Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game needs local representation

Published 10:58 am Wednesday, December 20, 2023

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My association with the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Game began in 1993. 

I was a first-year sportswriter with The Biloxi-Sun Herald and was honored to cover the game when others declined. Back then, the game was played every year in June at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile.

I was reduced to a spectator during Alabama’s 20-10 win on Dec. 15 in Hattiesburg, Miss. I watched the contest via streaming. Memories of being on the selection committee as a media member danced in my head.

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The one thing when I covered the game from a Mississippi perspective was that I always had our local kids to write about. Writing a story about the area players provided enough incentive to focus on the game all week.

Only once has that opportunity came with The Selma Times-Journal and it was last year. Selma High defensive back DaKaari Nelson earned a spot on the 40-man Alabama roster and he played well before moving onto Penn State.

Next year, I may get another opportunity with Southside wide receiver Derick Smith, rated as one of The 10 juniors. Barring injury and a stellar senior season, Smith will be virtually a lock to make the team.

The All-Star game underwent changes a decade ago: alternating with Mississippi as host and moving from summer to fall.

When I moved to the Sports Desk in 2010 and eventually became sports editor, I no longer covered the game.During my last appearance in 2009, I called the Sports Editor and told him after St. Paul quarterback A.J.McCarron play. McCarron committed to play at Alabama and became part of Nick Saban’s third signing class. I predicted Alabama would win national titles when McCarron arrived and the Crimson Tide won three.

My association with the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game may be done, but Derrick Smith’s appearance will provide a chance for Selma in 2024