On Wednesday afternoon, Gary Parish of CBS Sports reported that McDonald's All American Malik Newman has already decided to name Mississippi State as his college of choice during his planned public announcement on Friday. But Newman himself shot the rumor down just hours after the story hit the web.
"No, I haven't committed," Newman told The Clarion-Ledger. "Right now I'm down to my final four schools: Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Kansas and Kentucky.
"When I sit down with my parents, if I think Mississippi State is the right place, then that's where I'll pick," he said. "Like I said, right now I'm down to my final four schools. I don't really care what the media is saying. I think wherever is the best spot for me is where I'll pick."
Parrish's report cited sources from multiple coaching staffs involved in the elite guard's recruitment, two of which said that Newman to Starkville is "done." A third, clearly from a staff other than State's, told Parrish "We're still trying ... but I think MSU is the place."
Newman's dad, Horatio Webster, jumped into the fray to deny an internet rumor that his son's signing papers had already been sent in.
"Who the hell would fill it out for him?" said Webster, who played at State back in the day. "The scholarship papers are on the dresser in my house."
Whether or not Newman has actually come to a definitive conclusion or not, it would seem that Ole Miss is out of the running.
#OleMiss had an in-home visit set with Malik Newman today, per a source, but the Rebels cancelled after learning he was headed to Miss. St.— Ben Garrett (@SpiritBen) April 22, 2015
This isn't altogether surprising -- the Dawgs have been steadily gaining ground with Newman since the hire of former UCLA coach Ben Howland. That Newman would deny the rumor is even less surprising, seeing as continued suspense will put more eyes on his public announcement ceremony scheduled for noon CT Friday. And without getting too conspiracy theorist here, who is it that has the exclusive live streaming rights to that ceremony? The same outlet that published his denial, The Clarion-Ledger.