Another big game for Devon Desper

Playing football for Madison Central, one of Mississippi's top programs, Devon Desper is used to playing in big games. Add one more to the list when he plays in the Under Armour All-American Game.

Desper, the nation's No. 4 center prospect, received his UA Game jersey earlier today. It was part of the 80-stop American Family Insurance Presents the Under Armour All-America Game selection tour.

"This is such a big honor," Desper said. "So many great players are in this game. There have been so many great ones that have played in the past. To know that I will get the same opportunity is just awesome because I never thought I would ever have this opportunity.

"We play in some pretty big games here so I think I am prepared a little for what's going to happen next month. If anything, it will be a great barometer for me."

Desper, 6-foot-4 and 295 pounds, has really only been a starter for a season and a half, but his coach believes Desper will have great days ahead.

"I really do," Madison Central coach Bobby Hall said. "He played in only six varsity games last season. Since he has played I have seen so much improvement. His best ball is in front him.

"First of all, he's mean. He's strong and has the body already. Plus, he has very good feet. Devon just needs to keep getting stronger and bigger. He has a great frame and good feet."

Desper, a three-star recruit, committed to Dan Mullen and Mississippi State in March.

"I really like the coaches a lot," Desper said. "In fact, I grew up a fan of Mississippi State. I just loved them and wanted to commit. It was always going to be them or Ole Miss.

"I also love the direction of the program going forward. They are playing good and only getting better. I'm excited about it because I think I am coming at a great time."

Desper and Madison Central play reigning state champion Batesville South Panola in the third round of the Mississippi high school playoffs. It's just another big game for this program.

"This is my sixth season here and this is always a huge game for us," Hall said. "We have played them in the state semifinals for the last three years. I have always felt those games had the state championship feel to it. These are two great teams, two great programs and the game has all the things that come with a championship game. This one will be no different."

Desper wouldn't want it any other way. He wants to play against the best, whether it's the Under Armour Al-America Game or the state playoffs.

"It's going to be a great game and I think we can win," Desper said. "They have a great front and we have to win that battle. I am looking forward to that challenge."

Jamie Newberg has been covering recruiting both in the Southeast and nationally for 19 years. He can be reached at jamienewbergbw@yahoo.com.