ELLISVILLE, Miss. -- Ray Perkins was having trouble getting their attention. The group of recruits the coaching staff brought in that morning seemed lost in another world, a world to which the 70-year-old head coach didn't belong.
One recruit, a lanky cornerback from the Delta, was listening to his iPod while Perkins spoke. Another checked his phone restlessly. A third fiddled with the zipper on his overcoat.
A hulking defensive lineman from Quitman, Miss., wouldn't even make eye contact with Perkins, staring down into the palms of his hands for direction. It was anyone's guess as to whether he was listening. While the rest of the recruits sat in a circle in the middle of the field house, he was set back near the wall, drifting in and out of the proceedings.