Monterio James is a defensive back that has the talent to play on the next level. He is 6-0 tall, has 4.5 forty speed, and has a 34 inch vertical leap.
Monterio started his first game on the varsity level when he was just a 10th grader. Normally, a kid is nervous that first game. Not Monterio. He led his team in tackles that game.
Making tackles is one of his strengths, hence one of the reasons for a position change this past spring.
"I was a cornerback last year, but my DB coach has been working me out at safety," said Monterio. "I played free safety most of the spring."
With spring practice over and the summer upon him, Monterio has been making the in-state college camp scene.
"I've camped at MSU and Ole Miss," said Monterio, who also plans on attending MSU's second camp later this month.
According to Monterio, the Mississippi State coaches seem to come away impressed with what they saw.
"They said they liked my footwork," said Monterio. "(MSU head) Coach Croom pulled me off to the side and asked me if anyone had offered me and how much did I weigh. He said he liked how I looked in the one on one. I'm real strong in the one on on. I was bumping. I like to be real physical."
Although he is still waiting on that first offer, an offer that should come early in his senior season, Monterio does have a list of favorite schools.
What does he think about each school?
"I like their coaching staff and their strength and conditioning coach. He is the best that I've been around. I'm real big on strength. I liked their DB coach. I liked the campus and the stadium. It was overall real good. I like Ole Miss. I haven't been going to any of their games but I will this year."
"That is the school that was recruiting me hard my junior year. (Assistant coach) Sparky Woods was the one who called my house and told me he was going to come watch me in the spring. I really liked him showing that interest."
"I've been going to their games since my 10th grade year. Mississippi State is close to home and I'm from Starkville. Most players want to move away from home, but I like the home crowd. I grew up with (current MSU WR) Tee Milons and (former Alabama player) Freddie (Milons) and his other brother Jeremy. I like Coach Croom a lot, especially after the speech he gave us in the weight room. He talked about all the simple things that can mess you up as an athlete. I really liked that. That let you know what you have to do to get to a higher level."
"I haven't been around their school, but they seem to be an ok school. I really don't know much about them, but they've accomplished a lot and come a long way."
"A couple of my teammates from last year, Antonio McCoy and Heath Grant, are up there. Antonio and I are real close. He's been telling me about the campus and said that would be a nice choice."
Look for future updates on this rising star in the state of Mississippi.
Gene Swindoll is the publisher/owner of Gene's Page (http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com), the source for Mississippi State sports on TheInsiders sports network. You can contact him by email at email@example.com.