Candace Fondren Interview
When did Coach Croom and Coach Haley come to your home for their in-home visit?
"They got here about 6 and stayed until about 8:30."
What did they talk about during the visit?
"Because my husband wasn't there for the entire weekend (at MSU), he discussed some things that he had shared with Derek and myself while we were on (the MSU) campus. Basically, he got to know me and my husband."
Was Derek at home when they visited?
"No, Derek wasn't here. They saw Derek at school. Normally, when they go to the school first during the day, Derek is usually not here when they come."
Did they comment about their visit with Derek at school?
"No, all they said was they had talked to Derek at school."
Did anything new come out of the in-home visit?
"No, like l said, he was, basically, going over what he had discussed with Derek and me while we were in Starkville."
Derek visits Ole Miss this weekend, doesn't he?
Who will go with him?
"As far as I know, just me. My husband will probably come over. We didn't really know about the visit because we didn't have an itinerary until today, actually. So, I'm going to go over when I get off work, then my husband will probably come over."
I know the last time we talked you hadn't met the Ole Miss coaches. Have they come in for an in-home visit since then?
"They came over tonight, Coach (Shane) Slocum and Matt Luke."
How did the visit go?
"It was a good visit. I, basically, was just meeting them. I had talked to (Ole Miss assistant coach) Matt Luke one time. This was my first time to actually meet him. Coach Slocum is new, so they are just getting to know each other, too. But he seems to have a lot of energy."
When will you meet Ole Miss head coach Orgeron?
Will he be able to have an in-home visit with you and your family after the official visit?
"No, he won't be able to have one because when he came for his press conference (to announce his hiring), Matt brought him to Batesville to see Derek. So, that was his official (in-home) visit."
Is LSU the other school that Derek is interested in?
Has Derek officially visited LSU?
"No, he decided that he wasn't going to visit LSU."
Is LSU in the picture due to Ryan Perrilloux, the QB who is considering MSU, LSU and Texas? According to Scout.com folks that were in San Antonio, Derek and Ryan became pretty good friends at the US Army All-American Bowl Game.
"No, LSU has always been recruiting him. They have been sending letters and everything. They have always been one of his picks."
Has Derek told you when he is going to make his decision?
"(Laugh) I talked to him the other night. I told him 'you know you have to make up your mind by February 2nd'. He said, 'I really don't, I don't have to sign on signing day.' When he said that, I thought to myself that I hope he is playing (with me)."
Has he talked to you about the schools without giving away who he will sign with?
"I asked him what he thought about Mississippi State. He said, 'it is straight' and he liked it pretty well. That's, basically, what he said about Tennessee. He said he enjoyed the visit to Tennessee. He's been to Mississippi State quite a bit, as well as Ole Miss. He used to come to basketball camp at Mississippi State. He's been to basketball camp several summers."
Will he tell you beforehand who he will sign with or is he going to just surprise you by signing, then telling you who he signed with?
"I think I'm going to be surprised, too (laugh). He's private and I respect his privacy. But I do give him the best advice that I can. I'm not trying to steer him in one direction or another. Like he said, as long as he is comfortable there, that's what is important to him. I just give him the best advice that I can and things to look for. What's important to me is he makes the right decision. I believe he will because he's that responsible."
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Gene Swindoll is the publisher of Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.