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June 24, 2008Dennis Thames has heard all of the speculation and read the reports that he's a lock to Ole Miss just as soon as his friend and teammate, quarterback Clayton Moore, commits to the Rebels.
Perhaps it's true, but if it is, the athlete from Louisville, Miss., is holding his proverbial cards tight to his chest.
"He has to go to where it's best for him," Thames said, referring to Moore, who received a scholarship offer from Ole Miss last week and appears poised to choose the Rebels over Oklahoma State and several others. "I'm not saying that I don't like Ole Miss or that I wouldn't go to Ole Miss, but "
Thames' voice _ and presumably, his thoughts, trailed off after that. Call it a recurring theme in his Monday night conversation with RebelSports.net. Thames, who has been to Auburn, Kentucky and Tennessee on unofficial visits this summer, wouldn't even commit to attending the Rebels' invitation-only camp on July 26, much less proclaim Ole Miss his leader. Asked specifically about speculation that he will commit to Ole Miss shortly after Moore does, Thames scoffed.
"I just overlook that," Thames said. "People will talk. That's just something I look over."
Thames has offers from Ole Miss, Michigan, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Florida, Auburn, among others. He said he'll be flying to Michigan later this summer to check out the Wolverines and to see his uncle, Marcus Thames, an outfielder for the Detroit Tigers.
"We're real close," Dennis said of Marcus, who enters Tuesday's interleague game against the St. Louis Cardinals hitting .262 with 14 home runs and 31 RBI. "I talk to him and he talks to me and we have good conversations about it. I'm not really into the recruiting business right now. I'm just playing high school ball right now."
Thames, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound speedster, said he has no leaders at this point, adding that he's nowhere close to a decision.
"When the time comes, I'll make my decision," Thames said.
Several schools are recruiting Thames as a wide receiver. Others believe he's one of the top defensive back prospects in the Southeast. Given his druthers, Thames said, he'd choose offense "because I love being around the ball and showing my talent."
When the conversation switched back to his relationship with Moore and the strong rumors that Thames and Moore are essentially a package deal, Thames clammed up. Pressed about his feelings regarding Egg Bowl rivals Mississippi State and Ole Miss, Thames was evasive, to a point.
Thames said he was comfortable at Mississippi State, as he's "been to a lot of games there and I've watched Coach (Sylvester) Croom and I've been around the players a lot."
Asked about Ole Miss, Thames was a bit more cryptic.
"Ole Miss isn't a bad school," Thames said. "I'm not saying Ole Miss is a school I wouldn't go to, but right now, I'm not really focused on Ole Miss."
In other words, Ole Miss heads to the first of July behind in the race for Thames' signature?
"You could say that," Thames said.