August 13, 2010 8:12:00 AM
STARKVILLE -- Montrell Conner, despite an Internet rumor Thursday, is still a member of the Mississippi State football team, coach Dan Mullen confirmed Thursday.
The redshirt freshman running back, an ESPNU 150 selection out of Louisiana in 2009, has been in competition with Robert Elliott, Vick Ballard, and LaDarius Perkins for playing time at running back.
On Thursday, Mullen said the bruiser was "dealing with personal issues right now."
Mullen didn''t divulge any details about Conner''s personal issues, and was bullish when asked if Conner had missed practice time because of the matters.
"He''s dealing with some personal issues right now," Mullen reiterated.
Earlier in the day, The Clarion Ledger spoke to Conner''s high school coach, who said the running back never quit the team and "like any player he goes through his ups and downs."
In MSU''s spring game, Conner and Ballard combined for 133 rushing yards on 23 carries.
As a senior at Quachita Parish High School in Monroe, La., Conner rushed for 1,961 yards and 19 touchdowns.
The University of Florida, Alabama, Southern California, and Oklahoma were among the schools to offer the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Conner a scholarship.
Carr still waiting to be cleared by NCAA
West Point High School standout and MSU freshman wideout Michael Carr has surprised Dan Mullen with his personality on the football field, but the welcome news will be the day both hear from the NCAA about Carr''s academic standing.
Carr, a member of West Point''s Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A state champion last year and The Dispatch Athlete of the Year, has been practicing with the team in fall camp, as an NCAA rule allows players awaiting clearance to participate in 14 practices.
Carr, along with all of MSU freshmen, isn''t allowed to talk to the media.
Mullen is just as unsure of Carr''s status as the player himself.
"I''d love to give you an update, but you''d have to call Indianapolis (NCAA headquarters)," Mullen said. "He''s worked really hard to do everything he''s needed to do to qualify. The NCAA just has to put their stamp of approval on it."
Despite the looming news and a rough start in the first two days of camp, Mullen said Carr has impressed him.
"He was very quiet and reserved during recruiting, but when it comes to playing football, he loves to play the game, and there''s a lot more personality to him on the field," Mullen said.
Last year, receiver Ricco Sanders joined the team in August after waiting out the NCAA clearance process in his native South Carolina.
2. Cannizaro likes depth on healthy pitching staff COLLEGE SPORTS
4. MSU's grass roots efforts continue to build following LOCAL COLUMNS
5. William leads Bulldogs on, off court COLLEGE SPORTS