• John Macon Gillespie

What It Takes To Be #E10

As SES Mississippi prepares to unveil the fourth installment of our SES Elite 10, our list, not rankings, of the top ten senior football players in the state, I thought it necessary to go over what it takes to be considered and ultimately named to the team.

Several things are considered when choosing the SES Elite 10. Before I go over those things allow me to explain what is NOT a factor. A player’s recruitability is a non-factor for the SES Elite 10. Their offer sheet or lack thereof does not come into play at all.

Also, how a player performs at a combine is a non-factor. Their testing times or success in one-on-ones may garner enough attention to warrant a close look at their game film but testing time alone will not get them on the list. I have never been a big fan of completely judging a player before getting a chance to see them between the hashes on Friday nights with the pads on.

Things that are taken into consideration range from statistics to off the field leadership.

I love statistics but in Mississippi High School Football they have to be taken with a grain of salt. Numbers are great but things like competition or divisions have to be taken into consideration. However, on the flip side of that, I can’t stand to hear someone say, ‘yeah, but that’s private school ball’. Last season Isaiah Woullard played in the MAIS but also made the SES Elite 10 as did MRA lineman Saahdiq Charles. At the end of the day, a player with the elite skill set we are looking for will shine through no matter the competition. Stats make us take a closer look.

Also it is important to see what other people are saying about the candidates. Just in the past few weeks I have received countless messages from current players promoting one of their teammates. This is such a great thing. It says a lot about the candidate that he has a made a big enough impact in his teammate’s life to warrant promotion. I also love to hear a coach brag about his players. Who is local media pumping?

Another thing we like to do is kind of an old school trick but it still works. How would the team do without that player? For example, how would Clinton have fared last season without Cam Akers? Probably still decent but would they have won the title? What about Laurel without Keon Howard or Oxford without Abraham and Metcalf?

Of course their game film makes a huge impact on the selection process. We look at more than just highlight catches from wide receivers but also check to see what they are doing on plays their number is not called. How does a quarterback respond to getting hit in the mouth or how does a running back bounce back after getting stuffed or coughing up the football? These things matter because they are what separate a good player from an elite one.

We also like to talk to these kids and get a feel for what kind of person they are off the field. How are they using the influence that comes with being a high school football player?

The SES Elite 10 is a very special list. A lot of sleepless nights and heated debates go into selecting this team. At the end of the day we are very proud of the selected players and Mississippi should be proud as well.

The first member of the 2017 SES Elite 10 will be announced on Monday, May 29, at 10:00am. We will announce a new member each Monday up until the first official day of football practice on July 31.

If you have something to say about a candidate or think there could be a player being overlooked please email me at

#WebbLewis #E10

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