"I take my exams this week and then my classes
are over," Dodson
said about his upcoming graduation date. "I'm finished with high school on November 30th.
It's gone by fast; real fast. I can't believe
it's already here, to be honest."
Scout.com's #47 rated tailback is more excited
than nervous about the transition he is about
to make from high school to SEC football.
"I'm not nervous about it at all. I'm actually
excited about it because it's another opportunity
in my dreams."
The Memphis, Tenn., product has yet to close out his high
school career athletically.
"We're 12-0 right now and are playing Germantown
in the third round. They're an old-school rival
of ours. They're 9-3 and it's going to be a brawl.
We went all the way to the state championship
game last season, but we fell short. This year
nobody can stop us. We're playing with a chip
on our shoulder. We have unfinished business."
Dodson is in the midst of a record-breaking seasons.
"Troy Fleming had the state record (3,008
rushing yards in 1998) but Dy'Shawn Mobley (3,068)
broke it last year. Hopefully I can add my name
to the record book. That was a big goal of mine
before the season started. I have 247 carries
for 2,563 yards and 25 touchdowns this season. We'll
hopefully play in three more games, and I'm averaging
over 210 yards a game rushing. None of that matters
if we don't win the state championship, but if
I'm running well, we're going to get the ring.
It runs hand-in-hand."
The Whitehaven standout believes there's a reason
for his increased production this season.
"I've gained some mass and strength to
my frame (weight has jumped from 175 to 186), and I'm keeping my speed and agility. I'm
just being very patient and letting the big homerun play come to me. I'm not looking for it on
every run. When the opportunity is there,
Mark attended the Ole Miss-Vanderbilt game Saturday
and sees an opportunity for immediate playing time in front of
"It showed me they need some help at certain
positions. They don't have any depth at running
back, and they don't have anyone who can run
between the tackles. I'm not taking anything
away from Jeff Scott. He's a great back, but
he needs some help. If he gets some help everyone
won't be keying on him. That's just more motivation
for me to come in and be ready to play. I also
come from a winning program. I like to win and
that's another motivation for me. I want to come
in and grind it out and earn the respect of my
teammates. I want to be a team leader for those
The Mr. Football Tennessee finalist left the visit
with an even bigger belief that he made the right
decision that Ole Miss was the school for him.
"Every time I step on their campus the fans
and players make me two times more comfortable.
They show me even more love."
Why is Ole Miss the best fit for him?
"Coach (Derrick) Nix and Coach (Hugh) Freeze
were the first two coaches to offer me in 10th
grade. Coach Freeze knew I wasn't going to end
up at Arkansas State but he told me back then
I was his guy. When he got hired at Ole Miss he
told me that I was his number one running back
and came after me hard. My aunt also graduated
from Ole Miss a couple years back, and she told
me how much she enjoyed it at Ole Miss. I started
going over there a lot and just built a chemistry
with their players and coaches. Ole Miss was one
of the premier programs in the past, and I just
think that coach Freeze can get them back there.
We just need a few more players, and I think coach
Freeze can make me a better man."
Ole Miss hosted many of the South's top prospects
on Saturday with names like Robert Nkemdiche,
Devante Kincade, Ryan Buchanan, Christian Morgan,
Antonio Conner, Ashton Shumpert, Jason Carr, and
Christian Morris, just to name a few.
Dodson put on his recruitment hat during the visit.
"I just told the guys that it was time we
all come together and try and win a championship
together. You can see how hard they're playing
and how close they are. They just need some more
players, and our class will be the one that puts
them over the top. That's what I was telling
everyone, and I think everyone knows it. I see
guys like Christian Morris and Jason Carr around
town all the time. They say it's looking good
and liking the program. They see where I'm coming
from. They're just going to take their time and
make the best choice for them. It's all coming
together though for us to have a special class.
I'll already be in school at Ole Miss when they
all start coming in for their visits. I have a
chance to make a big impact in helping get those
guys. I'm excited about that."
Yancy Porter is the Mississippi Scout for Scout.com
and he can be reached at email@example.com