Amory’s Rufus French may be trying to do it like Bo. Or more accurately, like Jamie.
French is considering doing as former LSU quarterback Jamie Howard did, and play both college football and pro baseball.
“I’m keeping all my options open,” French said. “I mainly want play football and get my degree. But if I got a chance to play some in the summer I would.”
A Parade All-American, French was one of the top tight end prospects in the nation when he signed with Ole Miss. He also committed to play baseball at Ole Miss.
French also built good numbers in the Panther’s 15-11 baseball season, hitting .493 with 30 RBIs. French will play in the Mississippi High School all-star baseball game June 8 in Hattiesburg and the NEMCABB all-star game June 1 in Corinth.
Baseball coach Vince McLemore said he expects French to go fairly high in the amateur draft. French had a Toronto scout looking at him Wednesday.
“It really hasn’t got off the ground, ” French said. “I’ll wait till June (when the major leagues draft) and see what happens.”
Ole Miss football coach Tommy Tuberville said he hadn’t talked with French about the combo.
“I don’t know how it works, I have never been involved with that before,” Tuberville said. “I know he wants to play professional football, and the only way to do that is is to play in college.”
French said he would talk with Tuberville and Amory football coach Bobby Hall before making any decision.
Academic and athletic: Eric Carpenter, a three-year player for the Amory football team and a four-year baseball player, finished the year with a .449 average. That was good enough to help him win the Lindy Callahan scholarship worth $500 from the MHSAA for excellence in academics and athletics.
Ironic loss: One state record I thought unbreakable is Iuka’s 41 wins in 1989. Iuka is part of the Tishomingo County High School consolidation.
Last week TCHS’s Braves and coach Jerry Long, who coached the ’89 team, became two notches as New Hope shoots for that record. The 27-6 Braves were eliminated by the New Hope Trojans in a Class 4A playoff doubleheader as the Trojans (37-0) set a state record for consecutive wins in a season. New Hope came from behind twice to win 13-3 and 3-2.
Braves pitcher Rickey Lambert even raised his batting average five points to .586 in the series.
“Unfortunately it looks like they are going to break it,” Long said. “They are a very good team.”
Long hates to see New hope still going for the record, both because it means the 1996 team is out and because, “that 1989 group was a special bunch.”
New Hope’s chance for the record got better Tuesday when defending state 4A champion Petal was eliminated by George County 8-7.
For number freaks only: Home teams in the first round of the playoffs were supposed to win the opening doubleheader, because they were division champions; 25 home teams swept series, four visitors swept, and there were a 11 splits. What it amounted to was fans of 29 teams were denied a chance to see their boys host an opening round game.
MHSAA executive director Ennis Proctor said the present format was approved by baseball coaches. When it was suggested the runners-up host a single home game first then the doubleheader, “the coaches would have none of that. They wanted to host first.”
Changes: A rule change the MHSAA will consider for the first time today should be called the “Piney Woods Rule.” It would define the district of a private or parochial school as a 20-mile radius of the school.
Piney Woods, a boarding school that draws troubled students from all over the world, had coaches complain that it seemed to be attracting too many good Mississippi basketball players for its three straight class 2A championship teams.
The MHSAA today is also considering a change in the points tiebreaker to other division games to prevent a situation like this year when Gulfport let Wayne County tie in the top of the seventh, to get an extra at-bat because it needed a bigger margin of victory to advance, and then Wayne County intentionally walked four batters to lose by a run and advance on the tiebreaker.