State could field own All-Star team

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 8, 1999

Turn on the television any Sunday and some of Mississippi’s finest are performing on various football fields.

Mississippi has long been a hotbed of football prospects. Those of us who grew up in the Magnolia State have always known this. With the success of the schools throughout the state, the rest of the country is discovering that, too.

The state of Mississippi has produced some the best players in the business. Some of these special players have the honor of being considered the best in their field.

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Just start talking running back or wide receivers and immediately people will mention Walter Payton and Jerry Rice.

I thought it would be interesting to pick an All-Mississippi team. This team would be based on players from or with ties to our state.

The quarterback position offers a myriad of choices. I&160;have stars like Archie Manning, Steve McNair and Brett Favre to choose from. I’m guaranteed a winner no matter who I choose.

I’m taking Favre. He may not always be pretty but he is a proven winner. That plus his toughness makes him my choice for quarterback.

The wide receivers catching the laser-beam passes of Favre would be none other than Jerry Rice of Mississippi Valley fame and JSU’s Jimmy Smith.

Both are modern day players. When Rice hangs up his cleats, he will be known as the best wide receiver in NFL history.

At running back is none other than the great Walter Payton. Blocking for Payton will be USM’s Sammy Winder.

The offensive line would consist of JSU’s Jackie Slater, Bruiser Kinard, Gene Hickerson and Stan Hindman of Ole Miss. Anchoring the line at center is Kent Hull of Mississippi State.

No football team should be without someone named ‘Bruiser.’ Kinard played for the Rebs back in the days when players played offense and defense.

Super smooth Rich Caster of JSU and New York Jets fame would split time with Wesley Walls of Ole Miss at tight end.

The defensive line is a mixture of old and new. The youngest representative is Adalius Thomas of USM. Fellow USMers Gerald Baylis and Fred Cook will help plug up the middle along with Gentle Ben Williams of Ole Miss.

Jackson State’s Robert Brazile puts the mean in the defense as an outside linebacker. This former Tiger was known for putting the hurt on many running back.

Serving with Brazile are Johnnie Cooks of Mississippi State and Jeff Herrod of Ole Miss.

Alcorn’s Roynell Young and Valley’s Ashley Ambrose will serve as defensive backs. USM’s Hanford Dixon and MSU’s Walt Harris are my safeties.

Without a doubt Ray Guy is my punter. This former USM graduate was known for touching his facemask with his knee when he punted. Needless to say, Guy could boom long punts pinning the opponent deep in their territory.

Finally my Robert Khayat would serve as my place kicker.

Well, that is my team. I feel pretty good about my chances to win any ball game with these players.

The list of great Mississippi players could fill this paper. These are only a few of many deserving athletes.

n In my last column, I had a momentary brain collapse. Tommy Bowden not Terry coaches the Clemson Tigers. Tommy is known for coaching Tulane to an undefeated season.

Tim Isbell is creative director at The Democrat. He can be reached at 446-5172 ext 233 or by e-mail at