Dodson Decides

Mark Dodson

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Memphis, Tenn., running back Mark Dodson made his college choice Monday, announcing for Ole Miss during a press conference at his school.

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Dodson, rated a three-star prospect by, chose the Rebels over a host of other schools. Among those to extend a scholarship offer were Arkansas, Mississippi State, Cincinnati, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.

"I just felt like Ole Miss was the best place to be because every time I go down there, everybody knows me well -- the coaching staff, including some of the students that see me. The players, they're good guys," Dodson said.

"I see that they really need me. I made my decision basically off of not just going where they want me. I'm going somewhere where they need me, and I can make an impact right then and there."

Dodson, of Whitehaven High School, is Ole Miss' ninth commitment for the recruiting class of 2013 and the second running back, joining New Orleans, La., product Eugene Brazley. Ole Miss could sign anywhere from 4-6 running backs in its upcoming class.

"(Freeze) said he was taking two out of my class. Right now, he's got Eugene Brazley," Dodson said. "I was down there one night, me and Eugene, we're building a relationship with each other.

"Eugene is a good person. (Ole Miss signee) Jaylen Walton from Ridgeway, we work out together. We have the same trainer. Things look like they're going to shape up pretty well."

Dodson was long considered an Ole Miss lean. However, Arkansas and Mississippi State both made a considerable push for his signature in the recruitment process.

Mark Dodson
Chuck Rounsaville

The 5-foot-9, 175-pound Dodson went so far as to call Ole Miss and Arkansas his co-leaders in an interview with the Ole Miss Spirit in February.

Yet, when he visited Ole Miss for its junior day in April, Arkansas had been eliminated following the dismissal of Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino.

Mississippi State quickly emerged as his second choice, with Vanderbilt third. Still, Ole Miss remained in front. ranks Dodson as the No. 40 running back in the country.

Over his last two seasons at Whitehaven, he rushed for over 3,600 yards and 50 touchdowns.

"It was a difficult decision," Dodson said. "Had Mississippi State in the running. Before, it was Arkansas. If Arkansas was still on the table, it would have been Arkansas. But Arkansas fell out. It was disappointing. You've got to lead by example. Looking at Petrino, we all make mistakes. But some mistakes aren't always the best mistakes."

Outside of junior Jeff Scott and converted wide receiver Tobias Singleton, Ole Miss is woefully lacking in running backs on its roster.

The Rebels signed running backs I'tavius Mathers, Kenno Loyal, Walton and Mike Hilton in February. However, Loyal is questionable to qualify, and Hilton could be used as a defensive back once he arrives on campus.

"Ole Miss, this is a hard commitment. But I'm still going to have my phone opened up," Dodson said. "Ole Miss, this is a hard commitment. I'm going to take all my official visits."

Dodson said the Ole Miss coaching staff, led by first-year head coach Hugh Freeze, has a plan in place for how he'll be used.

"It's exclusively as an all-purpose running back," he said. "They really don't have a back that fits Coach Freeze's offensive scheme but Jeff Scott. He was telling me if Jeff Scott goes down, there's going to be some hell down there at Ole Miss."

"He's a true three-down running back," Whitehaven head coach Rodney Saulsberry said. "He can run inside and outside. He can pass protect. He can catch the ball out of the backfield. He gets tough yards and makes breakaway runs." Recommended Stories

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