January 20, 2010 9:41:00 AM
West Point High School''s Curtis Virges can fill a lane on the basketball court.
At 6-foot-3, 275 pounds, Virges can be a pretty imposing figure to drive to the basket against.
Although he enjoys giving what he can to the West Point basketball team, Virges has more than just hoops on his mind.
Virges can''t wait for Feb. 3, when he can officially sign a football scholarship with Mississippi State.
After West Point won the Mississippi High School Association Class 5A state championship in December, it''s the hope of Virges and teammate Michael Carr that some of that success will rub off on the Bulldogs.
Virges and Carr didn''t get the opportunity to talk about their futures very much with each other during the season, but it became a focus after the Green Wave captured the gold ball.
"We started talking more after that about going to State and getting ready," Virges said.
If Virges remains true to his commitment, he would be in the mix with young defensive linemen already at MSU like Fletcher Cox and Josh Boyd and fellow recruit Kaleb Eulls.
With Cox and Eulls being from Yazoo City and Boyd being from Philadelphia, Virges is glad to add a player from West Point to make it an all in-state defensive line.
"Those are really good defensive linemen and Mississippi boys will do well," Virges said. "When you are talking about playing with those guys, now you are really talking."
West Point High coach Chris Chambless said it was just a coincidence that Virges and Carr both wanted to attend MSU because they made their decisions at different times.
"That''s where they wanted to be and what they worked hard for," Chambless said. "They want to make a winner out of them and take that tradition over there."
Virges is aware MSU has struggled in recent seasons and he wants to play a role in turning around those fortunes.
"We''ve got to," Virges said. "You can''t go to the school and don''t expect to do well. We''re used to it and it''s got to keep going up. Coach (Dan) Mullen is doing a good job of that. Everything is coming along pretty good."
Virges does like the thought of having Carr along for the ride.
"He''s a playmaker," Virges said of Carr. "You see how our season went. I''m not saying it was all because of what he did, but a lot of it did go toward him. He''s a respected person in my book."
Chambless said Carr can excel at any skilled position and he calls Virges "a very diligent player who can approach the game well physically and mentally."
If MSU is looking for two leaders, Chambless said it has found them in Virges and Carr.
"Both of them do a good job of leading by example and leading vocally," Chambless said. "I can''t think of anything bad to say about either one of them. They are good guys, work extremely hard and have great work ethic. They are both winners and care about winning in all aspects. State is getting two good ones."
1. Patriots' Berry returns from injury with vengeance HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
2. Skinner wins at Magnolia Motor Speedway LOCAL SPORTS
3. Littell talks about coaching journey, Budke COLLEGE SPORTS
4. MSU's James feeling stronger with each outing COLLEGE SPORTS
5. Tempo will be key for No. 1 MSU vs. No. 9 Oklahoma State COLLEGE SPORTS