David Conner

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Former South Panola linebacker David Conner (left) spends some time with manager Devon Sanford. Conner has met NCAA eligibility for enrollment in college, along with the other 11 football Dandy Dozen players. The Panolian photo by Myra Bean

Conner helps make history

Ridgeland – Cellular South announced today that the Cellular South Gameplan program and the state of Mississippi has reached a historical milestone – all 12 of the state’s top football prospects met initial NCAA requirements for the first time and will be attending college next fall. 

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“This is a proud moment for Cellular South and the state of Mississippi,” said Orien Watson, sports marketing manager for Cellular South.  “The success of the Dandy Dozen and the hundreds of junior high and high school student athletes benefiting from the Cellular South Gameplan proves that early intervention, academic collaboration, personal accountability and community dedication can improve lives and change the tide for academics in Mississippi.”

The Cellular South Gameplan has helped more than 35 of Mississippi’s most promising athletes of 2009 meet NCAA Division 1 core course requirements, which includes the 2009 Dandy Dozen, who all qualified and will begin collegiate training this summer.  These promising young athletes include:

Player    HS    Coll

Chad Bumphis     Tupelo    MSU

Tyler Russell    Meridian     MSU

Pat Patterson    Noxubee    UM

Fletcher Cox            Yazoo Cty    MSU

Josh Boyd    Philadelphia        MSU

 Kendrick     Lawrence         UM

Hardy        County

Cameron     Magnolia MSU

Lawrence    Heights

David Conner    South     UAB


Clayton Moore    Louisville    UM

Chris Garrett    Tupelo     LSU

State education and athletic Association officials praised Cellular South for its trailblazing statewide education initiative. 

 “Congratulations to Cellular South and these student-athletes for their commitment to academic achievement,” said Dr. Hank Bounds, Mississippi State Superintendent of Education.  “These student-athletes will not only be able to perform on the field, they will be able to perform in the classroom.”

 Before the Cellular South Gameplan program was launched in 2007 in partnership with the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) and the Mississippi Department of Education, less than half of the Dandy Dozen football players qualified for admission to colleges, according to Dr. Ennis Proctor, executive director of the MHSAA.

 “Through the hard work of Cellular South and the cooperation of member schools of MHSAA, every member of the 2009 Dandy Dozen has met NCCA requirements for admission to a four-year college or university,” Proctor said, noting that thousands of other students also have benefitted from the program.

 Proctor said MHSAA and member schools expect to see more good results from the program in the near future.

“This is a unique and comprehensive program because it helps build character and leadership as well as academic skills,” he added.  “We look forward to a long and successful partnership with Cellular South in helping our students achieve their goals.”

 The Cellular South Gameplan is a statewide educational initiative designed and funded by Cellular South to inspire, prepare and inform students and student-athletes (grades 7-12) about the possibilities of reaching their dreams through academic excellence. Since its inception, the Cellular South Gameplan has reached the following milestones:

•Reached more than 10,000 student-athletes, parents and administrators through in-school eligibility sessions

•Conducted more than 100 individual counseling sessions including both 2008 and 2009 dandy dozen classes

•More than 60 institutions and organizations have hosted one or more workshops for their student-athletes

• All 313 Mississippi high schools have been provided a DVD workshop of the Gameplan program

•Helped more than 80 school districts convert their district grading scale to a 10-point or modification

•Informed student-athletes through added online support on www.cellularsouthgameplan.com <http://www.cellularsouthgameplan.com/>  and Facebook.

 Watson said the Gameplan continues to provide junior high and high school student athletes throughout the state of Mississippi with the tools they need to succeed and attend college.  Through its renowned workshops that feature a specially designed curriculum, the program provides students, coaches, counselors, teachers and parents with necessary information on the course and grade point average requirements needed to meet NCAA standards and how to prepare for the ACT and SAT, the two national college admission and placement examinations.

In addition to in-school educational workshops, the program also features follow-up counseling sessions and online assistance at www.cellularsouthgameplan.com <http://www.cellularsouthgameplan.com/> .  The company also distributed a DVD of its Gameplan seminar program to every high school in Mississippi and unveiled a website with additional online resources and information. 

For more information about the Cellular South Gameplan, call (601) 974-7706 or visit www.cellularsouthgameplan.com <http://www.cellularsouthgameplan.com/>  or www.cellularsouth.com <http://www.cellularsouth.com/> .