beginning, but you could see it. You could see how great he was going to be and he continued to work and he’s where he is now.”

“He was a development of this community.”

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