O'Donnell visits Mississippi St.

Conner O'Donnell makes the catch

2016 Mississippi State commit Conner O'Donnell recently visited Starkville, and the SouthLake Christian Academy pass-catcher talks about it inside...

Conner O'Donnell committed to Mississippi State in early December and made a subsequent trek to Starkville with father Geoff O'Donnell, the SouthLake Christian head coach.

"It was an amazing visit," said O'Donnell, one of two 2016 Mississippi State pledges from SouthLake (other is Robert Washington).

"We toured the campus and saw all the new construction that's going on with the football building. It's a huge building."

Warm hospitality and tight-knit teamwork were things that stood out to the freshman from North Carolina.

"I liked the team atmosphere," he said. "You could tell how close a bond the team has from watching them. I had a good conversation with the strength and conditioning coach. He was talking about building up the neck muscles to help prevent concussions."

Wide receiver Chad Bumphis is a Bulldog who impressed the young wide receiver.

"We couldn't be happier after visiting Mississippi State," said Coach O'Donnell, who directed SouthLake to a state runner-up finish in 2012. "The coaching staff was very personable. They play football at a high level while maintaining a family atmosphere.

"The strength coach eyeballed Conner and told him what he needs to work on. It was important for Conner to find a program that treats you as a person, not just as a number."

Dad gave an emphatic seal of approval.

"The visit to State was great," he said. "We loved it."

O'Donnell was second on SouthLake's squad in receiving with 38 catches for 919 yards and five TDs. The 6-0, 170-pounder averaged more than 24 yards per catch and also picked off a pass.

He topped the 100-yard receiving mark in four contests, including three of the Eagles' final five, and participated in the National Underclassmen Combine All-World Gridiron Classic over the weekend.

He caught four passes for the winning North team at the Gridiron Classic, held in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

O'Donnell and Washington teamed up at the Gridiron Classic and also on Team USA earlier this year.

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