It wasn't long ago that Center Hill (Miss.) High School opened its doors and began competing in the MHSAA. But of late, the Desoto County school has become a consistent program in the Class 5A ranks and 2014 prospect D'Marius Gillespie said it feels special to be part of that building process.
Center Hill captured a region title last season and this year collected its second straight playoff berth.
"It's been a good experience and we are still trying to build our own tradition," said Gillespie. "We have worked hard to put our school's name out there and that we are no longer a new program starting out."
Gillespie played a big part in Center Hill's success this season, too. Entering last week's playoff game the 6-foot-2 and 185-pound Gillespie had totaled 63 catches for 804 yards and eight touchdowns.
"Things have gone really good for me," said Gillespie. "I've been getting a lot of receptions to help my team and I have mainly played the outside receiver spot. I will probably play some defense next year, too, and line up at safety."
On the recruiting scene Gillespie said he is also starting to collect interest, particularly from an in-state SEC program.
"Mississippi State is the main one showing me interest right now," said Gillespie. "I went to camp there back in the summer and it was nice. Since then I've gotten a lot of mail from them. Coach (Angelo) Mirando was their receivers coach then and they said they liked how I performed in drills.
"Coach (Tim) Brewster is their receivers coach now and I met him when I went to their game against Auburn. I talked to him again when I saw them play Tennessee and it was good to talk to him and the other Mississippi State coaches."
And Gillespie added that having the chance to soak up the Bulldogs' game-day atmosphere has made him even fonder of the program.
"It was pretty loud and exciting at those games," said Gillespie. "I love seeing their spread offense and their receivers making clutch plays. They do run the spread but I like how they even things out with the run and the pass. They give their receivers a lot of opportunities to make plays.
"I've always been fond of State but since I've been going to their games, I like them even more. They are the home state team and I like what they are developing into as a program."