October 2, 2009

Four-star ATH has two on top

After injuring his groin in a loss to Brookhaven on Sept. 11, Matthew Wells had Friday targeted as the date of his return.

That won't likely happen, however, as Lawrence County (2-4) plans to be without the reigning Offensive Region Player of the Year against North Pike (3-3). It's the 7-4A opener for both schools.

Wells, a four-star athlete by Rivals.com, began running and joining his team in agility drills during practice this week, but is considered doubtful. The 6-foot, 190-pounder should return next Friday against Crystal Springs.

"It gets better all the time, and I'm definitely impatient, but I'm letting the coaches make that decision," Wells said. "It's frustrating, but division play is what really matters, and I should be fine during most of that."

Rivals rates Wells as the No. 20 athlete and No. 242 overall player nationally for the 2010 recruiting class. And while his groin has limited his ability to help the Cougars, the Clarion-Ledger Dandy Dozen selection is not letting the injury have an impact on his recruitment.

Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Southern Miss, Tennessee and Stanford have all given Wells committable offers. Of the handful of programs interested, Wells has placed two at the top.

"It's Ole Miss and (Mississippi) State ahead, and those two are just even," Wells said. "I can't put one in front of the other one. Ole Miss has a chance to be a great team this year, and State is playing with people and getting better."

But before Wells is willing to concede this to only be a Magnolia melee, another Southeastern Conference school will get a chance to sway Mississippi's sixth-best player.

The Volunteers have made an impression by playing freshmen and being a recurring presence on television.

"I want to visit and see what's what up there," Wells said. "I like watching them play, all three schools give the chance to play early. I'll schedule those three visits soon and know more after that."

Wells spoke earlier this week with both Kim Dameron of Ole Miss and Mississippi State's Tony Hughes.

"Talking to the coaches at both places, they ask about everybody and talk about more than football," Wells said. "That's always good to hear. It's comfortable."

Wells was in attendance for the Bulldogs' season opener (Sept. 5) against Jackson State and for Ole Miss' home opener (Sept. 19) versus Southeastern Louisiana.

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