COLUMBUS, Miss. (WTVA) -- While the Jackson Public School (JPS) system deliberates over the future of football in the area, the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools (MAIS), already gave its member schools the green light to start practice. According to reports, high level recruits in the Jackson area are already looking to transfer to these private schools to play ball in the fall. That could mean a major shift in the competition.
"We're going to talk about it and see what we're going do," LSU commit and Provine High School wide receiver Deion Smith said. "I have to go to another school, I have to finish out my senior year, I just gotta ball."
Smith is the number one player in the state of Mississippi. The six-one 172 pound wide receiver committed to play at the defending national champion LSU. Now, he's looking for a new home. The Mississippi High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) put a delay on football. The MAIS, has not. Its teams started two-a-days this week. That includes defending 5-A state champion Heritage Academy. Head coach, Sean Harrison welcomes the potential competition.
"This is a great league with a lot of great players in it, any others that come in love to have them," Harrison said. "If JPS does cancel, I do hope those kids find a place to play.
There are seven schools in the JPS. An average football team has between 40 and 70 players. Even if we say the teams each have 40 players, that's 280 players available to transfer. There are several MAIS institutions to choose from in the Jackson area that could directly affect Heritage Academy. For the Heritage Academy players, their mindset is the same as their coach: bring it on.
"It makes us push harder knowing that we have better people that we go up against now," Senior guard Reed Brewer, said. "It'll help us to be the best that we can."
If there is a trickle down effect of the Jackson decision to other school systems around Mississippi, that could open the door to some top players in North Mississippi to come knocking at Heritage. Harrison said his door is wide open. The Patriots open up against Jackson Prep, which is one of the front runners to land LSU commit Deion Jones on August 21st.