SAN ANTONIO - After stating he had more official visits to take and a National Signing Day decision planned at the beginning of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl week, Petal (Miss.) quarterback Anthony Alford decided by week's end he was going to get his commitment out of the way before he left San Antonio.
The 6-1, 205-pound Alford had narrowed his choices down to in-state programs Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Southern Miss earlier in the week. On Saturday he spurned the SEC programs and announced he would be taking his talents to Southern Miss to help new head coach Ellis Johnson build a title contender in Conference USA.
Whether Alford ever suits up for the Golden Eagles remains to be seen, however. He is considered a likely high pick in this summer's Major League Baseball draft after putting together an outstanding prep career on the baseball diamond as well.
Alford has repeatedly stated that football is his first love between the two sports, but the opportunity to start his professional career may be too good of an opportunity to pass up.
Southern Miss is hoping Alford eschews the Major League money for now because he could provide a talent infusion to a pair of its teams. As was the case with most schools that recruited Alford, Southern Miss offered him a chance to play both football and baseball in college.
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LSU had long been considered the team to beat for Alford's services. Coincidentally, it was his East teammate, Gunner Kiel, that took the Tigers out of the running when Kiel committed to head coach Les Miles last week.
Alford still has official visits scheduled to Ole Miss, Southern Miss and LSU over the final three weeks of the January, and will decide whether or not to go through with those trips once he returns to the Magnolia State.