October 23, 2008

Rebels first to offer Peach State athlete

Ole Miss' interest at Banneker High School in College Park, Ga., is not limited to cornerback Emmanuel Lartey and running back/return specialist Alfred Moreland.

In fact, the Rebels have already issued a scholarship offer to one of the top juniors on the Banneker team, and the quick decision on Ole Miss' part has put the Rebels in a very early lead for one of Georgia's most versatile juniors.

Shawn Kitchens, who goes by the name Kowaski Kitchens, has been piling up numbers passing, rushing, receiving and on defense already this season. Ole Miss noticed the 6-foot-3, 203-pounder and offered a scholarship more than a week ago.

"That felt good," Kitchens said. "It made me want to accomplish more and keep working."

LSU and Florida have expressed heavy interest in Kitchens, while South Carolina and West Virginia have extended verbal offers that have not been put on paper yet, Kitchens said.

"I'm going to go to the school that's best for me," Kitchens said. "It's too early to tell, but right now, Ole Miss leads."

The Rebels' chances would only be enhanced, Kitchens said, if Moreland and/or Lartey end up in Oxford.

"That probably would influence me," Kitchens said. "Alfred's already going there and Lartey is thinking about (Ole Miss) heavily."

So far this season, Kitchens has completed 5 of 10 passes for 219 yards and 3 touchdowns. He's rushed for 80 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 20 carries and caught 11 passes for 210 yards and a touchdown. On defense, Kitchens has 25 tackles, including 13 for losses and 6 sacks.

"I think my future at the next level is as a wide receiver or a linebacker," Kitchens said. "I think I like defense best. I get to hit someone on one side and make someone look silly on the other."

Kitchens, who is being recruited by Ole Miss defensive line coach Tracy Rocker, said he has already talked about taking a visit to Oxford sometime after the season.

"I don't know a lot about Ole Miss yet," Kitchens said. "I know Eli (Manning) and Deuce McAllister went there. There's a lot of history there. I like that."

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