Sammie Epps lit up the Alabama 5-Star secondary for a tune of seven catches for 125-yards and one touchdown in the contest.
"I came in as the underdog," Epps said. "I was playing against the top players in Alabama. I just had fun the whole week. I worked hard in practices all week and it showed off how hard I had worked. I think I prepared myself to have that type of game."
Did the performance surprise the 4-Star Ole Miss tight end commit?
"Not really because I came to play ball like I always do. The (one handed) catch kind of surprised me but the game did not because I just looked at it like a regular game. I came to play like I always do. I actually came in excited and ready to play because of the players I was going up against. I knew they had some 5-Star defensive backs in their secondary so I wanted to show them I belonged."
The Greenwood native felt like had a little point to prove, not himself, but rather his state.
"I wanted to prove a point that everybody was looking over the Mississippi players. We have more athletes than people say we do because we don't have the scouts here like the other states do. I didn't prove anything about myself, but I think our team did. We showed we have just as many good players as Alabama, and they are the ones who get all of the stars. We can't wait to get to college and show those Alabama teams what we are all about. We felt like we let one get away there Saturday. We should have won that game. We know that, and deep down, they know that."
What did Sammie learn about himself during the week of practices and game?
"I am not going to give up just because of the people I am going up against, for one. I just have fun with the other players. They helped me prepare for the next level. I feel like I am more physical than people realize. I am physical at tight end. I look way better than I did a couple years ago. I am moving better at receiver. I am catching the ball at it's highest point better. I feel like I have really strong hands, and I am good at getting off jams at the line of scrimmage. I have not faced much jam coverage this season so that really helped me, but I feel like I excelled in that area this week. I am good at beating my man off the line."
The week also showed him he still has room for improvement.
"After I caught that (one handed) catch I needed to get into the endzone. I needed to score on that play. I think I was kind of shocked that I caught it and it made me hesitant just a tad which slowed my initial stride down, but I need to be more powerful with the ball and work on my speed. I also need to work on my route running and be more smooth off the line. Be more accurate with my catching and stuff like that."
Many were surprised by his performance but not Epps.
"Everybody wanted to know where I came from and wanted to know why they have not heard of me. I told them I from the Delta and they needed to come watch us play ball more (laugh). We have so much talent in the Delta that people just do not know about."
The week around the Mississippi players gave him a chance to bond with his fellow Mississippians.
"We bonded all week. We have so many good guys over here, just down-to-earth people. There is nothing like Mississippi boys. Just playing for your state gives you so much state pride."
The group of Ole Miss commits also had a chance to grow closer.
"Most definitely, we all got along so well down there. Me, Breeland Speaks, C.J. Hampton, Alvin Moore, Markell Pack, and D.K. Buford just did everything together. We got real close. We have been talking to a lot of the guys who are not committed to Ole Miss too about coming with us. I am going to keep it on the down low who they are but we are making waves. I am not just talking about the Mississippi players either. We have been spreading the word all over. I think some people are going to be surprised come signing day."
Epps' performance has caught the attention from some of Ole Miss' competitors.
"Auburn and Mississippi State called my coach to get a hold of me. They told him they wanted me to come in for an official visit so I could come check out their campus. My coach told them about my situation with Ole Miss and told them that is where I am going. I might visit just to see what they have to offer. I have never been on any trips so it might be fun to get to experience that, but it is no big deal, I am going to Ole Miss. If I go it is just to experience it. I am Ole Miss through and through. Everyone knows that."
What Ole Miss made the best school for the 6' 4 1/2", 215-pounder?
"I looked it as more than football. They have the right academics and people for me. You can not play football your whole life. I am looking at it as more than football. I am going to get a good degree and set myself up for success after football."
Sammie had 46 receptions for over 800 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns his senior season while helping his team to a 11-2 record.
Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Capsule
Yancy Porter is the Mississippi Scout for Scout.com and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org