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Mississippi Sports Magazine - 1
Do not distribute without written consent of Pevey Publishing, LLC and Mississippi Sports Magazine Greg Pevey - 601-503-7205 405 Knights Cove West Brandon, MS 39047 2 - Mississippi Sports Magazine
Photo by GREG PEVEY
BOMBS AWAY!!! Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead launches this bomb to Rebel wideout Mike Wallace early in the 2nd quarter of the Cotton Bowl. The catch resulted in the tying touchdown for the Rebels which rejuvinated them after a shaky 1st quarter start against the #8 ranked Red Raiders. Ole Miss won the game 47-34.
Do not distribute without written consent of Pevey Publishing, LLC and Mississippi Sports Magazine Greg Pevey - 601-503-7205 405 Knights Cove West Brandon, MS 39047 Mississippi Sports Magazine - 3
Canâ€™t touch this... Southern Missâ€™ Damion Fletcher jukes past Troy DB Sherrod Martin as he races for another postive gain. Fletcher led the Golden Eagles with 77 yards rushing and one touchdown in one of the most entertaining bowl games of the season. Southern Miss blocked a Troy field goal attempt in overtime to win the New Orleans Bowl in exciting fashion 30-27.
4 - Mississippi Sports Magazine
Photo by KING PHOTOGRAPHY
Mississippi Sports Magazine - 5
FROM THE PUBLISHERS
The future looks bright!
W Greg & Mendy Pevey Publishers
hew! Time flies when you are having fun! Another issue is in the bag and now our sights are set on our last issue of the first volume of Mississippi Sports Magazine (MSM) coming out in May. As fun as the season “preview” issues are, I think we actually like the “off-season” issues more. There is always talk about football, basketball and baseball throughout the year. With the “offseason” issues we get a chance to showcase other people, places and things in our state. There are so many Mississippians who have accomplished so much, it’s fun to meet and talk to them and share their stories with all of you. That is our goal with MSM, to entertain and inform our readers with interesting articles, great pictures and great people! We promise to keep giving you stories written by quality writers who know what they are talking about and will not blow any sunshine up your behinds when writing about a particular school. MSM will always strive to give credit where credit is due. There are so many more athletes in our state that deserve to have their stories told. There is so more to Mississippi than football! The future looks bright with MSM. We are working to have the magazine available in every nook and cranny of Mississippi by the time our first issue of the second volume releases with the 2009 Football preview. We get calls almost every day from people in towns all across the state who want to know where they can find an issue. We have been trying our best to make sure they are all over the Jackson/Metro area as well as Starkville, Oxford, Hattiesburg, Meridian the Gulf Coast, and other locations. Getting associated with a distributor is a long process, but all looks good to be “completely” statewide by the release of the football issue this fall. Still, the best way to get Mississippi Sports Magazine is of course though subscription. For just $24 you can have all 6 issues (1 year) delivered to your mailbox whether you live in Mississippi or not. MSM is also getting a lot of interest from relocated Mississippians out of state. What better way to keep up with home than reading a copy of Mississippi Sports Magazine. One gentleman told me he actually proved a bet with some of his co-workers in another state with a copy of MSM. We are getting great reviews from our readers who still keep telling us “it’s about time Mississippi had something like this.” We encourage you to give us a call at 601-503-7205 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any photos, ideas or would like to write a feature or column about something or someone in Mississippi. Mississippi Sports Magazine is for you! We hope you continue to read MSM and help support and spread the word about what we have going on here in Mississippi. In return we will promise to give you a quality magazine you will be proud to read, display in your home or office, and show all your friends and associates. We want to thank everyone who has helped us make it this far! All of you have been terrific and we appreciate all you have done. Thank you Mississippi!
6 - Mississippi Sports Magazine
Greg & Mendy Pevey Publishers Philippians 4:13
8 GODFREY’S TAKE
It’s never too early to look at next season in college football. MSM takes a look at the Rebels, Dogs and Golden Eagles entering the Spring
10 CHUCK & DOUG
Chuck Stinson & Doug Colson give us their take on what is going on in the State of Mississippi
14 THE LEGEND OF “BOOTY” SLOAN
Coach James Sloan is roasted in Clinton by former players and fans.
18 MSM EXCLUSIVE - JOE GIBBS
Former NFL coach and current NASCAR team owner Joe Gibbs teams up with Southern Farm Bureau.
22 UNBELIEVABLE SEASON
The Mississippi Braves took home the Southern League Championship in ‘08. Can they repeat the feat on ‘09?
26 LIVING THE DREAM
An interview with Brandon natives Brian and Brent Leach as they strive to make MLB 40-man rosters during spring training.
30 REWARDED FOR A JOB WELL DONE
Jackson native and Columbus resident Stan Murray receives honor of officiating the 2009 Rose Bowl.
32 RIDGELAND SPORTS
The City of Ridgeland is becoming a hot-bed for sports in Mississippi
34 2009 RECRUITING WRAP-UP
Check out who signed with your favorite team and what they will bring to the table in the 2009 season.
46 COLLEGE NOTEBOOK News briefs around the state
62 MISSISSIPPI’S HIGH SCHOOL STORYTELLERS
The Fascogna’s talk about the recent success of their books “Gridiron Gold” and “Y’all vs. Us”.
66 HIGH SCHOOL NEWS 72 TIME OUT WITH YOLANDA MOORE
58 Deshea is Da’ man
Batesville native Deshea Townsend played in his 2nd Super Bowl this past February. The Steelers won their 6th World Champonship in dramatic fashion by beating the Arizona Cardnials 27-23 in Tampa, Fl. Photo by Pittsburgh Steelers photographer Mike Fabus
Mississippi Sports Magazine - 7
G O D F R E Y ’ S TA K E
The Big 3: An Offseason Look at Mississippi College Football It’s never too early to look at next season in college football. MSM takes a look at the Rebels, Dogs and Golden Eagles entering the Spring By Steven Godfrey Contributing Writer
Ole Miss 2008 Record: 9-4 (5-3 SEC) Welcoming Committee: DE Craig Drummond, WR Pat Patterson, OL Bobbie Massie Still Missing You: OL Michael Oher Life is pretty good if you’re quarterback Jevan Snead. The art of making a season forecast in April in unreliable, but the Texas transfer has to feel sunny. If head coach Houston Nutt was the central character of the Rebels’ 2008 resurgence that saw a seasonending winning streak take the Rebels all the way to a Cotton Bowl victory and a return to the national stage, Snead is poised to be the focal point of a possible renaissance in ’09. Even with the departure of receiver Mike Wallace, Ole Miss’ all-purpose yards leader last season, Ole Miss is stacked with weaponry. Rising sophomore RB Brandon Bolden could replace the departed Jason Cook at fullback, a move that would make the “Wild Rebel” formation even more of a versatile threat. Speaking of the converted spread-option formation, RB/QB Dexter McCluster will return as the “Wild” go-to man in a backfield that’s got as many heads as it does formations. Nutt’s coveted running game returns its top five rushers, who helped Ole Miss roll up over 2600 yards last year. The defense will look to replace tackle Peria Jerry, who possibly played himself into a first-round draft pick last year. The Rebs’ biggest commitment came when junior Greg Hardy passed on the Draft. If he’s healthy, expect inside man Ted Laurent and Hardy to lead the case for the conference’s best front four. But as Snead goes, so do the Rebels. Snead threw for 26 touchdowns and over 2700 yards in his first year playing in the SEC, but what’s even more encouraging for Ole Miss 8 - Mississippi Sports Magazine
fans is the upward trending in his production. After wobbly September efforts (four picks and countless overthrown passes in a loss to Vanderbilt was by far his low point), Snead got dramatically better as the season went. After seven games into the season, Snead had thrown ten touchdowns and ten interceptions. The Rebels were 3-4 and considered an unlikely bowl team. In his last six games, Snead threw 16 more touchdowns and only three picks. The Rebels went 6-0 and charged onto the national scene. While Snead’s play wasn’t the sole factor for the Rebels’ win/loss column (excuse me sir, the defensive line would like to speak with you), it might be the key to watch in spring and summer practice. THE BURNING QUESTION – Who will replace Mike Oher at left tackle, and how deep is the OL? The raincloud on Rebel Nation’s cheery forecast is that left tackle Michael Oher will be pancaking in N.F.L. come fall. His departure creates the biggest hole (figuratively and literally) on the Ole Miss offensive line and the entire team. Senior John Jerry will become elder statesman and will at right tackle, while incoming freshman Bobbie Massie could challenge sophomore Bradley Sowell at LT this fall. Oher’s absence is only marginally greater than the loss of both guards to graduation. If the Rebels can’t find sufficient answers to protect Snead, they can’t be considered a true player in the SEC West. Juco transfer Logan Clair has already enrolled to help fill the need. Mississippi State 2008 Record: 4-8 (2-6 SEC) Welcoming Committee: HC Dan Mullen, QB Tyler Russell, WR Chad Bumphis Still Missing You: S/PR Derek Pegues Enter the Dan Mullen era in Starkville. The former Florida offensive coordinator’s first task in Starkville will be to take deposed head coach Sylvester Croom’s “high quality
character” players and teach them how to score points in a football game. State was dead last in scoring offense in the SEC last season, putting up a paltry 15.2 points a game. Some fans say that the stats don’t do it justice; that it was the way the team seemed to absolutely fold in rivalry games. Look no further than the woeful 3-2 affair against Auburn and an Egg Bowl embarrassment as the kind of total offensive ineptitude that numbered Croom’s days. The season was just long on the other side of the football. MSU gave up over 300 yards and 24 points a game, and must now fill up a thin a secondary in ‘09. Senior safety and return specialist Derek Pegues is gone, as are six other starters from front to back, including three on the defensive line. Itawamba CC transfer Pernell McPhee will step in immediately to anchor the front. Mullen will oversee special teams, and must audition to replace departed punter Blake McAdams and kicker Adam Carlson. But fans are most anxious to see Mullen’s spread offense installed and incoming freshman quarterback Tyler Russell has been the talk of State’s offseason. The 6’4, 200lb All-American dual threat QB led Meridian High School to a 5A State Championship in Mississippi and had Bulldog fans starved for offense drooling at the thought of Tebow-ish numbers to come. The fans’ excitement over Russell will have to be tempered though, as the job will be returning starter Tyson Lee’s by default, or at least until August. Lee led the Bulldogs with a 112.96 efficiency rating, completing just under 59 percent of his passes in 11 games played last season. However, it’s no secret that Mullen covets what Russell could do in his system regardless of his experience. THE BURNING QUESTION - Who’s going to catch the damn ball? That whole “spread” offense thing is fairly reliant on catching passes, something State hasn’t excelled in. Experience will be in short supply as State overhauls its receiving corps. Brandon McCrae led the unit with 518 yards and three touchdowns last season, but his nastyleg break in the Egg Bowl will have him sidelined through at least the spring. Combined with the loss of seniors Jamayel Smith and Aubrey Bell, 105 reception exactly 50 percent of MSU’s total output on the season – will be missing in Spring ball. An even bleaker stat is that State’s next two highest receivers were running backs Arnil
Stalworth and Anthony Dixon. Mullen’s inaugural signing class was quick to address the deficiency by signing seven wideouts. Highly touted Tupelo receiver Chad Bumphis and juco transfer Leon Barry are at the top of the class and are thought to be building blocks for the future. If McCrae sits out this Spring, only three scholarship players from last season will practice at WR. Necessity demands that one of these new faces will stand out. Southern Miss 2008 Record: 7-6 (4-4 CUSA) Welcoming Committee: RB Kendrick Hardy, WR Justin Jordan Still Missing You: LB Gerald McRath Larry Fedora came to Hattiesburg amidst a fan base divided by the dismissal of longtime Southern Miss coach Jeff Bower. Fedora, the former offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State and a proponent of the spread offense, promised yards and points, which exactly what USM delivered in his first season. USM set a single-season school record with 5,220 yards of total offense and wowed fans with scoreboard explosions (hanging 70 on UAB comes to mind). Scoring defense, however, will be the key to the Golden Eagles competing for a C-USA title in 2009. Southern Miss limped into November with a 2-6 record, allowing 21 points or more (four times opponents score 34 or more) in each game. Despite a quick strike offense improving each week with the development of freshman quarterback Austin Davis, the new regime at USM seemed incapable of consistency. So how did they manage to right the ship and end up with a New Orleans Bowl victory over Troy? The Eagles caught fire with an improved defense to compliment their firepower on offense and closed the year with four conference wins. USM allowed an average of 8.5 points a game in the stretch, including a 21-3 win over eventual C-USA champ East Carolina. But if Southern Miss can continue their improvement on defense, they’ll have to do it without junior linebacker Gerald McRath, the team’s leading tackler who left early for the NFL Draft. A young defensive line returns intact with rising junior Anthony Gray leading the team in sacks, and Fedora stocked his second recruiting class with defensive backs. While Fedora’s shaky start has been warmed over with USM’s late season surge, a huge question mark looms with the bowl game injury to star freshman receiver
DeAndre Brown, a breakout star Fedora recruited away from the SEC. Brown led the team in receiving with 12 TDs and over 1100 yards, but suffered a ghastly broken leg in the New Orleans Bowl. His long road to recovery could be a blessing in disguise, as it forces a young but talent unit of receivers to step up. Senior tight end Shawn Nelson is gone, leaving Gerald Baptiste as the most productive receiver on the field come spring. THE BURNING QUESTION – What will become of Damion Fletcher? Good college football teams lose good players for off-field issues all the time, but Fletcher’s arrest in February for misdemeanor discharging of a firearm (OL Brennan
e a m
Houston was also charged with possession of marijuana in the same incident) could hit the Eagles harder than most. Fletcher is arguably USM’s best player. His 4,287 career yards are a school record. Just because Fedora employs a spread doesn’t mean that the possible loss of Fletcher wouldn’t seriously smart – his carries only dropped from 295 in Bower’s last season to 219 in ’08, still good for 10 touchdowns and over 1,300 yards. Fedora pulled another recruiting coup by signing Monticello RB Kendrick Hardy away from the big-boy neighbors, but no one expected to test his worth this early. - MSM
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Mississippi Sports Magazine - 9
TNB 11520-1 MS Sports Magazine - Basketball Print Ad 4.5 x 7.125 __________Spell Check ________Prod. Artist
Y O U K N O W W H AT I ’ M S AY I N G ?
Nine Super Bowls! Beat that! That phrase means nothing to most people but it means the world to me.
You see, I’ve been to NINE Super Bowls. That’s 3 X 3 Super Bowls. 8+1 Super Bowls. Nine
Players work their whole careers and never get to one. I’ve been to nine. Now granted I’m not
sweating and grinding out a season to get there. And I’ve never gotten a ring. But I do BUY all the t-shirts and hats I want!
Actually it just takes a click of a few buttons on the internet now and a bit of a selling job at
the TV station to get my management to see the value in covering a the game. So far, so good. Nine total. Six in a row.
By Chuck Stinson WLBT-TV 3 Sports Anchor and Co-Host of Mississippi Sports this Morning, 620AM Jackson
Eat your heart out Charles Haley (5 titles with San Francisco and Dallas).
Sure there are media members that have been to many, many more. But I never thought I’d get
You might need a little background information to know why that is significant in this sports
persons life. I grew up watching and loving the NFL. It is what led me into TV sports and the
Super Bowl, the ultimate game of games, was the pinnacle of the sport I loved. I was awarded a scholarship coming out of high school and in the local home town newspaper (The Oak Ridger of Oak Ridge, TN) I was quoted as saying that my goal was to study broadcasting and broadcast the Super Bowl one day.
My dream was altered a bit. I haven’t actually done the play by play but I have been to nine.
I’ve seen Brett Favre win one, Steve McNair just miss one, Eli Manning be a hero in one and
the Patriots too many times. Five to be exact. The lesser known Mississippi players have been
great as well. Kendall Simmons and Deshea Townsend of Pittsburgh are two of my favorites and I’m not a big Steelers fan (you’ll find out why later). Luckily I’ve seen some great games too.
Titans-Rams, Rams-Patriots, Patriots-Panthers, Patriots-Giants, Steelers-Cardinals.
None have been awful except for the one where my Seahawks lost to the Steelers. Still I was
there when they were there for the first time. Something I always said I wanted to do.
I’ve seen great cities, Phoenix, Tampa, Detroit, Houston, Miami. And great halftime shows,
U2, Prince, Bruce Springsteen, and the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction (couldn’t really tell what was happening from the upper deck).
I owe a debt of gratitude to WLBT for allowing me to explore the options of getting there and allowing me to do it.
It’s not often you get to live a dream at your job but I have been able to do just that. If I never
go again I have still been to nine.
But it would be nice to get to double digits. - MSM
10 - Mississippi Sports Magazine
The NFL Draft A look at what Mississippi has to offer the Pro’s
By Doug Colson Co-Host of Mississippi Sports this Morning, 620AM Jackson
rowing up a huge pro football fan in the sleepy suburbs of the birthplace of basketball, I always felt out of place. While Larry and Magic were taking the NBA to new levels and the Big East was dominating college hoops, I could always be found with my torso ensconced in the blue and green satin of my Seahawks Starter jacket. 1984 was the year my town got cable television, and also the first year I stumbled across the NFL Draft. I instantly fell in love. The NFL Draft was an oasis of football in what seemed like an endless dessert of baseball. My passion has grown through the years. I have bought books and magazines, filled up numerous notebooks and logged thousands of hours on draft websites. I have past drafts on videotape and DVD. For the past few years, the NFL Network has broadcast the NFL Scouting Combine. The event invites the most draft worthy talent to Indianapolis, so NFL scouts can poke and prod the best college football has to offer. When I moved to Mississippi in August of ‘96, it didn’t take me long to learn of the impact the Magnolia state has had on the NFL. The Pro Football Hall of Fame and current NFL rosters are littered with the talent whose roots run deep into the Mississippi soil, and the Mississippi colleges and universities look like they will be sending a bumper crop to the NFL market this year. So here it is, my post Combine Review. Ole Miss • Left Tackle Michael Oher only did 21 reps on the bench press. I think he needed to throw it up 29 or 30 times to regain his top five status but regardless of that, the massive left tackle will not have to wait long to hear his name called as a mid to late 1st round pick. • Defensive Tackle Peria Jerry, who did not run a forty or do the bench press, weighed in at 299 and looks like he will be the second DT to come off the board as a mid to late 1st round pick. • Guard Maurice Miller ran a 5.36 forty at 327 pounds and also did 21 reps on the bench. He will be strictly a guard in the NFL. Maurice will have to wait until day two to hear his name called, but he has a good shot to stick in the League for a while. 4th or 5th round pick • Wide Receiver Mike Wallace blazed a 4.33 forty,
the second fastest wide receiver at the combine. His time will help, but the wide receiver position looks very deep. 4th round pick • Safety Jamarca Sanford showed excellent strength by putting up 29 reps in the bench press, but I think his coverage skills will be questioned. 6th or 7th round pick • Fullback Jason Cook, always a tough position to scout for, yet Cook could be one of the first fullbacks off the board. 5th or 6th round pick. Mississippi State • Safety Derek Pegues threw up 23 reps and will add extra value by returning punts. He will need some time but should eventually start. 3rd or 4th round pick. Jackson State • Cornerback Domonique Johnson ran a 4.50 forty. I expected faster but good for a 6’2” 200 pound corner. Some team will fall in love with his size.3rd or 4th round pick. Alcorn State • Linebacker Lee Robinson - excellent frame and did a good job by running a 4.78 forty and throwing up 24 reps. He could be a late round sleeper. 6th or 7th round pick. Southern Miss • Offensive Tackle Ryan McKee - good frame and could pack on more weight, but USM lineman always slide for some reason. 6th or 7th round pick. • Tight end Shawn Nelson has done nothing but fly up draft boards. With him running a 4.56 forty and putting up 19 reps, it will only continue that trend. Late first or early second round pick. • Linebacker Gerald McRath ran a 4.61 forty and did 19 reps. His solid performance cemented himself as a mid 2nd or early 3rd round pick. The prospects still have their on-campus work outs in March so there is still time to impress scouts. Remember it can all change in an instant, but I guarantee that I will be there in my “draft war room” watching, anticipating, taking notes, and recording for future discussions. Give me a call if you want to break it down. HAPPY DRAFT! - MSM Mississippi Sports Magazine - 11
T H E FA N S
You can wrap this wedding in “Maroon and White”
Vol. 1 No. 5 March/April 2009
Published by Pevey Publishing, LLC Publishers Greg & Mendy Pevey Layout Greg Pevey Columnists Doug Colson, Steven Godfrey Yolanda Moore, Chuck Stinson Contributing Writers James Covington, Cary Estes, Nash Nunnery, Greg Pevey Contributing Photographers Greg Pevey, Sports Information offices at
n October 11, 2008, Jesse K. McDonald and Anne Snell were united in marriage. They had both lost spouses to whom they had been happily married for many years. Bride Anne Snell tells us how this wedding took place. We have known each other for years because his daughter Denise Cosper and my daughter-in-law Kathy Snell are best friends. Our two eight-year-old grandsons are best friends. The boys attended day care together at First Presbyterian Church, and I volunteered at the center and all the children called me Grandmother. So Ryan and Jason already called me Grandmother, and we were already a family. Since we are BIG BULLDOG fans, and since our kids, grand kids, and many of our friends attend the MSU football games, we thought it would be perfect to be married at a football game. Jesse thought we should get permission to be married on the 50 yard line during half time of a MSU game. I thought that was a “little much”!! The idea of getting married on a football game weekend came about because most of the people we would be inviting to join us would be in Starkville for a game. So we decided to be married in the Chapel of Memories on campus and have our reception at a tailgate party. Jesse, his daughter, and many of his friends have been tailgating in the same spot on Bell Island for the past 30 years, so everyone would know where to find us for the reception. Our attendants were our five grandsons. Ryan and Jason Cosper, sons of Denise and Chris Cosper, and Sam, Luke, and Cooper Snell, sons of Steve and Kathy Snell. We were married in blue jeans and MSU shirts. When the wedding was in the planning stages, my college roommate, Elizabeth Hawkins, told me that I could not get married in jeans. I told her, “You just watch me!” There were friends in LSU T-shirts, Clemson T-shirts, and many MSU T-shirts. We told the ministers (one Methodist and one Baptist) that we wanted a very short wedding. The ceremony lasted 12 minutes, someone rang a cowbell after the preacher said , “You may kiss the bride.” We also exited the Chapel to the sound of cowbells. The reception was wonderful; there were kids running around laughing and playing touch football, old friends visiting, etc. The weather was beautiful, and MSU won the football game. It was a wonderful and unique day, and, today, on the anniversary of four months of marriage, we could not be any happier. God is good! - MSM 12 - Mississippi Sports Magazine
Ole Miss, MSU, USM, JSU, Delta State, Miss. College, Millsaps, Belhaven Advertising Sales Greg Pevey, Jay Pevey, Mendy Pevey Mississippi Sports Magazine is published bi-monthly by Pevey Publishing, LLC to promote Mississippi’s sportsmen and women, colleges, universities, high schools, communities and citizens in an informative and positive manner. We welcome contributions of articles and photos; however, they will be subject to editing and availability of space and subject matter. Photographs, comments, questions, subscription requests and ad placement inquiries are invited! Return envelopes and postage must accompany all labeled materials submitted if a return is requested. No portion of this publication may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The opinions expressed in Mississippi Sports Magazine are those of the authors or columnists and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, nor do they constitute an endorsement of products or services herein. We reserve the right to refuse any advertisement. Pevey Publishing is not affiliated with any institution, college, university, or other academic or athletic organization. Subscriptions are $24 (1 year, 6 issues). Make checks payable to Pevey Publishing and mail to: 405 Knights Cove West, Brandon, MS 39047 or subscribe online at www. mssportsmagazine.com.
Pevey Publishing, LLC Mississippi Sports Magazine 405 Knights Cove West • Brandon, MS 39047 PUBLISHING Phone: 601-503-7205 • Fax: 601-992-2885 email: email@example.com www.mssportsmagazine.com
Rise Slide Recruitin’ Nutt
Some will say Houston Nutt is not the recruiter some would like. But one thing’s for sure, he pulled out all the stops to lure rising Senior defensive end Greg Hardy back on the field instead of entering the NFL draft. With the return of Hardy the Ole Miss defensive line could still retain it’s dominating form in 2009. Barring injury, Hardy may have made himself millions of extra dollars by staying around for one more year. Too many times you see kids try to enter the draft early thinking they are ready to hit the next level. Remember, Rory Johnson, Tyji Armstrong and Rufus French? Yeah, I don’t either.
Ask USM’s DeAndre Brown and MSU’s Brandon McRae how much they love the new artificial turf that has become so popular at many high school, college and NFL stadiums around the country. McRae’s right leg snapped as he was running a pass pattern with about 6 minutes left in the first half of the Egg Bowl in Oxford. Trainers said he had a compound fracture of the tibia. They immobilized his right leg with an inflatable cast and took him from the field
on a stretcher. The game was delayed for about 5 minutes. One series after setting the school record for receptions in a season with 67, Brown left the game with 8:21 remaining in the first period of the New Orleans Bowl when he suffered what USM officials described as a lower left leg fracture while running a pass pattern. Not only are these surfaces causing different types of injuries, but staph infections are also becoming a problem from bacteria growing on these fields from sweat, spit, and blood settling in the turf. Let us know what you think is “On the Rise” or “On the Slide” in Mississippi. Email us at: publisher@ mssportsmagazine.com. Submit your name and hometown with your comment and we’ll print it. If you don’t make your thoughts or concerns known, they will never be heard!
Is Dan the Man?
Dan Mullen was named as Mississippi State’s new football coach this past December to a few mixed reviews by some fans. Mullen will bring a winning attitude back to campus. With his success as offensive coordinator at Florida, I think most State fans will be chomping at the bit to see an offense that can move the ball and put points on the board. With the signing of Meridian’s Tyler Russell (Mississippi’s Mr. Football for 2008), will Mullen be able to mentor the next Tim Tebow? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here on that one. I feel it was a great move by MSU to bring on a young and energetic coach who can pump some excitement back into the program and the fans. For the past few years MSU has lost that sense of excitement and swagger they had under Sherrill. At least the good news is from what we hear, they will be bringing back the “Dawg Pound Rock!”
With the loss of three returning starters, the emergence of Terrico White has caught the attention of many in the SEC. White has been named SEC Freshman of the Week and Player of the week several times this season. He is a shoe-in now for SEC Freshman of the Year. The Rebs should be stacked for the ‘09-’10 Season. Can you say SEC Overall Champs?
Mississippi Sports Magazine - 13
The Legend of
“Booty” Sloan Faith, Family & Football Former Clinton Players, Fans Pay Tribute to MAC Hall of Fame Coach James Sloan By NASH NUNNERY Special to Mississippi Sports Magazine
Far too often, great men are honored after they’re gone, leaving behind a trail of regret and sorrow from those whose lives they’ve impacted most. That can’t be said for James H. “Booty” Sloan.
n Jan. 17, nearly 200 former Clinton High School players, coaches, managers and friends paid homage to the man who forged a dynasty on the field and left his imprint on the hearts of those closest to the Arrows football program for 13 glorious seasons as head football coach. To put it in gridiron vernacular, Sloan and the crowd who came to fete him left nothing on the field during “A Tribute to Coach James Sloan” at pristine Anderson Hall on the campus of Mississippi College. “This is a class town and we were blessed with a lot of good players here in Clinton,” he told the crowd. “I am blessed that God gave me the opportunity to coach here and I love and appreciate each and every one of you.” The banquet to honor Sloan was the brainchild of Bill Maxey, who played on the coach’s first Arrows team as a sophomore in 1972. “This all started with a conversation with (former teammate 14 - Mississippi Sports Magazine
Barry McCay) on the way to a high school football game six years ago,” said Maxey. “Coach Sloan had a profound effect on my life, as he did on the lives of not only football players in Clinton, but members of the community as well. It was the right time to do this.” Bob Tyler, a long-time friend and confidante who introduced Sloan to the packed house, said the tribute went beyond his expectations. “I’ve attended these types of functions all over the Southeast and never have I seen players and a community honor a man in quite this fashion,” said Tyler, a former Mississippi State head coach and assistant to the fabled Johnny Vaught at Ole Miss. “It was an incredible night.” Former Arrows from all over the nation converged on Clinton to celebrate their former coach, who is Clinton High’s all-time career leader in victories. During the tribute banquet, players from the early 1970s mixed with their counterparts from the late ‘80s, and expressed their appreciation for James Sloan. “I don’t think I’d be the type of person or coach that I am
Coach James Sloan on the sidelines in the late 70â€™s at Clinton High School.
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today if it weren’t for Booty,” said Mickey McMurtry, the first of three McMurtry brothers to play quarterback for Sloan and who is now head baseball coach at Georgia prep powerhouse Lassiter High School in Marietta. The name Sloan is still deeply woven into the fabric of Arrows football lore, although he left Clinton to return to his native Lee County in 1991. *
James Sloan didn’t replace a legend – he became one. In two different stints as the head football coach at Clinton High, the folksy Sloan won 103 games against only 38 defeats, including a sparkling 62-14 record from 1972-1978, his first tour of duty. Smallish in physical stature, Sloan’s coaching prowess was gargantuan. The Shannon native boasts 214 wins on his coaching resume, including the 1992 MHSAA Class 5A state championship title while at Tupelo. In addition, his Arrows teams captured three Little Dixie Conference championships, four North LDC crowns and a District 6-5A title. Comparisons to Sloan’s predecessor, the late Roy Burkett are unavoidable, both mathematically and historically. Burkett won 92 contests in 16 seasons at Clinton from 1956-71. The fact remains that for 29 combined seasons, the tradition-rich Arrows program was led by two present-day Mississippi Association of Coaches Hall of Fame members. The memories of Clinton still remain vivid for Sloan, though he left “The City of Pride, History and Progress” nearly two decades ago. “My goodness, coaching and living in Clinton was the highlight of our lives,” said the coach. “(Wife) Wanda would move back down there tomorrow. My family grew up in Clinton and I am grateful for our years there.” Wanda Sloan, who has been married to her husband for 43 years, reiterates his words. “My fondest memories are of the people, and how the rapport between the city and school district was so strong,” she recalled. “The whole town would turn out at Burkett Field for a home game, and when we’d travel to play on the road, they’d be there too.” At the zenith of his career, Sloan’s priorities in life were faith, family and football – in that order. But make no mistake – there wasn’t a high school coach in America more fiercely competitive. Just ask the shortstop for a Clinton recreation league softball team who got turned upside down by Sloan breaking up a double play attempt during a game in the mid-‘70s. The shortstop happened to be one of his football players. Sloan’s proclivity for work began in northeast Mississippi, where he grew up on a farm tending to milk cows and nurturing soybeans. It transcended to his intense study of the game of football, be it breaking down film or scheming a new defense. Wanda Sloan says the wives of his assistant coaches would often call her during the season asking when to expect their husbands home from practice. Better put dinner back in the oven, she’d tell them. Nobody was going to outwork James Sloan. Games were won on preparation during the week, he figured, not on Friday 16 - Mississippi Sports Magazine
night. Winning football games at any level, says Sloan, boils down to three things – no turnovers, no turnovers, no turnovers. “If you win the turnover battle, you’ll most likely win the game,” he said, emphatically. “Coaching is simple – you tell the players to ‘stay after it’ for four seconds each play and you’ll be successful. And, of course, you must have kids that love the game. We had that in Clinton.” Certainly winning championships endeared him to the Clinton community. But Sloan integrated himself into dayto-day life of the community, as he also served as the CHS athletics director, led the school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter, was a beloved Sunday school teacher at a Clinton church and taught an American Government class, though his achievements on the field often overshadowed those duties. Although he won a MHSSA state football championship with Tupelo, Sloan is not enamored with the current playoff system in high school football. He says the now-defunct conference alignments, particularly the Little Dixie Conference, produced epic gridiron battles in central Mississippi. “Good gracious, the Little Dixie was a bloodbath every week,” he said. “It was like the SEC, where each game was a rivalry and teams like Warren Central, Pearl or Forest Hill wanted to beat your brains out and vice-versa - the rivalries in those days were extremely bitter and extended to the communities. “Today, high school teams play each other and most don’t have any real history between the schools or towns. It’s not the same.” A sophomore tight end on Sloan’s first Little Dixie Conference championship squad in ’72, Maxey says the coach’s influence went beyond the gridiron world of Xs and Os. “Coach had a major impact on people’s lives in Clinton, even for those that didn’t play a down of football,” he said. “Students, civic leaders, members of his church…he shared something with them along the way that has been a fixture in
Former players, coaches, and cheerleaders pose with Slaon (seated center, 2nd row) at the recent banquet held in his honor at Mississippi College.
their character to this day. James Sloan is a champion in every sense of the word.” Sloan left Clinton in 1991 to return to his native Lee County. He retired from coaching in 1995, but re-emerged a couple of times as a volunteer assistant at Shannon and Saltillo, where he coached his grandson Tyler. Today, the coach serves as a consultant to young coaches working in the Lee County School District. Both in its uniqueness as a community and the love of its citizenry for Arrows football, Sloan concurs that there is a state-wide mystique about Clinton. “During my time there, it was the best place in the USA to coach high school football – the best atmosphere, players, coaches and band. The town in the ‘Friday Night Lights’ book had nothing on Clinton,” he said. “Doggone, if a player couldn’t get charged up to the Marching Arrows playing ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ in the fourth quarter, well, he didn’t have a pulse. “Academically or athletically, there wasn’t a better situation for a coach than Clinton.” Former school district superintendent Virgil Belue hired Sloan. A young school administrator himself in 1972, Belue remembers that he had a Herculean task in replacing the legendary Burkett, whose name is affixed to the old CHS stadium on Lakeview Drive. Belue consulted a familiar name in Mississippi coaching circles – Bob Tyler. “James Sloan came highly recommended to me by Coach Tyler and he said that (Sloan) would spend hours visiting with him, just drawing up plays and talking football,” said Belue.
The young Sloan also possessed the intangibles that Belue he desired in the coaches that he hired – plus one. “Bob told me that James Sloan had a great football mind but that he was also a man of great character, committed to academics and possessed a great work ethic,” he said. “I had set the initial interview on a Sunday but Coach Sloan said he couldn’t do it. “Turns out, he taught Sunday school in New Albany and didn’t want to miss. That told me all I needed to know about his character.” In retirement, Sloan spends a great deal of time on the golf course. He misses coaching, especially the butterflies in his gut when Fridays in the fall roll around and, of course, the interactions with his players and staff. “No doubt about it, I miss Friday nights,” he said, wistfully. “I start getting that feeling in August when I go to my driveway for the morning newspaper. You can just feel football in the air.” The story behind the “Booty” moniker is elementary. It came about because of Sloan’s love of cowboy boots as a child and his mother’s failure to get young James to remove them. The unusual handle had nothing to do with his moves as an AllTombigbee Conference quarterback at Shannon. “When I was a kid, I wore boots all the time. I mean you couldn’t get those doggone boots off my feet,” he said. “Later, as the coach at Clinton, if I got a call and the person on the See COACH SLOAN Continued on page 65 Mississippi Sports Magazine - 17
ON THE TRACK - EXCLUSIVE
Not your average
Decades of success in two sports has helped Joe Gibbs develop a game plan for life By CARY ESTES Mississippi Sports Magazine
ore than 50 years in sports has taught Joe Gibbs that where you start is not nearly as important as where you finish. And life, he says, is the exact same way. When it comes to sports, Gibbs has shown that he knows a little something about finishing strong. He won the Super Bowl three times as the head coach of the NFL’s Washington Redskins (in 1983, ’88 and ’92), and he has captured the NASCAR Cup championship three times as a car owner (in 2000 with driver Bobby Labonte and in 2002 and ’05 with Tony Stewart behind the wheel). In every case, there were obstacles and setbacks along the way. But the reward came at the end. It was the moment of celebration that justified an unwavering faith in the game plan that had been established. So it is with life, Gibbs says. Where we begin is not nearly as important as the journey and our final destination. The 68-yearold Gibbs has unwavering faith as to where that destination will be. The key, he declares, is in knowing what it takes to get there. “One of the most important things I ever did with the Redskins and with Joe Gibbs Racing was develop a game plan,” Gibbs says. “Well, when it comes to life, God is the head coach, you and I are the players, and we’re playing the biggest game of all that nobody wants to lose. God wouldn’t put us here without a game plan.” This is gospel according to Joe Gibbs. It is a message he has preached for decades, to football players and race car drivers and assistant coaches and pit crew members. It is a theme he expands upon in his new book, The Game Plan for Life, which 18 - Mississippi Sports Magazine
is due to be released in July. “We want to present a game plan that enables people to have a relevant, modern-day, happy, successful life,” Gibbs says. Gibbs certainly has demonstrated throughout his career that he knows what a good game plan looks like. Winning three Super Bowls in a 10-year span is proof enough. But then he turned around and teamed up with his oldest son, J.D. Gibbs, to form a race team that made its NASCAR debut in 1992 and has developed into one of the best in the business. On the surface, the move from football to auto racing might seem like an odd transition. But Gibbs says he is a gearhead from way back, dating to his teenage days driving hot rods around southern California. “I’ve been hooked on cars since I was 16,” Gibbs says. “When my kids came along we had jet skis and motorbikes. We were always racing something or running around in something with a motor.” So when J.D. Gibbs approached his father about shifting gears from the NFL to NASCAR, Joe Gibbs heartily endorsed the idea. But Gibbs admits he underestimated exactly what he was getting into. “That first year, we had 17 people and one race car (driven by Dale Jarrett) which I thought was going to be the end-all of what we did,” Gibbs said. “We built a complex that was about 55,000 square feet, and I thought that would be the biggest thing we’d ever need. “We outgrew that in two years.” Today, more than 400 people work at Joe Gibbs Racing, and the team’s complex near Charlotte, N.C., consists of a 300,000
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square-foot main building and a 160,000 square-foot secondary facility. JGR has three drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and 18-year-old rookie Joey Logano) and two cars in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, as well as a motocross team and a driver diversity program. “Never in my wildest dreams when we first started this did I think it would be this big,” Gibbs says. Because of sponsorship, Gibbs’ reach in NASCAR extends much further than it ever did with the Redskins. NFL head coaches lead a life of long hours and narrow focus. Gibbs said it was not uncommon for him to spend the night at the Redskins headquarters. He would go for days without communicating with anyone other than his coaches and players. The hours can be long and the desire just as intense in NASCAR, but sponsorship deals force team owners to break out of their bubble and visit with people across the country. The outgoing Gibbs says one of the things he enjoys most about being in NASCAR is the opportunity to meet new people and build strong relationships. So even though there is no NASCAR track in Mississippi, Gibbs found himself in Jackson earlier this year just a few weeks before the season-opening Daytona 500. It was a trip he has made many times in recent years, because of his organization’s sponsorship deals with Farm Bureau Insurance. Farm Bureau Insurance sponsored the No. 18 JGR car in the NASCAR Nationwide Series last year and will be involved in six Sprint Cup races this season. The Farm Bureau Insurance logo will be carried on the No. 11 Toyota driven by Hamlin at the May 9 race at Darlington and the September 6 race at Atlanta, and on the No. 20 Toyota driven by Logano at the October 25 race at Martinsville. 20 - Mississippi Sports Magazine
Farm Bureau Insurance also will sponsor a fourth JGR entry at three races this season on the No. 02 Toyota at the October 17 Charlotte race, the November 8 Texas race and the November 22 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finale at Homestead. The driver for those three races has yet to be announced. “We’ve started a relationship with the guys at Farm Bureau Insurance, and we’ve had a great time with them,” Gibbs says. “It’s really fun for us to pair up with the Farm Bureau Insurance people. I think we kind of all speak the same language. We’re on the same page. Their company really fits us. It’s really fun whenever we get the chance to go there and see that group of people, because they are grass-roots America. That company is the rockbed of America, and so is Mississippi. I wish we had a track there. It would be a great place to put one. I know we have a lot of fans there.” The passion of NASCAR fans is one thing that continues to amaze Gibbs. Sure, NFL fans can be fervent about their teams – it takes a special type of enthusiasm for an adult to go out in public with a painted face – but Gibbs says NASCAR supporters take loyalty to a whole different level. “We had fan day here at the shop, and 70 people came the night before and waited all night just to be the first ones inside for autographs,” Gibbs says. “That’s the kind of fans we have following the sport. On an average day here, we probably have 200 to 300 people who tour the facility. There are usually 10 to 15 people here at any time of the day. “We have a great sport that people love. It has all the excitement. It has color, it has sound, it has the thrill of competition. But the biggest thing is the fan base for this sport. They are battle tested. It’s a fan base that loves the sport and follows it rain or shine.” Other than the passion of the fans, Gibbs says there is surprisingly little difference between NASCAR and the
NFL. In fact, as the years have gone by and he has bounced between the two sports (Gibbs returned for a second stint with the Redskins from 2004-07), he said he has found striking similarities between the two sports. “What’s the difference between the NFL and NASCAR? Almost none,” Gibbs says. “Over there you have quarterbacks, over here you have drivers. Over there you have coaches, over here you have crew chiefs. It’s the same job. You have owners in both. “And racing is a team sport, just like football. You win with people. You don’t win with trick cars, just like you don’t win football games with trick plays. You win when you get the right people together, the right players on your team. “So anybody who would be good in football would be good in racing, if they have the talent. It’s the same dynamics.” Even the small things can be the same. Gibbs tells a story about walking into the lounge area at the Redskins complex one morning to grab a cup of coffee. He looks around and can’t find any. Just then the team secretary comes in and says, “Can you believe this? Somebody stole the coffee.” “This happened a few more times,” Gibbs says. “Finally we caught a player who’s making about $600,000 a year, he’s going out the back door with the coffee. I said, ‘You put that back or I’m going to cut you.’ ” Fast forward to Gibbs’ second year in auto racing. Once again, he attempts to get a cup of coffee from the lounge. Once again, there is none to be found. The secretary looks at Gibbs and says, “You’re not going to believe this.” To which Gibbs immediately replies, “Yes I will. Somebody stole the coffee.” “So everything that has happened to me in football has happened to me again over here,” Gibbs says with a laugh. “When you have team sports, it’s pretty much the same world.” A lifetime of such experiences combined with his strong religious faith prompted Gibbs to put together what he considers to be his legacy message with the book The Game Plan for Life. Gibbs says the book is an attempt to illustrate that the teachings in the Bible remain important for success and happiness in our hectic 21st-century world. “Some people say it was written 2,000 years ago, so it’s not relevant today,” Gibbs says. “And it’s a fairly big book with some different language in it. It can be intimidating. “We broke it down to 11 topics or subjects, such as sin, salvation, heaven. Then we matched up each of those topics with a scholar who has spent his life studying in that field. Each one wrote a chapter. (Former NFL head coach) Tony Dungy wrote the forward. And then my testimony is kind of weaved in there, introducing these different scholars. “It is a game plan for life that I think really works. Tony Dungy’s life is a testimony that it works. It’s been relevant for 2,000 years. God talks about finances. You want to be successful in finances, study the game plan. So we want to present to America that this is a game plan that works.” Of course, everything doesn’t always go as planned. There inevitably will be challenges and disappointments. Gibbs says that is one of the fundamental lessons sports teaches. The key is how you handle the setbacks on the way to the ultimate goal.
The 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup season was a prime example for Gibbs. All three of his drivers – Hamlin, Busch and Tony Stewart – made the season-ending, 12-driver Chase for the Championship. Busch led the way with eight victories in the season’s first 26 races. But Busch did not win any of the 10 Chase races and dropped all the way to 10th in the final point standings. Hamlin wound up eighth and Stewart was ninth. “We were extremely disappointed in the Chase. It was a disappointing end to the season,” Gibbs said. “We knew we could run up front, we knew we could win races, we knew we could win the championship. Then when something like that happens to you, it’s tough. But you have to move on and learn from it and try to get better.” In other words, keep following the game plan, and have faith that it will work. It is a belief system that Gibbs has maintained throughout his life, both personally and professionally. In 1992, moments after the Redskins’ third and final Super Bowl victory under Gibbs, former Washington defensive end Charles Mann was standing alongside his coach soaking in the celebration. He had been with Gibbs for all three titles, and while the moment was indeed sweet, he acknowledged that the journey to reach that point was just as special. Mann looked at Gibbs and said, “You know, Coach, it’s not so much now that we won the Super Bowl, it was the getting here that was the fun.” Gibbs pauses as he recalls that moment, and then reflects on the journey he took in auto racing. From startup program in 1992 to NASCAR Cup champion in 2000. “It took us nine years to win that first championship in racing,” Gibbs said. “It’s that journey and the struggles and all the things that you go through that stick with you. That’s really what you remember when you do this.” - MSM
Farm Bureau Insurance Racing Team Facts: • Farm Bureau Insurance Racing Team will participate
in the NASCAR Sprint-Cup series for the first time and is scheduled to compete in six races for 2009. • The Team is affiliated with NASCAR’s preeminent racing team, Joe Gibbs Racing • The drivers this season will include Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and a to-be-announced third driver. • Farm Bureau Insurance Racing is scheduled to compete at the following NASCAR Sprint-Cup events: - 05/09/09 Southern 500 – Darlington Raceway #11 Denny Hamlin - 09/06/09 Pep Boys Auto 500 – Atlanta Motor Speedway - #11 Denny Hamlin - 10/17/09 Bank of America 500 – Lowe’s Motor Speedway - #20 Joey Logano - 10/25/09 Martinsville Speedway – #02 Driver TBD - 11/08/09 Dickies 500 – Texas Motor Speedway #02 Driver TBD – 11/22/09 Ford 500 – Homestead-Miami Speedway - #02 Driver TBD • The #02 Farm Bureau Insurance Racing Toyota Camry will make 11 appearances in Mississippi in 2009. Mississippi Sports Magazine - 21
Unbelievable!!! The Story of the 2008 Mississippi Braves
By NICHOLAS SKINNER Special to Mississippi Sports Magazine
OPENING NIGHT APRIL 9th • 7:05 PM MS Braves vs. Carolina Mudcats Trustmark Park For ticket information visit the Braves online at www.msbraves.com 22 - Mississippi Sports Magazine
hen the 2008 Mississippi Braves season began, no one could have guessed that a winning record, much less a Southern League Championship, lay at the other end. The Braves went from one end of the spectrum to the other. They won only six games in April. Six!!! They ended up winning 73 games. The 2008 M-Braves went from being the worst team in the league and in franchise history to being the greatest team Mississippi has fielded in the four years since relocating from Greenville, SC. Historically speaking, the only team better than the 2008 M-Braves was the 1992 Greenville Braves. That team won 100 games … This team did the unthinkable. From losing – alot – to winning the Southern League Championship. It was a season full of ups and downs, but in the end, only one team was left standing. The Mississippi Braves. Though they finished on the highest note possible, the season got off on the wrong foot. The team stumbled out of the gate and suffered through a 6-20 April. They turned it around with a winning record in May and finished the first half by winning eight of their last 14 games. The M-Braves record in the first half was 30-40 – a long way from 6-20. Six and Twenty! April of 2008 was the longest month in Mississippi Braves history. The M-Braves started the season by losing their first six games. They were swept by the Huntsville Stars in the opening series and dropped the home-opener against Mobile. After winning two straight games, the M-Braves then lost their next nine games to fall to 2-15 on the year. They would win only four more games in the month to finish April at an abysmal 6-20. The Braves turnaround coincided with the acquisition of one Jason Perry. Perry began the year in the Detroit Tigers organization, but at the end of spring training, they didn’t have a spot for him. With the M-Braves struggling, Atlanta’s scouts
found Perry, signed him, and sent him to Mississippi. He joined the club on April 20th and made an immediate impact. In his first game as an M-Brave, Perry went 3-3 with a three-run home run, but the Braves still lost. In his second game, he hit another three-run homer and scored two runs to lead Mississippi to its third win of the year. The win stopped a ninegame losing streak and was a sign of things to come. In all, he hit .314 with 11 doubles, 13 homers, 41 RBI and 34 runs scored through 38 games in Mississippi. Perry was promoted to Richmond, and eventually to Atlanta, but he made his mark on the M-Braves. In just over a month, the Braves had gone from 2-15 to 22-33 – 20-18 since Perry’s acquisition. While Perry kick-started Mississippi’s offense, another new face in the organization became the anchor the pitching staff had been searching for. The Braves acquired Todd Redmond from the Pittsburgh Pirates during spring training in exchange for big-league reliever Tyler Yates. Redmond spent the entire season with the M-Braves and served as the foundation of a pitching staff that would lead the team to a championship. Redmond, like everyone else, was mediocre through April. After a month in the Southern League, he figured it
out. He went 4-0 with a 3.08 ERA in May. Beginning on May 2nd, the Braves won nine of Redmond’s next 10 starts. After a 1-1 April, the right-hander from St. Petersburg, FL went 12-4 the rest of the way. He set a new team record for wins (13), strikeouts (133) and innings pitched (166.1). He threw a scoreless inning in the Southern League AllStar game and was tabbed as the Most Outstanding Pitcher in the Southern League. Redmond was named to the Southern League Postseason All-Star team as the league’s best right-handed pitcher, the first Mississippi Brave to make the postseason all-star team, and was named the M-Braves Pitcher of the Year by the Atlanta Braves organization. The Braves’ most consistent hitter all season was undoubtedly left fielder Matt Young. Young was the smallest player on the team, but played with the biggest heart. He moved around the lineup throughout the season, but always with the same results. Young hit .347 with four triples and 23 runs scored in May to secure a spot on the Southern League All-Star team. He was also named the Mississippi Braves Player of the Year by the Atlanta Braves organization after the season. About a week after Redmond got it figured out, Mississippi’s staff got
another shot in the arm with the arrival of pitching prospect Tommy Hanson. He joined the M-Braves on May 13th and quickly went to work holding the Montgomery Biscuits to a run on five hits through 6.1 innings in his first AA action. Hanson had made a name for himself in the lower levels of the organization, but what came next solidified his status as one of the Braves’ up-and-coming stars. The M-Braves made history on Hanson’s right arm on June 25th as they defeated Birmingham, 6-0. Hanson threw the first no-hitter in Mississippi Braves history and struck out a personalbest and team-record 14 batters in the process. It was only the second complete game in team history and the first complete game shutout. Hanson struggled through the first two innings as he issued two walks and hit a batter in the top of the first to load the bases. He got out of that jam before hitting the first batter of the second inning. Hanson then retired 18 consecutive batters before issuing another walk in the eighth. He then retired the last four batters of the game with a strikeout and three fly balls to center field. The only other no-hitter in franchise history is believed to be Mike Hostetler’s no-no in the first game of the 1992 Southern League Playoffs. As May turned into June, the M-Braves Mississippi Sports Magazine - 23
set the table for a complete turnaround in the second half. The M-Braves started the second half by winning five of the first six games and nine of the first 11. The Braves took over first place in the Southern League on June 18th and held at least a share of the South Division lead on all but one day during the second half. While Hanson settled into the AA rotation, Kris Medlen was about to make a name for himself. Medlen had been with the M-Braves throughout the season, but in a complimentary role in the bullpen. Medlen had given up 16 earned runs through 30-plus innings out of the bullpen and had recorded only one save. He moved into the starting rotation on June 5th and never looked back. Mississippi lost Medlen’s first three starts, but rebounded to win his next five. Medlen went 6-5 with a 3.11 ERA as a starter and became the Braves’ big-game pitcher down the stretch. He pitched the Braves into the playoffs on August 27th, was outstanding in the Division-Series clinching game three, and forced game five in the Championship Series with another stellar outing. In addition to Redmond, Hanson and Medlen, the Braves enjoyed a sizzling June/July from James Parr. Parr, who was one of the youngest M-Braves at only 22, caught fire in late May and won seven of his last eight decisions. He had six straight quality starts to lead the M-Braves into June with a season-high and team-record-tying five consecutive wins. He gave up five runs through his last six outings before getting called up to Richmond and eventually Atlanta. After Perry’s departure, Mississippi’s offense lacked a legitimate deep threat. No one in the lineup was feared on a consistent basis. Enter Kala Ka’aihue. The power-hitting Hawaiian struggled through the latter half of 2007 with the M-Braves and limped out of the gate in 2008. After nearly a full season in AA, the light switched on for KK. He hit .242 with five homers in May and followed that up with a .338, five-homer June. He went on to lead Mississippi in home runs with 14 and was named the Southern League Championship Series MVP after hitting .364 with three home runs, seven RBI and five runs scored in 24 - Mississippi Sports Magazine
the playoffs. All three of his homers came in the SLCS. The Braves finished June at 17-10 and tore through July with an 18-9 mark. With a 43-26 record in the second half, the M-Braves secured their second straight playoff appearance. Despite not having their most productive month, the M-Braves extended their lead in the division to 7.5 games and clinched a second straight playoff appearance on August 27th. Mississippi welcomed several familiar faces to the team in 2008. Former phenom Jeff Francoeur was reassigned to AA Mississippi just before the all-star break and he tore the cover off the ball
through three games with the M-Braves. Francoeur hit .538 with a triple and three runs scored through three games with the M-Braves. He was recalled to Atlanta after only 13 at-bats in Mississippi. Martin Prado also came back to the M-Braves, but as one of seven different Major League rehabs. Prado joined Mark Kotsay, Matt Diaz, Mike Gonzalez, Mike Hampton, Rafael Soriano, John Smoltz and Tom Glavine on the M-Braves rehabroster in 2008. Each made contributions on their way back to Atlanta, but none of them could touch the impact of Smoltz and Glavine. A couple of sure-fire Hall-of-Famers joined the Braves on their championship journey. Tom Glavine and John Smoltz
both enjoyed rehab stints with the M-Braves. Smoltz made one appearance out of the M-Braves bullpen while the team was in Tennessee. The Smokies enjoyed the largest crowd in Smokies Park history in anticipation of Smoltz’s appearance. The legend came on in the eighth inning and threw one scoreless inning out of the bullpen. To the delight of M-Braves fans at home, Glavine made an appearance at Trustmark Park in early August. He gave up three runs, two earned, on four hits through five innings in the Braves 8-4 loss to Jacksonville. Glavine not only pitched in the game, he signed autographs for an hour as fans lined up around the park to catch a glimpse, and maybe a picture, of the legendary lefty up close. The Braves entered the postseason by winning nine of their last 11 games, but it wasn’t just the starting rotation that had turned things around. Luis Valdez, another preseason acquisition, had always been a starter prior to 2008. The M-Braves moved him into the closer’s role and the Dominican flourished. Valdez set a new team record with 28 saves on the year and was 2-0 with two saves in the postseason. The Braves made their second consecutive playoff appearance after winning a team-record 73 games in ’08. Their opponent in the Southern League Division Series was the Birmingham Barons. In 2007, the Braves owned the Barons through the first half of the season as they took the first nine games and 11 of the first 12 in the season series. Birmingham rebounded to take six of the last eight from the Braves. The roles were reversed in 2008. Mississippi lost the first eight games of the year to the Barons before taking 10 of the last 13 games heading into the playoffs. The two teams squared off in the SLDS and the Braves’ won three pitching duels. In game one, two of the best hurlers in the Southern League faced off. Mississippi’s Todd Redmond, the Southern League’s Most Outstanding Pitcher, took on Birmingham’s Justin Cassel, the Southern League’s ERA champion. Both starters threw eight
scoreless innings. With the two teams locked in a scoreless tie, Kala Ka’aihue led off the top of the ninth with a single to left-center. It was only the Braves second hit of the game. Quentin Davis came in to pinch-run and he moved to second on a sac-bunt by Jordan Schafer. Willie Cabrera then ripped a double through the third baseman that scored Davis from second with the game’s only run. Game two saw more of the same from the starting pitchers. Tommy Hanson got the start for the M-Braves against Birmingham’s Aaron Poreda. Both starters gave up two runs and both starters struck out nine batters. Neither starter factored into the decision. The score remained tied at two until the top of the 11th. Matt Young reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second and moved to third on a single by Kala Ka’aihue. With runners at the corners, Jordan Schafer hit a sac-fly that scored Young with the game-winning run. Trustmark Park was the setting for game three of the SLDS and one of the best pitching performances in M-Braves history. Kris Medlen threw a complete game shutout and struck out a career high 12 batters in the 3-0 win. He held the Barons to five hits and clinched the Southern League South Division Championship for the M-Braves. The Braves got solo runs in the first, fourth and eighth for the win. Mississippi’s stellar pitching and Carolina’s potent offensive attack setup a classic ‘Good Pitching Beats Good Hitting’ match up. The Carolina Mudcats had one of the best offenses in the league all season and they tore through the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx in the divisional playoffs. What ensued was one of the greatest playoff series on any level … ever. The M-Braves traveled to Zebulon, NC for game one of the Southern League Championship Series. In a game dominated by Carolina, the Braves rallied to tie the score at four in the eighth inning. Kala Ka’aihue led off the frame with his first home run of the postseason and the two teams were knotted at four. The score remained tied until the top of the 10th. Mississippi native Van Pope drew a two-out walk to get things started. With JC Boscan at the plate, Pope took off for second. Boscan ripped a double down the right field line and Pope scored from
first to give Mississippi its first lead of the game. Valdez then retired the side in order in the bottom of the 10th to earn his first win of the playoffs. The Mudcats defeated the Braves in game two, 6-3 and in game three, 9-3. With the season and the series on the line in game four, the Braves stepped it up a notch. With their backs against the wall and on the brink of elimination, the M-Braves came out swinging in game four. Ka’aihue gave the Braves an early lead with a three-run homer in the first, but the Mudcats answered with a threerun bomb of their own. Mississippi took a 4-3 lead into the eighth, but couldn’t hold it. Manuel Mayorson singled through the right side to start the eighth, and he scored on a double by Cameron Maybin to tie the game at four. The score remained tied at four until the top of the 11th. Scott Cousins ripped a solo home run to give the Mudcats the lead and what everyone thought would be the Southern League Championship. The Braves had other ideas. With the game seemingly over, Jordan Schafer stepped to the plate with one out in the bottom of the 11th. Schafer ripped an opposite field home run that just cleared the top of the left-centerfield wall. Schafer’s blast knotted the score at five and kept the M-Braves hopes alive. KK led off the 13th with a double off the centerfield wall. Robert Marcial came in to run for KK, and he moved to third on an infield single by Schafer. After Javier Guzman was intentionally walked to load the bases, JC Boscan, game one’s hero, stepped to the plate. With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the 13th, Boscan ripped a ground-rule double to centerfield that scored Schafer from third to give the M-Braves the 6-5 win. Boscan was only awarded a single because he was mobbed by his teammates between first and second after his drive forced a decisive game five. After heroics in games one and game four, the M-Braves weren’t expecting an easy road in the fifth and final game. What they did, though, was complete the greatest turnaround in team history by winning the Southern League Championship. The Braves went on top early only to see the Mudcats tie the score. Mississippi then retook
the lead only to watch Carolina tie it up again in the ninth. In the bottom of 10th, JC Holt scored the game-winning run from second base to give the Braves the win and their first Southern League Championship. For the second straight night, the M-Braves took the early lead. With two outs in the bottom of the first, Reid Gorecki shot a single up the middle. Gorecki stole second and scored on a single by Kala Ka’aihue to put Mississippi on top. Also for the second straight night, Lee Mitchell answered Ka’aihue’s run scoring drive with one of his own. With two outs in the inning, Cameron Maybin stole second to move into scoring position. Mitchell then doubled down the left field line to tie the score at one. The M-Braves retook the lead in the fifth. With JC Holt at third, Matt Young broke out of an 0-13 slump with an infield single to second base. Young legged out the single to drive in Holt with the goahead run. After five, Mississippi led 2-1. With the M-Braves three outs from a Southern League Championship, Scott Cousins struck again. Cousins ripped another opposite field home run that tied the game at two in the top of the ninth. On Cousins homer, left fielder Matt Young slammed into the left field wall injuring his hip. The courageous Young could barely walk, but elected to stay in the game. With one out in the bottom of the 10th, Holt shot a single to left field. Young followed with a single to left to put the winning run in scoring position. With Reid Gorecki at the plate, Jeff Gogal threw a wild pitch that allowed both runners to move up a base. Mudcats’ catcher Brad Davis attempted to throw an injured Matt Young out at second, but the ball got away from second baseman Chris Coghlan. Holt raced home to score the game-winning run to give the Mississippi Braves the 2008 Southern League Championship. Just as they had done all season, the M-Braves rallied. They were down, but not out. Their backs were against the wall, and they came out swinging. They saved their best for last. As unlikely as it sounded in April, the Mississippi Braves are the 2008 Southern League Champions. - MSM Mississippi Sports Magazine - 25
DREAM For two local brothers, Brent Leach and Brian Leach are living out there dream on a daily basis. The Brandon natives are both playing professional baseball for a living and their enjoying every minute of it. By JAMES O. COVINGTON Special to Mississippi Sports Magazine
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Brian Leach talking to kids at camp. Photo By Cass Brown
rent Leach (25-years old) is a pitcher for the L.A. Dodgers. Last year he pitched for the Dodgers double-A farm club the Jacksonville Suns before being placed on the team’s 40-man Major League roster in November. His younger brother Brian Leach (22-years old) pitched at Southern Miss last season before the Pittsburgh Pirates selected him in the 2008 MLB Draft, thus making the two brothers a rare Magnolia State pitching combo. “Brent’s really taught me a lot about baseball and how life is going to be like in the minors,” said Brian. “Coming out of high school we both always dreamed of playing pro ball one day. It’s a blessing from God that it’s happened like this.” The Leach brothers are the sons of Jerry and Beverly Leach of Brandon. The pair share similarities, both can throw 95-mph plus heaters and each sports a tall 6’5” frame that intimidates batters. But here’s an oddity, one throws left-handed (Brent) and the other throws right handed (Brian). And then there’s the uncanny path they took to the pros. Brent signed with Southern Miss back in 2002, after transferring to Delta State in 2004, the Dodgers drafted him in the 6th round of 2005 draft. Brian followed Brent to Delta State, signing with the Statesmen in 2005 before transferring to Northwest Community College in 2006 and than signing with USM later that year. The Pirates picked him in the 25th round of last year’s draft. The brother’s held their first annual Leach Brother’s Baseball Camp in Brookhaven in January, teaching the basics of pitching, and other baseball concepts along the way to kids ages 7-15 at beautiful Brookhaven Academy ball park. “It was a lot of fun and we had a lot of good kids there eager to learn more about the game of baseball,” said Brent Leach, who
is currently in Spring Training with the Dodgers. “Anytime you can have a camp and share your knowledge of the game it’s always rewarding. I know when I was young I went to as many as I could.” The Leach brothers shared stories with the campers from their high school days as Brandon Bulldogs to their jump to professional baseball. The kids loved it. “When we were coming out of high school neither of us threw that hard,” said Brian, who admits learning techniques from his older brother Brent played a key role in his success as a pitcher. “We just kept at it and never gave up. Thankfully we both grew a few inches too after high school.” McComb native Alonzo Harris Jr. a minor league second baseman for the New York Mets, and Dandy Dozen catcher Kolby Byrd, a Mississippi State signee assisted the brother’s with the camp. “We want to make it a yearly thing, the camp,” said Brent. “Maybe have it around Jackson too in years to come.” Right now the brother’s are focusing on one thing, and that’s the upcoming season. Brent reported early to Arizona for Spring Training with the Dodgers, hoping to break camp on the team’s 25-man Opening Day roster in April. Brian just reported to Minor League camp with the Pirates in Florida. He is expected to start the year out in single-A, with hopes of breaking into double-A before the year is out. “It’s a long road, but we both love the game of baseball,” added Brian. “That’s what makes it fun. We both have had goals since we were kids of pitching in the Major League’s someday.” And so far the goals just keep getting closer and closer with every throw the brother’s make. - MSM Mississippi Sports Magazine - 27
Mississippians in the “Show” Listed Mississippi natives on Active 40-man Major League Roster’s
Fred Lewis San Francisco Giants
JONATHAN PAPELBON Boston Red Sox
MARCUS THAMES Detroit Tigers
MATT TOLBERT Minnesota Twins
ROY OSWALT Houston Astros
SETH SMITH Colorado Rockies
Jonathan Papelbon – RHP – Boston Red Sox – “His stair down is as intimidating as the 98mph heater he revs up at batters. The MSU Alum will again play a key role for the Red Sox World Series hopes this season.” Roy Oswalt – RHP – Houston Astros – “An All-Star from little Weir, Miss. went 17-10 last year with a 3:54 ERA. He will be the ace of the staff this year.” Matt Tolbert – 2B/SS/3B – Minnesota Twins – “Woodville native and an Ole Miss alum played in 41 games last season as a utility player, drawing starts at second base, shortstop, and 28 - Mississippi Sports Magazine
third. He also played in the Venezuela Winter League this offseason. Twins fans love his quickness and smooth glove.” Seth Smith – OF – Colorado Rockies – “Could be the new star in Colorado now that Matt Holiday is gone. Smith, a Jackson native may fill the role as the Rockies everyday left fielder with a good Spring Training.” Brent Leach – LHP – L.A. Dodgers – “As lefties go he’s a strikeout artist, striking out 50 in 59 innings of work for Double-A Jacksonville last season. Has a fastball that can reach 97mph which makes him a hot commodity.”
Joey Gathright – OF – Chicago Cubs – “This Hattiesburg native is best known for his ‘You Tube’ video clips of jumping over a car, and for also making stellar plays in the outfield too.” Chad Bradford – RHP – Tampa Bay Rays – “Known best for side-arm delivery, Bradford, a Jackson native and USM Alum should provide the Rays with even more bullpen help.” Fred Lewis – OF – S.F. Giants – “Perhaps the best kept secret in the Majors. Lewis, a Wiggins native, hit for the cycle last year and also made several big plays for the Giants defensively.” Paul Maholm – LHP – Pittsburgh Pirates – “MSU Alum with great stuff, and an elusive mound presence, that went 9-9 last year in low octane Pittsburgh.” Cliff Lee – LHP – Cleveland Indians – “This Meridian Community College grad went 22-3 last season as the No. 2 lefty in the Indians rotation. Now he is the No. 1.” Marcus Thames – OF/1B – Detroit Tigers – “A Louisville native, Thames coined the nickname the ‘Louisville Slugger’ for his big hits off imposing pitchers. The Tigers will look for more of that this season.” Bill Hall – 3B – Milwaukee Brewers – “The pride of Nettleton, Miss. Hall hit 15 homers last year after hitting 35 in 06” Taylor Tankersley – LHP – Florida Marlins – “Coming off a dismal 08’ season, Tankersley, a Warren Central product hopes to rebound in a big way.” Terrell Young – RHP – Washington Nationals – “The Grenada native is one of the Nationals top young pitching prospects. A reliever with a plus arm (96mph).” Bob McCrory – RHP – Baltimore Orioles – “A former USM standout McCrory will have to have a strong Spring Training to make the Orioles Opening Day 25-man roster.” Jonathan Van Every – OF – Boston Red Sox – “Minor League vet from Brandon, that was called up by the Red Sox last season that could see more time this year in Boston.” T.J. Beam – RHP - Toronto Blue Jays – “6-foot, 7-inch reliever from Ole Miss that made his MLB debut in 06’ with the Yankees.” Jarrett Hoffpauir – 2B/SS – St. Louis Cardinals – “Born in Natchez, this Southern Miss alum brings a quality glove to the Cardinals infield.” Tony Sipp – LHP – Cleveland Indians – “Gulf Coast Community College grad and a Pascagoula native that has lightning arm on a young Indians staff.”
(Mississippi Natives Invited To Big League Camp) Dmitri Young – 1B/DH – Washington Nationals – “Former big leaguer with the Tigers, Young, a Vicksburg native was named the 2007 National League Comeback Player of the
Year with the Nationals.” Bobby Kielty – OF – New York Mets – “Ole Miss alumnus that won a World Series ring with the Boston Red Sox in 07’. Will be a long shot to make the Mets roster, but does have experience as a pro outfielder.” Corey Wimberly – 2B – Oakland A’s – Alcorn State grad that was picked up by Colorado in 2005, before being traded last month to the Athletics, will contend for the starting second base spot in A’s camp.” Dewon Day – RHP – Tampa Bay Rays – “Madison Central grad that brings a quality slider and 94mph fastball to a team loaded with young arms. Day will have to have a solid Spring Training just be in the mix.”
EIGHT TO WATCH FOR
(Mississippi Minor Leaguers on the Rise) Alonzo Harris Jr. – 2B/OF – New York Mets – “Pound for pound this McComb native is one of the best hitters in the Mets farm system. Led the Low-A Gulf Coast League with a .310 batting average and 5 home runs in 2008.” Aaron Weatherford – RHP – Colorado Rockies – “He was Mississippi State’s closer last year, before the Rockies took this him in the 3rd Round of the 08’ Draft. His electric 98mph fastball and forever guessing split can give batters headaches. Expected to start the season in the Rockies single-A system and could rise fast.” Toddric Johnson – OF – Oakland A’s – This Jackson native, hit 13 homers and belted 24 doubles last season in the Midwest League. Should start the year in double-A.” Wendell Fairley – OF – S.F. Giants – “A hitter blessed with speed and range. Fairley, a George County native was a first round pick by the Giants two years ago. With a good year he could be on the Giants 40-man in 2010.” Cody Satterwhite – RHP – Detroit Tigers - “Struck out 22 batters in 18.1 innings pitched and recorded two saves in single-A Lakeland. The Tigers could have big plans for this Byram native and his deceptive 96mph-plus rocket before the year is up.” Ed Easley – Catcher – Arizona Diamond Backs – “The Olive Branch native and MSU standout was selected by Arizona in the first round of the 07’ draft. He could be on the Diamond Backs list to promote with a big 2009!” Robert Carson – LHP – New York Mets – “Strong-armed lefty that has drawn comparisons to Yankees star C.C. Sabathia with his 95mph plus fastball.” Rashun Dixon – OF – Oakland A’s – “Terry native banged out 8 homers and 10 triples in his first minor league season. Should start the year in low-A, but could be in double-A by season’s end.” Compiled by: JAMES O. COVINGTON
Mississippi Sports Magazine - 29
Rewarded for a job well done Columbus resident Stan Murray officiates Rose Bowl as a reward for a successful season By ADAM MINICHINO THE COMMERCIAL DISPATCH
tan Murray had a feeling the early morning phone call was going to bring good news. But the veteran official had no idea the information he was about to receive was going to allow him to be a part of one of college football’s most storied games. “When (Southeastern Conference supervisor of officials Rogers Redding) told me the Rose Bowl, I absolutely couldn’t believe it,” Murray said of the 8:30 a.m. phone call he recently received at Citizen’s National Bank. “With the history of that game and the setting and everything, it is just about everything you could wish for as far as an experience for an official to have.” For Murray, who was a running back on the Mississippi State football team from 1971-74 and who now lives in Columbus, the opportunity to officiate in the bowl that is known as “The Granddaddy of Them All” is a reward for another fine season. The Jan. 1, 2009, game featured Southern California against Penn State in Pasadena, Calif. Murray will be one of eight officials (seven on the field and one alternate) who will work the game. Murray, who is in his 22nd year as an official in the SEC, will work as back judge.
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The back judge, like all officials, has assigned players to watch. He will look for pass interference and holding. In the kicking game, the back judge will be with the punt receivers. He is responsible for the number of players on defense and he is supposed to count and to confirm the number with the other two deep officials on each play. The back judge also is responsible for the play clock and the goal line on kickoffs. “It has been a great, great experience,” Murray said. “I can’t believe it has gone on for so long. I was real fortunate enough to get in when I did.” I was 34 years old, so that is relatively young to get in. The benefit is I have had a lot of great experiences and a lot of great friendships with the officials over the years.” Murray grew up in Jackson and played football at Mississippi State before he moved to Columbus and eventually got involved with officiating football. A man at the bank he was working at at the time was an official, and he helped get Murray started as an official. “When I quit playing college football, I thought that was it,” Murray said. “I didn’t think about officiating, and I didn’t
realize how officiating was going to be. Just to be a part of the game for as long as I have been and being a part of a crew, it is very much a team process. To be a part of a team and to help each other and to go through tough times together, it is a very rewarding thing.” Murray officiated high school football for six years in the state of Mississippi (his first game was Durant at McAdams in 1980) before he joined the college ranks. He knew when he started officiating high school games that he would pursue opportunities to officiate college games. Murray worked spring and summer practices to prepare himself for the transition from high school to college. The experiences served as his tryouts. He applied to the SEC in 1986 and started doing spring scrimmages in 1987. In the summer of ‘87, a SEC official received a position in the NFL, which allowed Murray to join the conference. “The size and the speed and the complexity of the game was a big jump, and it took me a while to get used to it,” Murray said of the jump from high school to college. “When I started, you could go from high school to SEC officiating. Now an official has to have some small college experience (before they enter the SEC).” Murray said the SEC typically has 60 officials (seven on each of its eight crews). The remaining officials serve as fill-ins for injured officials or on busy weekends. His first bowl game was the Hall of Fame Bowl in Tampa, Fla., in 1994. He has went on officiate in the Humanitarian Bowl, the Sun Bowl, the CarQuest Bowl, the Holiday Bowl, the Orange Bowl, the GMAC Bowl, the Senior Bowl, and a Blue-Gray Game. He also has officiated two SEC Championship Games.
The 2005 Orange Bowl was for the national championship. “An SEC Championship is always a big deal,” Murray said. “The Orange Bowl was for the national championship, so you can’t get any better than that. The Rose Bowl, because of the history of the game (is an honor to officiate). Then it is a great matchup this year, with two traditional powers in Penn State and USC.” Murray will leave for California on Monday. He said he saved vacation time from his job as president of the Citizen’s National Bank on Highway 45 in the event he would receive a bowl assignment. During the regular season, he said he usually can get out of work early Friday afternoon to work most Saturdays. He said the officials typically will drive to games and try to meet up with their crewmates on the ay to the game. Murray said his travel expenses will be paid for and he will receive a game fee. His hope is that he and his crew will have a great experience at the Rose Bowl and that the game turns out like one of his most memorable moments. In the 2007 regular-season finale, Murray and his crew officiated the four-overtime game between Kentucky and Tennessee. The game lasted four hours, 45 minutes and was so enjoyable because it was all about the game, not the officials. Murray said the same concept for baseball and all other sports -- the best games are the ones where the you don’t notice the umpires or officials are there -- is true for officiating college football. “We love it when there is a big game with a lot of emotion, a lot of critical plays and you don’t notice the officials being there,” Murray said. - MSM Mississippi Sports Magazine - 31
Because it isn’t just whether you win or lose, it’s how you play before, during and after the game! By JIM PETERSEN
City of Ridgeland - Director of Sports Marketing
ASA Softball National Championship Tournament - Freedom Ridge Park
ith a wide variety of facilities and attractions, no matter what your interests are, Ridgeland will fill your sporting event needs and provide you with plenty to see and do during your stay. Enjoy miles of splashy shopping, delightful dining at over 130 restaurants, and acrossthe-street access to Mississippi’s capital city. From softball, soccer and tennis to biking and boating, you can find it all in Ridgeland. Named Amateur Softball Association (ASA) National Complex of the Year in 2007, Freedom Ridge 32 - Mississippi Sports Magazine
Park’s softball facility boasts four 300-foot softball fields with temporary fencing, and the complex hosts 15-20 events every year. This spring, don’t miss Belhaven College Softball’s Elite-8, March 6-7, and Belhaven Bash II, March 20-21. The MHSAA Fast-Pitch Championship will also come to Ridgeland for the first time in May, so make your plans now to attend. Freedom Ridge Park also has four regulation-sized soccer fields and the M&F Bank Stadium, which hosts professional and college matches, including the Chicago Fire MLS Exhibition Game
Madison County Chamber Dragon Boat Regatta at the Ross Barnett Reservoir
Chicago Fire Annual MLS Exhibition Game - Freedom Ridge Park
and Mississippi Brilla season-opening match. The Mississippi Fire Juniors Spring Invitational is also played at Freedom Ridge Park. Girls play March 28-29 and boys play April 4-5. Is tennis your passion? With 17 lighted, hard tennis courts, Ridgeland Tennis Center is the largest tennis facility in the state. Many organizations bring their matches to Ridgeland Tennis Center, including the USTA Girls 16’s National Championship, and it is also Southern Section Bullfrog Designated. Don’t miss the Aquafina Tennis Tournament, April 25-26, and make plans now to attend Mississippi’s first USTA Southern Section over-all Championship, beginning fall 2009. Ridgeland is also conveniently located just off the Natchez Trace Parkway. Its beauty and history lure visitors from around the world, and the annual Natchez Trace Century Ride April 11 is just one great way for visitors and locals to enjoy its splendor. For more information visit www.natchezcenturyride. racesonline.com or www.ridgelandms.org. If it’s water you’re looking for, come experience the Ross Barnett Reservoir’s 105 miles of shoreline. The Reservoir is
Practice at the Ridgeland Tennis Center
host to the annual Madison County Chamber Dragon Boat Regatta April 25, as well as many fishing tournaments. It also provides the perfect backdrop for boating, sailing and other water sports. To learn more about the Dragon Boat Regatta, go to www.visitridgeland.com. Our recreational facilities offer a fun and competitive atmosphere for hosting anything from single games to tournaments. Let our staff help you plan, secure room rates and blocks at one of our 13 hotels, provide welcome bags, and service you as needs arise. Make sure to inquire about our $4 room rebate program, offered only to schools, teams and nonprofit organizations. For more information, call (800) 4686078 or visit www.visitridgeland.com. If you’re looking for something to do with your down-time, Ridgeland plays host to a variety of festivals and events year around that are fun for the whole family. Be sure and stop by our Ridgeland Visitors Center at the Renaissance at Colony Park or check out our events calendar at www.visitridgeland. com. - MSM Mississippi Sports Magazine - 33
A R O U N D T H E S TAT E
Step Away from the Computer...
hate college football recruiting season. I always have. For years I’ve been the world’s worst journalist/columnist/reporter come February. I hate covering recruiting. I hate dealing with web site likes Rivals and Scout, wherein teenage boys are given fictitious “stars” to grade their performance. This “grading system” is usually based off of a home video where some obviously talented young man jukes and jives past 15 other half-pint private school kids bound for an insurance degree and a mid-life crisis, but certainly not the next level of football. Against that kind of opposition, every mediocre 2nd team corner seems like a worldbeater, yet every year fans insists that there are 200 new “unstoppable forces at (whatever position) that we (their university of choice as a fan) simply cannot afford NOT to sign.” I have been giving bad information about recruiting for years in casual conversation. Usually I don’t do radio before Signing Day, because I don’t have much to contribute, but if a random fan asks me where so and so’s going, I make it up on the spot. After all, pure fiction is the same as “hard facts” when it comes to the decisions of teenage boys and what they say before the first week of February. The apex of my disgust actually came last season, during the recruitment of Okolona running back Robert Elliot, who ultimately became a Mississippi State Bulldog on signing day. Good for Elliot – he’s a talented kid playing in the SEC now. But that’s the boring part. If you read the Internet, how he apparently got there could be the climax scene in any summer blockbuster. Depending on your persuasion between Ole Miss and MSU, the story takes certain “liberties.” The gist is this – during one afternoon last year, one set of coaches from one school were exiting the home of Elliot’s family at the same time the coaches from the other school were
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By STEVEN GODFERY entering. The two sets of coaches met and talked in the front yard of Elliot’s home. Just about any other detail past those stated above is likely false or a fabrication of one side’s Internet fan base. If you’re a Bulldog and you hate Ole Mi$$ (if you hate a school, you attribute dollar signs in the place of the letter “S” to imply they’re buying players and are in general no good dirty cheaters), Elliot was having a prayer circle meeting with his family and former coach Croom when seven Rebel assistants kicked down the door, knives in hand, and threatened the life of Elliot’s family if he didn’t sign to be a Rebel. When the State coaches calmly pleaded for peace, the incident spilled out into the yard, where Robert Khayat was seen smoking a blunt in a Cadillac Escalade while counting $100 dollar bills. Meanwhile, if you can’t stand M$U and are a good Rebel, you know a guy who knows a guy who saw the whole thing – Sly Croom clothes-lined four elderly women and had three hookers and a brick of weed with a maroon and white bow on it for Elliot, and since Elliot signed with M$U he is obviously a Godless, drugusing evil human being. Before you get your letter writing on, those aren’t MY words, those are the fables of the grand and magical Internet, wherein men who have long since needed to step away from the monitor, take a shower and talk to their children have become entangled in a web of recruiting “tips” that they’re convinced will bring down the entire SEC, state of Mississippi and might be a threat to national security. As insane as all this sounds, most of us interested in the game of college football follow recruiting to some degree. However, the amount of which you’re engrossed is hard to measure. Surely no one wants to become a zombified conspiracy theorist post 200 times a day on a message board. So what are the warning signs? Any use of the personal pronoun “I” is usually a dead giveaway that you’ve gone
too far and need to step back. Specifically, “I was at the local high school basketball game and approached [recruit] and his cousin. Let me tell you guys, I AM SURE this great young man is bound to be a Rebel/Dog/Eagle/Monkey.” What this shows is that your obsession with the school selection of football players has grown to such levels that you feel the need to insert yourself into the process. This is usually the kind of behavior associated with celebrity stalkers and transvestite serial killers, yet you probably 10 grown men at your local church exhibiting such traits. If I’m 17-years-old and sitting at a high school basketball game, my thoughts are likely to be oriented around friends, girls, what’s going on after the game, girls, where I can score some alcohol this weekend to get girls, music and girls. Therefore, if some overwhelmingly creepy middle-aged, tubby stranger comes slithering up to me sporting the hell out of some particular school’s colors and logos and flapping his tongue about “tradition” and “pride” and good I look in the weight room, I’m going to tell him exactly what he wants to hear as fast as humanly possible so that he’ll go the hell away. Quickly. My opinion is not in the minority of journalists and writers. Ask your local media type – they hate February, too. There was a particular backlash this past year by some national sports media pundits that college recruiting had simply become “too much.” However, while I agree that the process seems to become more tainted and scummy every season, college football recruiting season is no more overblown or nauseating than any other peripheral sports event. Maybe I’m getting my back up about the national criticism directed to the South, or maybe I’m partially a recruiting zombie deep down, too, but there are other elements of sports that are as bad or worse. Say, for instance, the NFL Network’s wall-to-wall coverage of the NFL Combine. Hundreds and hundreds of
would-be NFL players assemble to run in straight lines, take their clothes off, and pass a functional literacy test, and THOUSANDS of journalists descend to create news out of this. Remember that scene in “Jurassic Park” where the hot blonde and Jeff Goldblum sort through dinosaur dung to find out what’s killing the triceratops? We’re about three years away from Mel Kiper and his perfect hair breaking down the amount of nitrogen in the feces of an Ohio State running back. Believe it. The same media brass wagging a shameful finger at fans for dissecting the
“pointless attributes of teenagers on the Internet” will file three to four columns in one week about the 40 speed of a possible seventh round long-snapper out of a D-3 school in Montana. Why? Because one day - in like, a decade - he could possibly suit up for a team in the NFC East, wherein the world stops for a Yankee sportswriter consumed with pro ball. So while this kind of desperate, overinvolved mania isn’t limited to recruiting season in the South, we’re still probably the craziest. So here’s a quick litmus test: If you’re reading this now, it’s likely late Spring or early Summer.
Can you name more than three high school juniors (16-year-old rising seniors for the coming season) that are on your team’s radar for Signing Day in 2010? Yes? Step away from the computer. Steven Godfrey makes fun of football fans who live on the Internet, and in doing so spend a lot of time living on the Internet. Go figure. Visit him at www.thegodfreyshow. com
Ole Miss Darius Barksdale, DB, 6-0, 190, Batesville, Miss. (South Panola; Hargrave) -- PREP SCHOOL: Rated the No. 3 safety in the nation by Scout.com ... Listed as the No. 13 prep school player in the nation by Rivals.com ... Coached at Hargrave by Robert Prunty ... HIGH SCHOOL: A Parade and U.S. Army All-America selection ... SuperPrep All-America selection and a first team EA SPORTS All-America pick ... Also earned first team junior All-America honors from EA SPORTS in 2007 ... Named first team AllState by The Clarion Ledger and the Mississippi Coaches Association as a junior and senior ... Named the 2007 Mr. Football by The Clarion-Ledger and to the paper’s Dandy Dozen team ... Rated the No. 9 RB in the nation by Rivals.com in 2008 ... Won four straight 5A state titles at powerhouse South Panola ... Never lost a game in high school ... Set a Mississippi 5A record with 2, 917 yards and 35 TDs as a senior ... Coached in high school by Lance Pogue. Michael Brown, OL, 6-6, 310, Lexington, Texas (High) -- A two-time first team Class 2A All-State pick by the Associated Press Sports Editors and Texas Sports Writers Association ... Two-time first team All-District pick ... A PrepStar All-Region selection ... Rated the No. 46 offensive guard in the nation by ESPN and No. 67 by Rivals.com ... Listed as the No. 73 offensive tackle in the nation by Scout.com ... Graded out at 91 percent with 78 pancakes his senior season ... Tabbed second team Academic All-State as a senior by the Texas High School Coaches Association ... Coached in high school by Jason Holcomb. Ryan Campbell, DB, 6-0, 175, Columbus, Ga. (Carver) -- Earned first team Class 3A All-State honors from the Associated Press, The Atlanta JournalConstitution and the Georgia Sports Writers Association ... A PrepStar All-Region selection ... Rated the No. 50 CB in the nation by ESPN and No. 63 by Scout.com ... A Member of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Super Georgia 150 list ... Helped lead Carver to an 11-3 record and the Class 3A state semifinals as a senior ... Totaled 69 tackles and nine interceptions as a senior ... Coached in high school by Dell McGee. Tyler Campbell, P, 6-2, 210, Little Rock, Ark. (Catholic) -- A PrepStar AllRegion selection ... Named to the Associated Press Arkansas Super Team ... Named to the Arkansas Coaches’ Association All-Star team ... Named to the preseason All-Arkansas team by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette ... Averaged 39.7 yards per punt as a senior and 53.0 yards per punt as a junior ... Helped lead Catholic to an 8-4 record as a senior ... Coached in high school by Ellis Register. Logan Clair, OL, 6-5, 305, Mustang. Okla. (High; Northeastern Oklahoma) -- Already enrolled at Ole Miss and will participate in spring drills ... Earned first team SWJCFC All-Conference honors as a sophomore ... Rated the No. 91 JUCO player in the nation by SuperPrep ... Played for head coach Donnie Bigby at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M ... A threeyear letterwinner in football at Mustang High School.
Raymond Cotton, QB, 6-4, 220, Fort Meade, Md. (High) -- A PrepStar and SuperPrep All-America selection ... Rated the No. 9 player in Maryland and the No. 11 player in the Mid-Atlantic by SuperPrep ... Ranked the No. 11 player in Maryland and the No. 11 dual-threat QB in the nation by Rivals.com ... Listed as the No. 22 QB in the nation by Scout.com and No. 28 by ESPN ... A consensus All-State selection as a senior ... Named All-Anne Arundel County and All-Metro by The Baltimore Sun ... Passed for 2,243 yards and 24 TDs as a senior ... Rushed for another 668 yards and nine TDs ... Coached at Fort Meade by Andrew Smith ... Threw for almost 1,500 yards and 17 TDs and ran for over 600 yards and eight TDs for Faith Academy in Mobile, Ala., as a junior ... Participated in The Elite 11 Quarterback Camp in the summer of 2008. Frank Crawford, DB, 6-1, 170, Miami, Fla. (Gulliver Prep) -- A PrepStar and SuperPrep All-Region selection ... Rated the No. 58 player in Florida by SuperPrep ... Ranked the No. 13 player in Miami by the Miami Herald ... Rated the No. 41 safety in the nation and the No. 88 player in Florida by Rivals.com ... Listed as the No. 30 safety in the nation by ESPN and No. 53 by Scout.com ... Rated the No. 67 player in Florida by the Miami Herald ... Posted six tackles and two interceptions in only two games as a senior due to injury ... Totaled 65 tackles and six interceptions as a junior ... Named first team All-Dade County by the Miami Herald and second team All-State by the Florida Sports Writers Association as a junior ... Helped lead Gulliver Prep to the 2A state championship game as a junior and senior ... Coached in high school by Earl Sims. Craig Drummond, DE, 6-5, 260, Chicago, Ill. (Morgan Park) -- Already enrolled at Ole Miss and will participate in spring drills ... Named to the U.S. Army All-American team ... A PrepStar and SuperPrep All-America selection ... Rated the No. 2 player in Illinois and the No. 13 player in the Midwest by SuperPrep ... Ranked the No. 4 DE and the No. 55 player in the nation by Tom Lemming ... Rated the No. 3 player in Illinois, the No. 7 DE in the nation and the No. 119 player in the country by Rivals.com ... Listed as the No. 7 DE and No. 99 player in the nation by ESPN ... Rated as the No. 13 DE and No. 97 player in the nation by Scout.com ... Totaled 67 tackles and 18 QB sacks as a junior ... Named first team All-City and AllState as a junior by The Chicago Tribune ... Did not play his senior season due to injury ... Coached in high school by Lexie Spurlock. Willie Ferrell, LB, 6-0, 220, Tallahassee, Fla. (Florida A&M High) -- Rated the No. 33 LB in the nation and No. 75 player in Florida by Rivals.com ... Listed as the No. 6 inside linebacker in the country by ESPN ... Ranked the No. 13 LB in the nation by Scout.com ... Earned first team 2B All-State honors from Florida Sports Writers Association as a senior ... Participated in the Offense-Defense All-America Bowl ... A two-time member of the Tallahassee Democrat’s All-Big Bend team ... Totaled over 300 tackles as a junior and senior ... Coached in high school by Ira Reynolds.
Mississippi Sports Magazine - 35
Corey Gaines, DT, 6-1, 280, Tallahassee, Fla. (Godby) -- Named to the U.S. Army All-American team ... A member of the Rivals.com 250 list ... Rated the No. 19 DT in the nation and No. 38 player in Florida by Rivals. com ... A PrepStar and SuperPrep All-Region selection ... Rated the No. 62 DT in the nation by ESPN ... A two-time member of the Tallahassee Democrat’s All-Big Bend team ... Ranked 111th on the Mobile Press Register’s Super Southeast ... Earned first team 3A All-State honors from Florida Sports Writers Association as a senior ... Considered the No. 17 center in the nation by Scout.com ... Named to the Florida Super 75 by the Florida Times Union ... Coached in high school by Shelton Crews. Jesse Grandy, ATH, 5-11, 180, Pine Bluff, Ark. (Dollarway) -- Named to the Orlando Sentinel All-Southern Team ... Named to the Associated Press Arkansas Super Team ... Rated the No. 10 player in Arkansas by Rivals.com ... Named the State Farm Arkansas Class 4A Defensive Player of the Year as a senior ... Rated the No. 82 WR in the nation by ESPN ... Helped lead Dollarway to Class 4A state championship game as a senior ... Picked off eight passes as a senior ... Also played QB where he rushed for 1,800 yards and passed for over 1,000 yards ... Totaled 24 TDs rushing and passing as a senior ... Earned All-State honors from The Arkansas Activities Association as a junior and senior ... Coached in high school by George Shelton. Terrell Grant, WR, 6-3, 200, Cleveland, Miss. (High) -- A PrepStar AllRegion selection ... Named second team All-State by The Clarion-Ledger ... Rated the No. 27 player in Mississippi by Rivals.com ... Listed as the No. 14 player in Mississippi and the No. 52 TE in the nation by Scout. com ... Rated the No. 110 athlete in the country by ESPN ... Caught 35 passes for 481 yards as a senior ... Also rushed 12 times for 198 yards ... Coached in high school by Greg Robinson. A.J. Hawkins, OL, 6-3, 315, Lithonia, Ga. (Martin Luther King) -- Already enrolled at Ole Miss and will participate in spring drills ... Originally signed with Ole Miss in 2008 ... Earned first team Class 5A All-State honors from the Georgia Sports Writers Association .... Rated the No. 22 center in the nation by Scout.com ... Named first team All-Area by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ... Helped lead his team to the Region 2-5A championship as a senior ... Coached in high school by Corey Jarvis. Jamar Hornsby, DB, 6-3, 215, Jacksonville, Fla. (Sandalwood; Florida; East Mississippi C.C.) -- JUNIOR COLLEGE: Named a second team AllAmerican by the National Junior College Athletic Association ... Rated the No. 3 junior college player in the nation by SuperPrep and the No. 29 JUCO player in the nation by Rivals.com ... Earned first team NCJAA All-Region 23 and All-State honors from the coaches ... Totaled 111 tackles, eight passes defended and two interceptions as a sophomore at East Mississippi ... Helped lead the Lions to the school’s first outright division title and a No. 10 national ranking ... Coached in junior college by Buddy Stephens ... FLORIDA: Appeared in the first seven games of the 2007 season and in the Capital One Bowl versus Michigan ... Collected five total tackles, recording one solo tackle in home victories over Western Kentucky and Tennessee ... Notched assisted tackles versus Ole Miss and in back-to-back games against LSU and Kentucky ... Redshirted in 2006 ... HIGH SCHOOL: Participated in the U.S. Army All-American game ... Rated as the No. 3 safety prospect in the country according to Scout.com ... Considered the No. 13 athlete in the country according to Rivals.com ... Listed as No. 22 on the 2006 Rivals.com Florida Postseason Top 100 ... Listed No. 5 on the Florida Postseason Top 100 Hot List on Scout.com ... Caught eight touchdown passes as a senior on offense and recorded 80 tackles with five interceptions on defense ... Recorded 83 tackles and 10 pass break-ups as a junior ... Three-year team captain for football. Stephen Houston, RB, 5-10, 210, West Chester, Ohio (Lakota West) -Rushed for 887 yards and 11 TDs as senior ... Earned All-Great Miami Conference honors from the league’s coaches ... Rated the No. 103 RB in the nation by Scout.com and No. 133 athlete in the country by ESPN ... Rushed for over 1,000 yards as a junior at J.A. Fair in Little Rock, Ark. ... Coached in high school by Larry Cox. Gabriel Hunter, RB, 5-11, 185, Memphis, Tenn. (Kingsbury) -- A PrepStar and SuperPrep All-Region selection ... Named to the 2008 Reebok Tennessee Football Phenoms team ....Considered the No. 7 player in Tennessee by The Knoxville News-Sentinel ... Rated the No. 16 player in Tennessee by SuperPrep ... Considered the No. 12 player in Tennessee 36 - Mississippi Sports Magazine
and No. 41 RB in the nation by Rivals.com ... Ranked the No. 61 RB in the nation by Scout.com and No. 71 by ESPN ... Rushed for over 1,200 yards and 10 TDs as a senior in only five games due to injury ... Ran for a Shelby County record 2,679 yards and 29 TDs as junior ... Named the 2007 Commercial Appeal Best of the Preps Offensive Player of the Year ... Earned USA Today/MaxPreps Player of the Week honors as a junior ... Coached in high school by Duron Sutton. Dele Junaid, DB, 6-3, 195, Sugar Land, Texas (Hightower) -- A second team Class 5A All-State pick by the Associated Press Sports Editors and Texas Sports Writers Association as a senior ... A PrepStar All-Region selection ... Named to the Houston Chronicle’s Top 100 Texas recruits list ... A Touchdown Club of Houston Defensive Player of the Year finalist as a senior ... Earned All-Houston honors from Texas Prep Insider as a senior ... Helped lead Hightower to a 13-1 record and the Class 5A state championship game as a senior ... Recorded 82 tackles, nine passes defended, four fumble recoveries, four interceptions, and three forced fumbles as a senior ... Totaled 66 tackles as a junior ... Coached in high school by Gene Johnson. Artice Kellam, DB, 5-11, 180, Miami, Fla. (Gulliver Prep) -- A PrepStar and SuperPrep All-Region selection ... Rated the No. 30 player in Florida by SuperPrep ... Ranked the No. 10 player in Miami by the Miami Herald ... Listed as the No. 41 safety in the nation by Scout.com, No. 51 by Rivals. com and No. 75 by ESPN ... Helped lead Gulliver Prep to the Class 2A state championship game as a junior and senior ... Earned All-Dade County honors as a senior ... Coached in high school by Earl Sims. Joel Kight, LB, 5-11, 220, Lithonia, Ga. (King) -- A PrepStar and SuperPrep All-Region selection ... Rated the No. 47 outside linebacker in the nation by ESPN and No. 59 by Scout.com ... Listed as the No. 56 inside linebacker in the nation and the No. 57 player in Georgia by Rivals.com ... Named first team Class 5A All-State as a junior and senior by The Atlanta JournalConstitution and Georgia Sports Writers Association ... Also named Class 5A Defensive Player of the Year by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Georgia Sports Writers Association as a junior ... Totaled 114 tackles, 13 TFLs, and three QB sacks as a senior ... Posted 153 tackles, 21 TFLs and eight QB sacks as a junior ... Coached in high school by Corey Jarvis. DeMarcus Knight, LB, 6-2, 230, Morristown, Tenn. (Morristown East) -- A PrepStar and SuperPrep All-Region selection ... Named to the 2008 Reebok Tennessee Football Phenoms team ....Rated the No. 12 player in Tennessee by SuperPrep and the No. 15 player by The Knoxville NewsSentinel ... Posted 67 tackles as a senior despite missing three games ... Named first team All-Northeast Tennessee as a senior ... Considered the No. 13 player in Tennessee and the No. 58 inside linebacker in the nation by Rivals.com ... Listed as the No. 37 middle linebacker in the nation by ESPN and No. 41 by Scout.com ... Totaled 67 tackles as a senior ... Posted 72 tackles, three QB sacks and one interception as a junior ... Recorded 79 tackles, 6 1/2 QB sacks and one interception as a sophomore ... Participated in the Tennessee East-West All-Star game ... Coached in high school by Dwayne Hatcher. Ja-Mes Logan, WR, 6-2, 195, Houston, Texas (Westfield) -- A SuperPrep All-Region selection and rated the No. 84 player in Texas ... Hauled in 40 catches for 793 yards and 12 TDs as a senior ... Earned All-Greater Houston honors from the Touchdown Club of Houston ... Rated the No. 86 WR in the nation by ESPN and No. 124 by Scout.com ... Posted 21 receptions for 325 yards and six TDs as a junior ... Earned All-District 13-5A first team honors as a junior and senior ... A Jerry Rice Wide Receiver of the Year Nominee ... Coached in high school by Corby Meekins. Mike Marry, LB, 6-3, 225, Clearwater, Fla. (Largo) -- A PrepStar and SuperPrep All-Region selection ... Rated the No. 34 LB in the nation and the No. 78 player in Florida by Rivals.com ... Listed as the No. 28 LB in the country by Scout.com ... Earned first team All-Suncoast honors from the St. Petersburg Times as junior and a senior... Also named the Defensive Player of the Year as a junior and senior by the St. Petersburg Times ... Earned second team All-State honors from the Florida Sports Writers Association as a senior .... Totaled 100 tackles and seven QB sacks as a senior ... Posted 152 tackles, four QB sacks, three interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovered as a junior ... Coached in high school by Rick Rodriguez.
Z. Mason, TE, 6-5, 255, Nashville, Tenn. (Christ Presbyterian Academy) -- Rated the No. 2 TE and No. 91 player in the nation by ESPN ... Earned first team Class 2A All-State honors from the Tennessee Sports Writers Association as a senior ... Ranked the No. 13 TE in the country by Scout. com and No. 20 player in Tennessee by Rivals.com ... Posted 35 catches for 464 yards and seven TDs as a senior ... Also rushed for 489 yards and 10 TDs ... A 2008 Class 2A Mr. Basketball finalist ... Average 24 points, 10.5 rebounds and 5.8 blocks per game as a junior ... Garnered more then 30 Division I basketball scholarship offers ... Earned All-State honors in basketball from the Tennessee Sports Writers Association as a junior ... Helped lead basketball team to state tournament as a junior ... Coached in high school by Jay Matthews ... Position coach in high school was former NFL tight end Ernie Conwell. Bobbie Massie, OL, 6-7, 345, Lynchburg, Va., (Liberty Christian Academy; Hargrave) -- PREP SCHOOL: Rated the No. 1 Prep School player in the nation by Rivals.com ... Listed as the No. 13 offensive tackle in nation by Scout.com ... Coached by Robert Prunty ... HIGH SCHOOL: Earned first team All-Conference and All-State honors from the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association ... Rated the No. 27 offensive tackle in the nation in 2008 by Rivals.com ... Participated in the Offense-Defense AllAmerica Bowl ... Coached in high school by Frank Rocco. Emmanuel McCray, OL, 6-4, 280, Jackson, Miss. (Forest Hill) -- A first team All-State pick by The Clarion-Ledger and the Mississippi Coaches’ Association as a senior ... A PrepStar and SuperPrep All-Region selection ... Considered the No. 10 player in Mississippi and the No. 72 offensive tackle in the nation by Scout.com ... Rated the No. 22 player in Mississippi by SuperPrep ... Ranked the No. 25 player in Mississippi and the No. 84 offensive tackle in the nation by Rivals.com ... Ranked the No. 83 offensive tackle in the nation by ESPN ... A Mississippi Coaches’ Association first team All-Region pick as a junior and senior ... Graded at 92 percent as a senior ... Coached in high school by Mario Lane. Korvic Neat, RB, 5-8, 170, Hallandale, Fla. (High) -- A PrepStar and SuperPrep All-Region selection ... Rated the No. 104 player in Florida by SuperPrep ... Considered the No. 17 player in Broward County and the No. 99 player in Florida by the Miami Herald ... Listed as the No. 17 allpurpose back and No. 79 player in Florida by Rivals.com ... Rated the No. 42 athlete in the nation by ESPN ... Rushed for 1,158 yards and 13 TDs on 94 carries as a senior ... Also caught 15 passes for 378 yards and five TDs ... Earned honorable mention All-State honors from the Florida Sports Writers Association and first team All-Broward County honors from the Miami Herald ... Participated in the Under Armor All-American game and Dade/Broward County All-Star game ... Also ran track in high school ... Coached in high school by Dameon Jones. Pat Patterson, WR, 6-3, 215, Macon, Miss. (Noxubee County) -- A Parade and U.S. Army All-American selection ... Named to the PrepStar Dream Team and rated the No. 57 player in the nation ... A SuperPrep All-America selection and a second team EA SPORTS All-America pick ... Rated the No. 1 player in Mississippi and the No. 4 WR and No. 50 overall player in the nation by Rivals.com ... Considered the No. 1 player in Mississippi and the No. 5 WR and No. 48 overall player in the nation by Scout.com ... Named SuperPrep Dixie Offensive Player of the Year and rated No. 14 player in the nation... Earned first team All-America honors from MaxPreps and was ranked the No. 2 WR and No. 24 player in the nation by Tom Lemming ... Rated the No. 14 WR and No. 114 player in the nation by ESPN ... A first team All-State pick by The Clarion-Ledger ... Named Class 4A Offensive Player of the Year and first team All-State by the Mississippi Coaches’ Association as a senior ... A Dandy Dozen pick by The Clarion-Ledger and rated No. 3 on the paper’s Most Wanted List ... Ranked 20th on the Mobile Press Register’s Super Southeast ... Named to the Orlando Sentinel All-Southern Team ... Rated the No. 1 player in Mississippi and the No. 2 WR in the nation by SuperPrep ... Caught 73 passes for 1,287 yards and 19 TDs as a senior ... Posted 72 receptions for 1,424 yards and 18 TDs as a junior ... Helped lead Noxubee County to the 4A state championship as a senior and state runner-up as a junior ... Participated in the 2008 Mississippi/Alabama All-Star game ... Coached in high school by M.C. Miller. Montez Phillips, ATH, 6-3, 190, Oxford, Miss. (Lafayette County) -- A
SuperPrep All-Region selection ... Rated the No. 26 player in Mississippi by SuperPrep ... Listed as the No. 17 player in Mississippi and the No. 66 WR in the nation by Rivals.com ... Ranked as the No. 89 WR in the nation by ESPN ... Considered the No. 16 player in Mississippi and the No. 127 WR in the nation by Scout.com ... A second team All-State pick by The Clarion-Ledger as a senior ... A three-time All-Region pick and the Region 2-4A Offensive Player of the Year as a senior ... Participated in the 2008 Mississippi/Alabama All-Star game ... Rushed for 559 yards and threw for 732 yards with 18 total TDs as a senior ... Added 958 yards passing and 858 yards rushing with 16 total TDs as a junior ... A two time All-Area pick by the Oxford Eagle ... Coached in high school by Anthony Hart. Andrew Ritter, K, 6-3, 200, Jackson, Miss. (Jackson Academy) -- A first team All-State pick by The Clarion-Ledger and the Mississippi Private School Association ... Rated the No. 11 kicker in the nation by ESPN, No. 13 by Scout.com and No. 15 by Rivals.com ... Connected on 8-of-14 field goal attempts with a long of 58 and four makes of over 50 yards as a senior ... Also averaged 41.5 yards per kick as a punter and 50 of his 51 kickoffs went for touchbacks ... A SuperPrep All-Region selection ... Rated the No. 31 player in Mississippi by SuperPrep ... Coached in high school by Joey Hawkins. Charles Sawyer, DB, 5-10, 180, Miami, Fla. (Coral Park) -- Rated the No. 38 CB in the nation by ESPN and No. 54 by Scout.com ... Earned All-Dade County honors as a senior from the Miami Herald ... Posted 63 tackles and six interceptions as a senior ... Recorded 40 tackles and two interceptions as a junior ... Participated in the Dade-Broward All-Star Game ... Coached in high school by Christ Vagotis. Rodney Scott, RB, 5-9, 195, Cross City, Fla. (Dixie County) -- A PrepStar and SuperPrep All-America selection ... Listed as the No. 12 RB in the nation, the No. 21 player in Florida and the No. 114 player in the nation by Rivals.com ... Ranked the No. 24 RB in the nation by ESPN and No. 41 by Scout.com ... Rated the No. 27 player in Florida and the No. 29 RB in the nation by SuperPrep ... Earned first team 2A All-State honors from the Florida Sports Writers Association ... Named to the Florida Super 75 by the Florida Times Union ... Ranked 61st on the Mobile Press Register’s Super Southeast ... Rushed for 2,017 yards and 27 TDs as a junior ... Added another 1,655 yards and 24 TDs as a senior ... Coached in high school by Brent Wilkerson. D.T. Shackelford, LB, 6-1, 230, Decatur, Ala. (Austin) -- Earned first team All-State honors from the Alabama Sports Writers Association and The Birmingham News as a junior and senior ... PrepStar and SuperPrep AllRegion selection ... Rated the No. 10 player in Alabama and the No. 16 LB in the nation by Rivals.com ... Listed as the No. 20 LB in the nation by ESPN and No. 26 Scout.com ... Earned first team All-Region and All-Area honors ... Ranked No. 6 on The Birmingham News’ Super Senior list ... Ranked 84th on the Mobile Press Register’s Super Southeast ... Named Defensive MVP of the Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Game ... Totaled 89 tackles and 20 TFLs as a senior ... Posted 112 tackles, seven sacks and recovered five fumbles as a junior ... A member of the National Honor Society ... Coached in high school by David Norwood. Tim Simon, RB, 6-2, 210, Cordova, Ala. (High) -- A PrepStar and SuperPrep All-Region selection ... Named to the Orlando Sentinel All-Southern Team as a junior and senior ... Rated the No. 11 player in Alabama by SuperPrep ... Ranked the No. 17 player in Alabama and the No. 34 RB in the nation by Rivals.com ... Rated the No. 32 LB in the nation by Scout.com and the No. 61 RB by ESPN ... Earned first team All-State honors from the Alabama Sports Writers Association and The Birmingham News as a junior and senior ... Named Class 3A Back of the Year by the Alabama Sports Writers Association ... Also named first team All-Metro and Metro Player of the Year by The Birmingham News as a junior and senior ... Ranked No. 6 on The Birmingham News’ Super Senior list ... A runner-up for the 2008 Alabama Mr. Football award ... Rushed for 2,958 yards and 42 TDs as a senior ... Added 1,566 yards and 33 TDs as a junior ... Posted over 1,900 yards and 23 TDs as a sophomore ... Totaled 8,536 rushing yards and 129 TDs in high school ... Ranks third in Alabama history in rushing yards ... Averaged 11.1 yards per carry in high school ... Posted 130 tackles, 11 TFLs and four interceptions on defense as a senior ... Coached in high school by Pete Bush. Eric Smiley, DL, 6-5, 280, West Helena, Ark. (Central) – A PrepStar and Mississippi Sports Magazine - 37
SuperPrep All-Region selection ... Rated the No. 9 player in Arkansas by SuperPrep ... Rated the No. 22 DT in the nation by Tom Lemming and ESPN ... Listed as the No. 12 player in Arkansas and the No. 84 defensive tackle in the nation by Rivals.com ... Recorded 65 tackles and nine QB sacks as a senior ... Posted 73 tackles and 14 QB sacks as a junior ... An All-District selection as a senior ... Coached in high school by Russell Smith. Evan Swindall, C, 6-3, 285, La Fayette, Ga. (High) -- Earned first team class 3A All-State honors from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution ... Rated the No. 19 center in the nation by Rivals.com ... Named to the Chattanooga Free-Press Dynamic Dozen team ... An All-North Georgia selection and All-Region 3-6A pick ... Earned All-Metro honors from The Birmingham News at Spain Park as a junior .... Also earned All-Region honors as a sophomore ... Coached in high school by his father Perry Swindall. Mike Thomas, DT, 6-4, 245, Mobile, Ala. (St. Paul’s Episcopal) -- A PrepStar and SuperPrep All-Region selection ... Rated the No. 24 player in Alabama by SuperPrep ... Ranked the No. 47 DE in the nation by Rivals.com,
No. 76 by Scout.com and No. 88 by ESPN Posted 110 tackles, 17 TFLs, and 8.5 QB sacks as a junior ... Helped lead St. Paul’s to the Class 5A state championship as a junior ... Coached in high school by Mike Bates. Cameron Whigham, DE, 6-3, 230, Snellville, Ga. (Shiloh) -- Totaled 85 tackles, 19 TFLs and seven QB sacks as a senior ... Added 79 tackles, 17 TFLs and seven QB sacks as a junior ... Rated the No. 166 DE in the nation by ESPN ... A Member of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Super Georgia 150 list ... Coached in high school by Nick Davis. Alex Williams, DE, 6-4, 215, Tallahassee, Fla. (Florida A&M High) -Named first team All-State by Florida Sports Writers Association as a junior and senior ... A SuperPrep All-Region selection and rated No. 77 player in Florida ... Recorded 19 QB sacks both his junior and senior seasons ... Rated the No. 34 DE in the nation by ESPN, No. 50 by Rivals.com and No. 78 by Scout.com ... Averaged 19 points per game in basketball as a junior ... Brother, Boo, played for Houston Nutt at Arkansas and in the NFL ... Coached in high school by Ira Reynolds.
Miss. State 2009 Johnthan Banks, DB, 6-2, 170, Maben, Miss. (East Webster) HIGH SCHOOL: Considered the No. 63 “athlete” prospect in the country by national recruiting web site Rvials.com . . . That site also regarded him as the No. 23 prospect in the state of Mississippi . . . Rated the No. 69 safety prospect in the country by national recruiting web site Scout.com following his senior season . . . Credited with running a 4.6 in the 40-yard dash by national recruiting web site ESPN.com . . . Named second-team, all-state in all classifications at linebacker by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger following his senior season . . . Rated with the top 40 high school prospects in the state of Mississippi by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger following his senior season . . . Accounted for 1,740 yards of total offense and 17 touchdowns while playing quarterback for head coach Jimmy Carden at East Webster High School in Maben, Miss. . . . Also starred on the defensive side of the ball, making 35 tackles and seven pass interceptions during his senior season . . . As a junior, he rushed for 16 touchdowns as a running back and recorded two pass interceptions in the defensive secondary . . . Once returned three punts for touchdowns in a single game for the Wolverines . . . Played for his high school varsity team since the eighth grade . . . Led his prep baseball team to state championships in Class 1-A during his freshman and junior campaigns . . . Also played basketball on the high school level . . . Committed to Mississippi State in April 2008. Leon Berry, WR, 6-1, 185, Griffin, Ga. (Griffin/East Mississippi CC) JUNIOR COLLEGE: Listed No. 10 on Super Prep Magazine’s ranking of the top junior college prospects in the country in its post-season All-America issue, the third-best wide receiver mentioned . . . Named second-team junior college all-America by the National Junior College Athletic Association . . . Two-time first-team, all-Region XXIII selection as a return specialist . . . Two-time, first-team, all-state at wide receiver . . . Rated #6 on the Jackson Clarion-Ledger list of the state’s top junior college prospects following his sophomore season, the top true wide receiver on the list . . . Caught 59 passes for 1,003 yards, a 17.0-yard average, and nine touchdowns during his junior college career at East Mississippi Community College for head coach Buddy Stephens . . . Also returned 43 kickoffs for 1,126 yards, a 26.2-yard average, and two touchdowns, during his JC career . . . Also credited with 10 punt returns for 129 yards and another score . . . Ranked 13th nationally in receiving, he caught 39 passes for 661 yards, a 16.9yard average, and five touchdowns during his sophomore season . . . Also led the Mississippi Association of Junior and Community Colleges with 19 kickoff returns for 485 yards, a 25.5-yard average, and another TD . . . Also had all 10 career punt returns for 129 yards and one touchdown during his final JC campaign . . .Caught 20 passes for 342 yards, a 17.1-yard average, and four touchdowns during his freshman season at EMCC . . . Also returned 24 kickoffs for 641 yards, a 26.7-yard average, and another touchdown . . . Helped East Mississippi Community College to an 8-2 record and national No. 10 ranking as a sophomore. Josh Boyd, DL, 6-3, 275, Philadelphia, Miss. (Philadelphia) HIGH SCHOOL: Selected to play for the East squad in the U.S. Army AllAmerica Bowl game in San Antonio, Texas . . . After a week of practice in 38 - Mississippi Sports Magazine
which he caught scouts’ attention, he had four tackles in the all-star game . . . Rated the No. 12 defensive tackle prospect in the country by national recruiting web site Scout.com . . . Credited with running a 4.85-second 40-yard dash and a 385-pound bench press by that web site . . . That service also says he has a 560-pound squat . . . Listed No. 15 on national recruiting web site Rivals.com ranking of the nation’s top defensive tackle prospects . . . Listed No. 23 on Super Prep Magazine’s ranking of the top defensive linemen in the country in its post-season All-America issue . . . Ranked No. 5 on the Jackson Clarion-Ledger’s list of the 10 most wanted high school prospects in the state of Mississippi, the top-ranked interior defensive lineman on the list . . . Rated No. 6 on Rivals.com ranking of the state of Mississippi’s top prospects, the highest listed defensive tackle . . . Named first-team, all-state on the defensive line by the Jackson ClarionLedger newspaper for all classifications . . . Called the state’s most highly sought after interior defensive lineman by that publication . . . Chosen to play in the Mississippi-Alabama High School All-Star game following his senior season . . . Helped head coach Teddy Dyess Philadelphia (Miss.) High School team to a 9-3 record during his senior campaign and into the second round of the state playoffs . . . Posted 112 tackles during his senior season, with seven quarterback sacks and six other tackles for loss . . . Also credited with three fumble recoveries and a blocked kick . . . Selected to the G&W Recruiting Report’s Pre-season Top 250 prospects nationally, one of the top 50 defensive ends on the list . . . Selected to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger Dandy Dozen, symbolic of being one of the top 12 players in the state of Mississippi . . . Named first-team, all-state in the Class 3A division by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, second-team all-state in all classifications, following his junior season . . . Made 154 tackles, including 27 for loss, and eight quarterback sacks during his junior season for head coach Teddy Dyess at Philadelphia (Miss.) High School . . . Also blocked two punts and two extra-points in that junior year . . . Other top scholarship offers: LSU, Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Florida State, Michigan and Miami . . . Committed to MSU in July 2008. Sean Brauchle, PK, 5-9, 175, Biloxi, Miss. (Mercy Cross/Mississippi Gulf Coast CC) JUNIOR COLLEGE: Listed No. 100 on Super Prep Magazine’s ranking of the top junior college prospects in the country in its post-season All-America issue, the second-best place-kicker mentioned . . . Two-time junior college all-America . . . Earned first-team, all-America honors by the National Junior College Athletic Association . . . Also selected first-team, all-Region XXIII place-kicker by the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges . . . Named one of the top 25 junior college prospects in the state of Mississippi by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, the only place-kicker on the list . . . Led Gulf Coast to back-to-back state junior college titles and a 22-2 overall record . . . Connected on 14-of-19 field goal attempts, including a season-long and school-best 55-yarder, and 55 of 57 points after touchdown during his sophomore season . . . His 97 total points led the nation’s junior college in that category . . . Named pre-season, firstteam, all-America by the National Junior College Athletic Association prior to his sophomore season . . . Earned first-team, all-America by both the
NJCAA and the JC Gridwire . . . Made 19-of-25 field goal attempts as a freshman place-kicker for head coach Steve Campbell at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College . . .. . . Made a then-school record 52-yard field goal . . . Helped the Bulldogs to a 12-0 overall record and a share of the national junior college championship . . . Other top scholarship offer: Hawaii. Chad Bumphis, WR, 5-10, 193, Tupelo, Miss. (Tupelo) HIGH SCHOOL: Selected to play in the Offense-Defense All-America Bowl game following his senior season . . . Ranked No. 4 among the most impressive 15 players on the West squad for his practice work and game performance that week . . . Was called the “star of most of the practices” during the week . . . Listed as the No. 16 wide receiver available in the country by national recruiting web site Rivals.com . . . That site had him rated as the 109th-best prospect, regardless of position, in the country . . . Ranked as the No. 3 prospect in Mississippi by Rivals . . . Listed No. 23 on Super Prep Magazine’s ranking of the top wide receivers in the country in its post-season All-America issue . . . Rated the No. 33 wide receiver prospect in the country following his senior season by national recruiting web site Scout.com . . . Credited with running a 4.4-second, 40-yard dash and a 34-inch vertical jump by that site . . . Ranked No. 2 on the ClarionLedger’s list of the 10 most wanted high school prospects in the state of Mississippi . . . Ranked No. 5 on ESPN.com’s list of the state’s top players . . . Chosen to play in the Mississippi-Alabama High School All-Star game . . . Selected first-team, all-state by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger newspaper as an all-purpose back after his senior year . . . Named to that newspaper’s Dandy Dozen prior to his senior season, symbolic of being one of the top 12 players in the state of Mississippi . . . During his career, he had 2,034 receiving yards, 1,348 rushing yards, and 568 yards passing . . . He also totaled 1,429 yards in returns and scored 10 touchdowns on special teams . . . Accounted for 2,207 yards and 23 touchdowns for head coach Eric Collins at Tupelo (Miss.) High School . . . Rushed for 611 yards and had 617 yards receiving that season . . . Scored seven touchdowns on punt and kickoff returns . . . He also threw for 348 yards and six TDs . . . Hauled in 37 passes for 787 yards and 12 touchdowns during his junior campaign . . . As a sophomore, had 31 catches for 630 yards, a 20.3-yard average, and five touchdowns . . . Other top scholarship offers: Alabama, Florida, LSU, Kentucky, Tennessee, Auburn, Ole Miss, Oklahoma and Texas Tech . . . Committed to Mississippi State in January 2009. Montrell Conner, RB, 6-2, 215, Monroe, La. (Ouachita Parish) HIGH SCHOOL: Selected to play in the Under Armour All-America Bowl in Orlando, Fla., following his senior season . . . Ranked as the No. 16 “athlete” in the country by recruiting web site Rivals.com, the No. 11 prospect, regardless of position, in the state of Louisiana . . . He was the top-ranked athlete in the state by Rivals.com . . . Listed No. 20 on Super Prep Magazine’s ranking of the top running backs in the country in its post-season All-America issue . . . Selected to the G&W Recruiting Report’s Pre-season Top 250 prospects nationally, one of the top 25 defensive back/athletes on the list . . . Rated the No. 31 running back in the country by Scout.com, which also credited him with running a 4.4 in the 40-yard dash . . . Considered the No. 34 running back in the nation by national recruiting web site Rivals.com . . . Picked as the No. 18 prospect in the state of Louisiana regardless of position by that web site, the No. 2 “athlete” in their ranking . . . Named first-team, Class 5A all-state following his senior season for head coach John Carr at Ouachita Parish High School in Monroe, La. . . . Rushed for 1,961 yards and 19 touchdowns as a senior . . . Rushed 205 times for 1,139 yards, a 5.6-yard per carry average, and 13 touchdowns during his junior season . . . Scored nine more touchdowns on receptions and returns . . . Solid high school student with a 3.0 grade point average . . . Other top scholarship offers: Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Oregon, Southern California, Oklahoma, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Miami, and Colorado . . . Committed to MSU in August 2008. Fletcher Cox, DL, 6-4, 240, Yazoo City, Miss. (Yazoo City) HIGH SCHOOL: Rated the No. 5 weak side defensive end in the country by national recruiting web site Rivals.com . . . That site credits him with the second-fastest first step among all defensive ends and a 4.47 time in the 40-yard dash . . . Rivals moved him among its top 100 players overall in the country in its final post-season ranking . . . He is also considered the No. 2 prospect in the state of Mississippi by Rivals, the top defensive player on the chart . . . Considered the No. 17 defensive end prospect in the country by national recruiting web site Scout.com . . . Listed No.
31 on Super Prep Magazine’s ranking of the top defensive linemen in the country in its post-season All-America issue . . . Named first-team, all-state on the defensive line by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger newspaper for all classifications . . . Ranked No. 4 on the Clarion-Ledger’s list of the 10 most wanted high school prospects in the state of Mississippi, the top defensive lineman on the list . . . Also selected to that newspaper’s Dandy Dozen list, symbolic of being one of the top 12 high school players in Mississippi . . . Made 104 total tackles during his senior season, including 10 quarterback sacks . . . Also had one pass interception and a fumble recovery . . . Chosen to play in the Mississippi-Alabama High School All-Star game following his senior season for head coach Tony Woolfolk at Yazoo City (Miss.) High School . . . Selected to the G&W Recruiting Report’s Pre-season Top 250 prospects nationally, one of the top 56 offensive and defensive linemen on the list . . . During his junior campaign, he had 103 total tackles, including 11 quarterback sacks and two pass interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown . . . Other top scholarship offers: LSU, Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss and Colorado . . . Committed to MSU in April 2008. Billy Hamilton, WR, 5-10, 170, Taylorsville, Miss. (Taylorsville) HIGH SCHOOL: Selected to play in the Mississippi-Alabama High School All-Star game following his senior campaign . . . Named first-team, allstate as an all-purpose back by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger . . . Rated with the top 40 high school prospects in the state of Mississippi by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger following his senior season . . . Credited with running a 4.4 in the 40-yard dash by the national recruiting web site Rivals.com . . . Excelled at wide receiver, free safety and as a kick returner for head coach Bud Blackledge at Taylorsville (Miss.) High School . . . Helped lead the Tar Tars to the Class 2A state title game as a senior . . . Finished second in the state in 2A with 49 receptions for 742 yards, a 15.1-yard average, and led all 2A receivers with 18 touchdown catches as a senior receiver on offense . . . Had 68 tackles and was second among all Class 2A defensive backs with seven interceptions . . . Had 1,362 all-purpose yardage . . . Outstanding three-sport athlete who was a Dandy Dozen selection in basketball by the Clarion-Ledger, symbolic of being one of the top 12 basketball players in Mississippi . . . Also considered a potential high draft pick in the Major League Baseball draft . . . Other top scholarship offer: LSU and Ole Miss (both baseball) . . . Committed to MSU in December 2009. Brandon Heavens, WR, 5-10, 170, Bessemer, Ala. (Jess Lanier) HIGH SCHOOL: Rated the No. 33 “athlete” in the country by national recruiting web site Rivals.com . . . That site also has him listed as the No. 15 prospect in Alabama, regardless of position, the top “athlete” listed and the second-best wide receiver . . . Played in just five games during his senior season for Jess Lanier, a campaign cut short by a high ankle sprain injury . . . Still caught 14 passes for 330 yards, a 23.6-yard average, and five touchdowns . . . Also rushed 21 times for 136 yards, a 6.5-yard per carry average . . . Had transferred to Lanier following his junior season at Bessemer Academy . . . Selected to the Birmingham News newspaper Super Senior list prior to his senior season . . . Led Bessemer Academy to back-to-back 13-0 records during his sophomore and junior seasons . . . Named first-team, all-state by the Alabama Independent Schools Association following his junior season at Bessemer Academy and selected to the Birmingham News Super Metro team for all classifications as a wide receiver . . . Was selected the state of Alabama Back of the Year after accounting for 3,119 all-purpose yards as a junior . . . Rushed for 730 yards, had 1,236 yards receiving, and more than 1,000 yards in punt and kickoff returns during that junior campaign . . . Scored 22 touchdowns . . . Credited with running a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash by national recruiting web site Scout.com . . . Also a standout on his high school basketball team . . . Other top scholarship offers: Alabama, Tennessee, Auburn and Kentucky. Mardrecas Hood, WR, 6-3, 180, Reform, Ala. (Pickens County) HIGH SCHOOL: Rated as the No. 65 “athlete” in the country by national recruiting web site Rivals.com . . . That site also listed him No. 32 in the state of Alabama, the No. 2 “athlete” in the state . . . Named first-team, Class 2A all-state by the Alabama Sports Writers Association following a standout senior season . . . That organization also selected him as the runner-up for that division’s Mr. Football . . . Named to the Tuscaloosa News Super 11, symbolic of being one of the top 11 players in that newspaper’s area . . . Made 39 pass receptions for 1,057 yards, a 27.1-yard average per catch, and 19 touchdowns during his senior season at Pickens County High School in Reform, Ala. . . . Recorded 45 tackles on defense Mississippi Sports Magazine - 39
during that senior campaign . . . Led Pickens County to an 11-1 record in 2008 . . . Named honorable mention all-state by the ASWA following an injury-plagued junior campaign for the Tornadoes . . . Missed four games that year with an ankle injury . . . Had 16 receptions for 505 yards, a 31.6-yard average, and six touchdowns . . . Also had one rushing TD . . . Defensively, he had 39 tackles and four pass interceptions . . . Had 833 receiving yards and nine touchdowns as a sophomore . . . Also an outstanding basketball player on the high school level, leading his prep team to back-to-back state quarterfinal appearances . . . Other top scholarship offer: Alabama . . . Committed to Mississippi State in February 2009. Heath Hutchins, P, 6-2, 215, Saltillo, Miss. (Saltillo/Itawamba [Miss.] Community College) JUNIOR COLLEGE: Listed No. 70 on Super Prep Magazine’s ranking of the top junior college prospects in the country in its post-season AllAmerica issue, the second-best punter mentioned . . . Punted 93 times for a 44-yard average during his two seasons as a junior college punter . . . Selected first-team, junior college all-America punter by the National Junior College Athletic Association . . . Chosen first-team, All-Region XXIII punter by the NJCAA . . . Named pre-season All-America prior to his sophomore campaign . . . Named one of the top 25 junior college prospects in the state of Mississippi by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, the only punter on the list . . . Led the nation in punting during his sophomore campaign, averaging 46.1 yards on 69 kicks, with a season-best 69-yard boot . . . Had a string of six straight games during his sophomore season in which he pinned the opponent inside the 2-yard line, and 25 of 42 inside the 20 for the year . . . Also handled the kicking duties the final five games of that season and missed just one field goal . . . Named all-state by the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges following his freshman season . . . Led the state of Mississippi and ranked sixth nationally in punting as a freshman, averaging 41.8 yards per punt . . . Had a season best 57-yarder during his first JUCO season . . . Thirty of those 55 punts came to rest inside the opponent 20-yard line . . . Played for head coach Jeff Terrill at Itawamba (Miss.) Community College . . . Also an outstanding student in the junior college classroom . . . Committed to MSU in November 2008. Gabriel Jackson, OL, 6-4, 295, Liberty, Miss. (Amite County) HIGH SCHOOL: Ranked as the No. 52 offensive tackle prospect in the country by recruiting web site Scout.com . . . Considered the third-best offensive lineman in Mississippi by Scout.com, which credits him with a 5.1-second time in the 40-yard dash . . . Rivals.com has him ranked as the No. 85 offensive tackle prospect in the nation . . . That site also has him ranked as the No. 28 prospect in the state of Mississippi, the fourth-best offensive lineman on the chart . . . Rated with the top 40 high school prospects in the state of Mississippi by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger following his senior season . . . Has started both ways at tackle since his freshman season . . . Other top scholarship offers: LSU, Auburn, and Ole Miss . . . Solid 2.8 grade point average in the high school classroom . . . Committed to MSU in July 2008. Maurice Langston, DB, 5-10, 185, Meridian, Miss. (Northeast Lauderdale/East Central [Miss.] CC JUNIOR COLLEGE: Listed No. 24 on Super Prep Magazine’s ranking of the top junior college prospects in the country in its post-season All-America issue . . . Named first-team all-Region XXIII and first-team, all-state by the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges as a wide receiver for head coach Steve Cheatam at East Central (Miss.) Community College . . . Also named first-team, all-Region as a return specialist . . . Rated #3 on the Jackson Clarion-Ledger list of the state’s top junior college prospects following his sophomore season . . . Led the nation in touchdowns, scoring 21 as a sophomore as both a kick returner and wide receiver . . . Caught 44 passes for 658 yards, a 15-yard average, and seven touchdowns . . . Also rushed 54 times for 267 yards and 10 more TDs . . . Averaged 31 yards per punt return during his sophomore campaign for the Warriors, leading the nation in that category, and scoring two touchdowns . . . Added 22 yards per kickoff return and another score . . . Credited with running a 4.4 in the 40-yard dash by recruiting web site Scout.com . . . Committed to MSU in December 2008 . . . Other top scholarship offer: Kentucky. ARKANSAS STATE: Redshirted his true freshman season as a defensive back. Cameron Lawrence, DB, 6-2, 205, Coldwater, Miss. (Magnolia Heights) 40 - Mississippi Sports Magazine
HIGH SCHOOL: Rated the No. 50 “athlete” prospect in the country by national recruiting web site Rivals.com . . . That site also listed him as the No. 15 recruit in the state of Mississippi, the third-best defensive back on the chart . . . National recruiting web site Scout.com rates him the No. 84 safety prospect in the country . . . Named second-team, all-state in all classifications at linebacker by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger following his senior season . . . That newspaper listed him among their Dandy Dozen prior to his senior season, symbolic of being one of the top 12 players in the state . . . Rated with the top 25 high school prospects in the state of Mississippi by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger following his senior season . . . Credited with running a 4.66 40-yard dash at the New Orleans Scout.com combine prior to his junior season . . . Also credited with a 265-pound bench press by Scout.com . . . Selected to the Mississippi Association of Private Schools all-star team following his senior campaign and captained the North squad . . . Helped lead coach Cliff Young’s Magnolia Heights’ team to a 22-2 record during his final two seasons of football, playing both quarterback and defensive back . . . Accounted for 1,854 yards during his junior season and scored 26 touchdowns as a quarterback on offense . . . Also amassed 138 tackles and four pass interceptions while playing defense . . . Named all-state by the Mississippi Private School Association following that junior campaign . . . Helped Magnolia Heights win a state title during his sophomore season . . . Also ran track for the Chiefs, finishing second in the state in the 300 meter hurdles . . .Helped lead the school’s baseball team to a state runner-up finish as a sophomore . . . Outstanding student in the high school classroom with a 3.7 grade point average . . . Other top scholarship offers: Oklahoma State and Duke . . . Committed to MSU in March 2008. Johnathan McKenzie, DL, 6-4, 235, Starkville, Miss. (Starkville Academy) HIGH SCHOOL: Named first-team, all-state in all classifications at tight end by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger newspaper . . . Rated with the top 40 high school prospects in the state of Mississippi by the Jackson ClarionLedger following his senior season . . . Chosen first-team, all-state by the Mississippi Private Schools Association . . . Named to the MPSA All-Star game as a senior . . . Was named the Defensive Most Valuable Player of the North squad in that game . . . Credited with running a 4.9 in the 40-yard dash by national recruiting web site Rivals.com . . . That site also credits him with a 315-pound bench press . . . Two-way player who also starred at defensive end for head coach Brian Sims at Starkville (Miss.) Academy . . . Had 27 pass receptions for 473 yards, a 17.5-yard average, and six touchdowns during his senior campaign . . . Had 13 quarterback sacks while playing defense . . . Also an all-state performer on the Starkville Academy basketball team . . . Outstanding student in the high school class room with a perfect 4.0 grade point average . . . Committed to Mississippi State in December 2008. Pernell McPhee, DL, 6-4, 270, Pahokee, Fla. (Pahokee/Itawamba [Miss.] CC) JUNIOR COLLEGE: Listed No. 21 on Super Prep Magazine’s ranking of the top junior college prospects in the country in its post-season All-America issue . . . Two-time junior college all-America who led the state’s junior colleges in quarterback sacks as both a freshman and sophomore, totaling 33 sacks during his junior college career . . . Earned first-team junior college all-America recognition by the National Junior College Athletic Association following a star-studded sophomore season for head coach Jeff Terrill at Itawamba (Miss.) Community College . . . Two-time all-state and all-Region XXIII player . . . Named first-team, All-Region XXIII at defensive end . . . Rated #2 on the Jackson Clarion-Ledger list of the state’s top junior college prospects following his sophomore season, the top defensive lineman on the list . . . Totaled a nation-leading 13.5 quarterback sacks during that sophomore season and 23.5 tackles for loss . . . Named firstteam, pre-season junior college all-America by the National Junior College Athletic Association and J.C. Gridwire Magazine prior to his sophomore campaign . . . Earned second-team all-America by the NJCAA and J.C. Gridwire following his freshman season at ICC . . . Totaled 67 tackles that season and led the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges with 19.5 quarterback sacks during that first season . . . Also had 37 tackles for loss . . . Other top scholarship offers: Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan, Kansas State and West Virginia . . . Committed to MSU in July 2008. LaDarius Perkins, RB, 5-10, 195, Greenville, Miss. (St. Joseph) HIGH SCHOOL: Selected to play in the Mississippi-Alabama High School All-Star game . . . Ranked as the No. 37 all-purpose back in the country
by national recruiting web site Rivals.com . . . That site also has him listed as the No. 24 prospect in Mississippi following his senior season . . . Rivals credits him with a 4.4-second time in the 40-yard dash and with a 330-pound bench press . . . Rated as the No. 77 running back in the country by national recruiting web site Scout.com . . . Named second-team, all-state in all classifications at running back by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger newspaper . . . Earned first-team, all-state in Class 1A by the Mississippi Association of Coaches . . . Rushed 139 times for 1,915 yards, an amazing 13.8-yard per carry average, and 29 touchdowns, during his senior season . . . Added another 400 yards receiving and five more scores for head coach Phillip Wasson at Greenville St. Joseph High School . . . Rated with the top 25 high school prospects in the state of Mississippi by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger following his senior season . . . He led St. Joseph to an 8-4 record and into the second round of the state playoffs during his junior season . . . Made 38 tackles and four pass interceptions while playing defense . . . Also a standout in track, he is the Class 1A defending state champion in both the 100 and 200 meters . . . In the 100 meters, he ran a 10.9, breaking a state record that had stood for 30 years . . . Other top scholarship offers: Auburn and BYU . . . Committed to Mississippi State in January 2009. Tyler Russell, QB, 6-4, 200, Meridian, Miss. (Meridian) HIGH SCHOOL: Named to the Parade Magazine All-America team following his senior season . . . Ranked as the No. 12 pro-style quarterback in the country by national recruiting web site Rivals.com . . . That site also has him rated as the No. 8 prospect in the state of Mississippi, the top-rated quarterback . . . Rated the No. 13 quarterback prospect in the country by national recruiting web site Scout.com . . . Listed No. 15 on Super Prep Magazine’s ranking of the top quarterbacks in the country in its post-season All-America issue . . . Named Mr. Football for the state of Mississippi by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger following a banner season . . . Also selected the Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Mississippi . . . Ranked No. 1 on the Clarion-Ledger’s list of the 10 most wanted high school prospects in the state of Mississippi . . . Named first-team, all-state at quarterback in all classifications by that newspaper . . . Led Meridian High School to the Class 5A state championship as a senior . . . Completed 206-of-314 passes (.656) for 3,284 yards, 40 touchdowns and just five interceptions . . . Led his high school team to the Class 5A state championship to culminate his senior season . . . Chosen to play in the Mississippi-Alabama High School All-Star game following his senior season . . . Selected to the G&W Recruiting Report’s Pre-season Top 250 prospects nationally, one of the top 30 quarterbacks on the list . . . Selected to the Clarion-Ledger Dandy Dozen prior to his senior campaign, symbolic of being one of the top 12 players in the state of Mississippi . . . Named second-team, all-state by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger following his junior season . . . Completed 146-of-274 passes (.533) for 2,481 yards, 26 touchdowns and just eight interceptions during an injury-plagued junior season for the Wildcats . . . Also rushed for 514 yards and five TDs as a junior . . . Helped that team to the state semifinals as a junior . . . Led head coach Larry Weems’ Meridian (Miss.) High School team to the Class 5A state championship during his sophomore season and to the state title game during an 11-3 junior campaign . . . Outstanding student on the high school level with a 3.3 grade point average . . . Other top scholarship offers: Alabama and South Carolina . . . Committed to MSU in April 2008. Ricco Sanders, WR, 5-11, 175, Duncan, S.C. (Byrnes) HIGH SCHOOL: Rated the No. 51 wide receiver prospect in the country by national recruiting web site Rivals.com . . . That site has him listed as the No. 19 prospect in the state, regardless of position, the second-best wide receiver . . . Rivals credits him with a 4.4 timing in the 40-yard dash . . . Ranked as the No. 88 wide receiver prospect in the country by national recruiting web site Scout.com . . . Called the No. 2 wide receiver prospect in the state of South Carolina by that web site . . . Selected to the Mobile Press Register’s Super Southeast 120 . . . Helped lead Byrnes to the Class 4A state title following his senior season . . . Caught 42 passes for 765 yards, an 18.2-yard per catch average, and six touchdowns during his senior season for head coach Chris Miller at James F. Byrnes High School in Duncan, S.C. . . . Helped lead the Rebels to the South Carolina state title as a junior, catching seven passes for 89 yards in the championship game . . . Caught 58 passes for 908 yards, a 15.6-yard average, and 13 touchdowns for the year . . . Other top scholarship offers: Florida, Georgia, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State and Kansas . . . Committed to Mississippi State in February 2009.
William Shumpert, RB, 6-0, 238, Fulton, Miss. (Itawamba Agricultural) HIGH SCHOOL: Considered the No. 7 fullback prospect in the country by national recruiting web site Rivals.com . . . That site also listed him as the No. 17 recruit in the state of Mississippi . . . Ranked as the No. 14 fullback prospect in the country by national recruiting web site Scout. com . . . Named first-team, all-state on the defensive line by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger newspaper in all classifications following his senior campaign . . . Rated with the top 25 high school prospects in the state of Mississippi by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger following his senior season . . . Two-way standout who starred at fullback and nose guard . . . Made 96 tackles on the defensive line, he was credited with 31 tackles for loss, including 13.5 quarterback sacks . . . Also rushed 56 times for 278 yards, nearly 5 yards per carry, with three touchdowns as a running back . . . Added five pass receptions for 81 yards and another score . . . Chosen to play in the Mississippi-Alabama High School All-Star game following his senior season . . . Rated the No. 13 high school fullback prospect in the country by recruiting web site Rivals.com . . . Named the Defensive Player of the Year by the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal for his work on the defensive line for head coach Jamie Mitchell following his junior season . . . Earned Division I-4A all-region by the Mississippi Association of Coaches following his junior season . . . Other top scholarship offer: Ole Miss . . . Committed to MSU in July 2008. Deontae Skinner, LB, 6-1, 234, Macon, Miss. (Noxubee County) HIGH SCHOOL: Ranked as the No. 28 strong linebacker prospect in the country by national recruiting web site Scout.com . . . Listed as the No. 39 weak side linebacker in the country by national recruiting web site Rivals. com . . . That site also rates him the No. 19 player, regardless of position, in the state of Mississippi, the top-ranked linebacker on the chart . . . Credited with a 305-pound bench press and running a 4.7 in the 40-yard dash by Rivals . . . Named first-team, all-state on the defensive line by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger newspaper in all classifications following his senior campaign . . . Rated with the top 25 high school prospects in the state of Mississippi by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger following his senior season . . . Played defensive end as a senior for head coach M.C. Miller at Noxubee County in Macon, Miss. . . . Led his prep team to the Class 4A championship as a senior . . . Made 134 total tackles, including 28 tackles for loss, 11 of which were quarterback sacks . . . Also credited with two forced fumbles . . . Chosen to play in the Mississippi-Alabama High School AllStar game following his senior season . . . Helped lead Noxubee County to the state title game as a junior . . . Made 122 total tackles, including five quarterback sacks, during his junior season at Noxubee County High School in Macon, Miss. . . . Other top scholarship offer: Ole Miss . . . Committed to MSU in July 2008. Darius Slay, DB, 6-0, 175, Brunswick, Ga. (Brunswick) HIGH SCHOOL: Rated the No. 116 running back prospect in the country by national recruiting web site Scout.com, in part because he missed half his junior season with a torn medial collateral ligament in his knee . . . Timed at 4.37 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the Jacksonville Scout. com combine . . . Also measured a 37-inch vertical jump . . . Named allstate at defensive back by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper . . . Chosen to play in the state of Georgia North-South High School all-star game at Columbus, Ga. . . . Accounted for 1,300 yards offensively and 15 touchdowns, and had six interceptions on defense, returning two for touchdowns during his senior campaign for head coach Victor Floyd at Brunswick (Ga.) High School . . . Rushed 78 times for 526 yards, a 6.7yard per carry average, and six touchdowns in five games during his injury plagued junior campaign . . . Rushed 142 times for 1,127 yards, a 7.9-yard per carry average, and 13 touchdowns during his sophomore season for the Pirates . . . Also had four pass interceptions on the defensive side of the ball . . . As a freshman, he rushed for more than 1,100 yards and 13 touchdowns, and had seven pass interceptions . . . Also a standout in basketball and track, where he ran the 100 and 200 meters . . . Other top scholarship offers: Alabama and Kentucky . . . Committed to Mississippi State in January 2009. Chris Smith, WR, 6-1, 195, Meridian, Miss. (Meridian) HIGH SCHOOL: Rated as the No. 31 wide receiver prospect in the country by national recruiting web site Rivals.com, which included him among its top 250 players nationally . . . That site also considers him the No. 7 high school student-athlete available in the state of Mississippi . . . Listed No. 33 on Super Prep Magazine’s ranking of the top wide receivers in the country in its post-season All-America issue . . . Ranked as the No. 76 wide Mississippi Sports Magazine - 41
receiver prospect in the country by national recruiting web site Scout.com . . . Physical, strong receiver who is credited with a 225-pound bench press maximum by Scout . . . Named first-team, all-state in all classifications at wide receiver by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger following his senior season . . . Rated with the top 25 high school prospects in the state of Mississippi by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger following his senior season . . . Helped lead head coach Larry Weems’ Meridian (Miss.) High School team to a 14-1 overall record and the Class 5A state title as a senior . . . Caught 70 passes for 1,076 yards, a 15.4-yard average, and 10 touchdowns as a senior . . . As a junior, he hauled in 54 passes for 876 yards, a 16.2-yard average per catch, and seven touchdowns . . . Also played soccer, basketball and ran track on the high school level . . . Committed to Mississippi State in April 2008. Dennis Thames, DB, 5-11, 185, Louisville, Miss. (Louisville) HIGH SCHOOL: Considered the No. 20 “athlete” in the country by national recruiting web site Rivals.com . . . That site also has him ranked as the No. 10 prospect in the state of Mississippi, the top “athlete” on the chart . . . Rated as the No. 40 safety prospect in the country by national recruiting web site Scout.com . . . Credited with a 230-pound bench press by Rivals . . . Named first-team, all-state in the defensive backfield by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger newspaper . . . Ranked No. 9 on the ClarionLedger’s list of the 10 most wanted high school prospects in the state of Mississippi . . . Picked to that publication’s Dandy Dozen, symbolic of being one of the top 12 players in the state prior to his senior season . . . Chosen to play in the Mississippi-Alabama High School All-Star game . . . Helped lead head coach Brad Peterson’s Louisville (Miss.) High School to the Class 3A state championship during his senior season . . . Named the game’s Most Valuable Player after scoring all three touchdowns for the Wildcats . . . A star on both sides of the football, he accounted for 1,600 yards on offense and 19 touchdowns, playing mostly wide receiver . . . Had 677 yards rushing and eight touchdowns and another 532 yards and eight more scores . . . Defensively, he made 97 tackles with five pass interceptions and four defensive TDs . . . As a junior, had 39 catches for 636 yards, a 16.3-yard average, and eight touchdowns . . . Other top scholarship offers: Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, Arkansas, Ole Miss, and Michigan . . . Committed to Mississippi State in January 2009. Sam Watts, OL, 6-4, 290, Conyers, Ga. (Salem) HIGH SCHOOL: Rated as the No. 12 offensive center candidate in the country coming out of high school by national recruiting web site Rivals. com . . . That site also listed him No. 50, regardless of position, in the state of Georgia following his senior season . . . Ranked as the No. 66 offensive tackle prospect in the country by national recruiting web site Scout.com . . . Played four years of varsity football at Salem High School in Conyers, Ga., starting the final three seasons of his career on the offensive line for head coach Chad Estes . . . Played offensive guard as a freshman, offensive tackle as sophomore, and center the final two seasons . . . Named all-state during his senior season . . . Helped lead Salem to a pair of regional championships and nine-win seasons as a freshman and junior . . . . Outstanding student in the high school classroom with a 3.96 grade point average, 12th in his senior class . . . Committed to MSU in February 2008.
Chris White, LB, 6-4, 235, Vancleave, Miss. (Vancleave/Mississippi Gulf Coast CC) JUNIOR COLLEGE: Listed No. 29 on Super Prep Magazine’s ranking of the top junior college prospects in the country in its post-season All-America issue . . . Named first-team all-America and first-team all-Region XXIII by the National Junior College Athletic Association following his sophomore season . . . Selected the Mississippi Most Valuable Player in the inaugural Mississippi Bowl, which pitted Mississippi Gulf Coast against Georgia Military Institute, two of the premier junior college programs in the country . . . Rated #7 on the Jackson Clarion-Ledger list of the state’s top junior college prospects following his sophomore season, the top linebacker on the list . . . In addition to being a stalwart on defense for MGCCC in that game, he caught a touchdown pass as a blocking back in a short yardage situation . . . Led his junior college team to back-to-back state junior college championships, making 204 total tackles . . . Had four pass interceptions and four fumble recoveries, returning three for touchdown . . . Helped head coach Steve Campbell’s Gulf Coast team to a 10-2 record and to a No.4 finish in the final NJCAA poll . . . Recorded more than 100 tackles on the season for the Bulldogs . . . Picked up a fumble and returned it 41 yards for a touchdown against Pearl River Community College in the state title game . . . Returned another fumble 81 yards for a score . . . Also intercepted two passes . . . Named first-team pre-season all-America by the National Junior College Athletic Association prior to his sophomore season for head coach Steve Campbell’s Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College team . . . Led MGCCC to the junior college national championship, playing middle linebacker, during his freshman season . . . Totaled 87 tackles for the Bulldogs that year, earning second-team all-state recognition . . . Also had a pair of interceptions and scored two touchdowns . . . Credited with running a 4.52-second 40-yard dash by recruiting web site ESPN.com . . . Other top scholarship offer: South Florida . . . Committed to MSU in August 2008. Nickoe Whitley, DB, 5-11, 195, Jackson, Miss. (Provine) HIGH SCHOOL: Ranked as the No. 80 safety prospect in the country by national recruiting web site Scout.com, in part because he missed most of his senior season with an injury . . . Suffered both a torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligament in his knee two games into his final high school campaign . . . Considered the No. 74 “athlete” in the country by national recruiting web site Rivals.com . . . That site rated him the No. 22 prospect in the state of Mississippi . . . Rated with the top 25 high school prospects in the state of Mississippi by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger following his senior season . . . Credited with running a 4.6-second, 40-yard dash by recruiting web site Rivals.com . . . Standout two-way player in the Jackson high school prep ranks, he started at quarterback and defensive back during his high school career for head coach Willie Collins at Provine High School in Jackson . . . Had accounted for four touchdowns offensively and returned a fumble 55 yards for a score defensively before his senior injury . . . Rushed and passed for 1,701 yards during his junior season while on offense . . . Made 40 tackles with five interceptions as a junior on defense . . . Began his high school career at Murrah High School in Jackson, Miss. . . . Other top scholarship offers: Ole Miss . . . Committed to MSU in June 2008.
Southern Miss. Mujahid Assad 6-1, 184, WR Mobile, Ala. (Williamson HS) Caught 69 passes for 1,100 yards and 13 touchdowns at Williamson High for coach Bobby Parrish … Caught a 9-yard touchdown pass in upset victory over No. 4 Davidson … Finished the game with 11 catches for 115 yards … Returned a kickoff for 95 yards and a touchdown … Captured the 5A state titles in the 100 and 400 meter races last spring … Rated the 91st wide receiver in the country by Rivals.com … A three-star standout by that organization and by Scout.com … Named No. 26-rated athlete out of Alabama by Rivals.com … Participated in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Classic in Mobile last December … Caught 33 passes for 917 yards (28 yards per catch) and 10 touchdowns as a junior. Jacoby Bell 6-3, 210, Athlete Biloxi, Miss. (D’Iberville HS) A two-way player at D’Iberville High for coach Buddy Singleton, playing 42 - Mississippi Sports Magazine
linebacker and tight end for the Class 4A state runners-up … The top ranked tight end in Mississippi and No. 32 overall by Rivals.com … Rated No. 18 in the state of Mississippi … A three-star prospect by both Rivals. com and Scout.com … Registered 122 tackles (74 solo) as a senior for a total of 8.1 per game, along with 31 catches for 603 yards for a 20.3 per catch average and 12 touchdowns … Added 296 yards rushing on 26 carries with a pair of scores ... Caught 20 passes for 523 yards (26.2 average) and 11 touchdowns as a junior … Played in Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic. Chris Campbell 6-2, 180, QB Collierville, Tenn. (Briarcrest Christian HS) A two-star quarterback who ranked as the No. 35 overall player coming out of the state of Tennessee by Rivals.com … Played for Carly Powers at Briarcrest Christian … Threw for 809 yards and four touchdowns as
a senior as his team captured a 7-4 mark … Connected on 66-of-148 attempts with four touchdowns … Passed for 1,100 yards as a junior on 86-of-151 with 11 TDs. Jamie Collins 6-3, 210, ATH Meadville, Miss. (Franklin County HS) Played at Franklin County High School for coach Trent Hammond where he played quarterback as well as a linebacker… A three-star athlete by Rivals.com, who is ranked No. 68 at that position in the country and No. 21 overall in the state of Mississippi … A three-star prospect by Scout.com… Named 1st team All-State by the Clarion Ledger … Selected to play in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star game … Had over 1, 200 yards rushing and 1,000 yards passing while leading his team to the state championship game in 2007 … Led team to the Class 3A State Championship during his first year at quarterback, accounting for over 2, 000 yards of offense and 26 TDs for the 2006 season. Jonathan Guerry 6-4, 290, OL Columbus, Miss. (New Hope, Miss.) A second team All-State selection by the Clarion Ledger and the Mississippi Association of Coaches at New Hope High for coach Michael Bradley … Rated the No. 81 offensive tackle in the country by ESPN.com … Ranked the No. 92 offensive tackle in the country and the 29th overall player in Mississippi by Rivals.com … A three-star prospect by the organization and a two-star by Scout.com … Named All-Area for his play as a junior. Ryan Hanks 6-5, 235, TE Pace, Fla. (Pace HS) An All-Area selection at tight end for coach Mickey Lindsey at Pace High School … Tallied 11 catches for 125 yards and three touchdowns … Garnered Panhandle 12, Super Senior, W-EAR 1st team All-Star team, Player of the Week honors (10-9-08) during the year … Captured the District 1-4A title last fall … Rated No. 90th at tight end in the country by ESPN. com … A three-star athlete by Rivals.com … Played in the Pensacola Sports Association High School All-Star game. Kendrick Hardy 6-0, 215, RB Monticello, Miss. (Lawrence County HS) A Clarion Ledger Dandy Dozen player heading into senior campaign … Garnered Orlando Sentinel All-Southern team honors … Played at Lawrence County High School for coach Mike Davis … A second-team allstate selection, who was selected for both the Mississippi-Alabama AllStar Classic and the Army All-American Game … Rushed for 1,762 yards on 177 rushes with 17 touchdowns as a senior … Team reached the second round of the Class 4A playoffs … Tallied 2,103 yards on the ground and 29 touchdowns as a junior … Averaged 12 yards per carry to lead the Cougars to the second round of the Class 4A playoffs in 2007 … A fourstar recruit by Rivals.com and was also chosen the No. 18 running back in the nation and 11th best overall player in Mississippi … Selected 2007 District 6-4A Most Valuable Player by the coaches in his district and was also selected MAC 2007 4A All-State 2nd Team running back … Is the younger brother of former Southern Miss linebacker/running back Wayne Hardy.
fensive Player of the Year for the WDAM/Hair World of Laurel Area team … A starter since the ninth-grade … Participated in the annual AlabamaMississippi All-Star Football Game … Named second team all-state by the Clarion Ledger … Tallied 1,248 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns as a junior en route to a second-team all-state nod by the MAC … Member of state championship team during sophomore season that saw him rush for 1,340 yards and 18 touchdowns … Added 745 yards and 15 TDs as a freshman for the Class 4A runners up … A three-star prospect by both Rivals.com and Scout.com … Holds ranking of No. 94 by Scout among nation’s running backs, while holding a No. 28 ranking as an all-purpose back by Rivals as well as being tabbed the No. 20 player in the state. Hendrick Leverette 6-1, 225, LB Purvis, Miss. (Pearl River CC) Signed in December with the Golden Eagles… Earned NJCAA All-Region honors while leading Pearl River Community College in tackles with 97, including 40 solos … Had five tackles for loss of 24 yards, one sack for a loss of five yards, one interception and a forced fumble …Led the Wildcats with 72 tackles, 34 solos, while recording 4.5 tackles for loss of 25 yards, one sack and four forced fumbles as a freshman … Was also used in the offensive backfield recording seven carries for 19 yards and two touchdowns. A three-star recruit by both Scout.com and Rivals.com … Redshirted a year at Auburn before transferring to PRC … Attended Oak Grove High School … Helped his team reach the Class 5A semifinals as a senior by totaling 152 tackles, including 94 solo stops, with 14 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries ... First-team allstate by the Clarion-Ledger ... Named 1st Team All-Area by the Hattiesburg American ... Three-year starter ... As a junior, was the leading tackler in the state with 203 tackles, four sacks, two interceptions and five forced fumbles and scored five touchdowns at running back ... Ranked No. 20 among outside linebackers and the No. 12 player in the state of Mississippi by Rivals.com ... Ranked No. 18 in the Rivals Preseason Mississippi Top 30 ... Ranked No. 49 nationally at outside linebacker by ESPN.com ... Named to the Clarion-Ledger’s list of the top 40 high school prospects ... Rated as the No. 2 area prospect by the Sun Herald. Will Martin 6-0, 201, LB Madison, Miss. (Madison Central HS) Played at Madison Central last season for coach Bobby Hall reaching the Class 5A North State championship game … Named 2nd team All-State by the Clarion Ledger … Named to the roster for the Mississippi/Alabama All-Star game … Transferred from Kosciusko High School after junior year ... Reached the North State championship game at Kosciusko High … Named one of the Top 40 juniors by the Clarion Ledger … Tallied a fumble recovery for a 72-yard touchdown … First-team All-Region and MVP linebacker as a junior as he tallied 96 tackles (14 for loss), two fumble recoveries, two interceptions and two defensive touchdowns … Had 104 tackles as a sophomore and one forced fumble … Captured 1st place in Mississippi Bench Press Championship for Age/Division … Captured 109 tackles, four forced fumbles, two interceptions (one for a touchdown) as a freshman.
Jerrion Johnson 6-1, 195, DB Beaumont, Miss. (Perry Central HS) Played receiver and defensive back for coach Brian Ford at Perry Central High School … Reached the first round of the Class 3A playoffs his senior season … Member of the 2008 WDAM/Hair World of Laurel All-Area Football Team … A three-star defensive back and the 26th ranked player in the state of Mississippi by Rivals.com … A three-star recruit by Scout. com … Tallied 350 yards receiving with three touchdowns as a receiver and added 28 tackles, six sacks, six interceptions and 12 passes broken up as a junior.
Trevor Newsom 6-8, 290, OL Starkville, Miss. (Itawamba CC) Signed in December with the Golden Eagles … Played the last two seasons for Jeff Terrill at Itawamba Community College … Rated a three-star by both Scout.com and Rivals.com … Ranked the No. 83 junior college prospect by Rivals.com … Grandfather, Frank, played at Mississippi State … Averaged six knockdowns per game this past season for the Indians and graded out at more than 80 percent for the year … Awarded ICC’s Offensive Lineman of the Week three different times this fall, gave up no sacks and only committed one penalty.
Justin Jordan 5-11, 190, WR Plano, Texas (Blinn College) A junior college transfer from Blinn Community College for coach Brad Franchione … Team won the Southwest Junior College Football Conference championship … Beat top-ranked Navarro in the Heart of Texas Bowl … Earned first-team All-America honors by both JC Grid-Wire and the NJCAA … A first-team All-SWJCFC selection … Caught 55 passes as a sophomore for 715 yards and seven touchdowns … Recorded 30 catches for 381 yards and five touchdowns as a freshman … A four-star junior college product by Rivals.com … Attended Plano High School in the Dallas Metroplex.
Ed Preston 6-4, 287, OL Bacliff, Texas (Dickinson HS) Prepped at Dickinson High School for coach big offensive lineman that could get even bigger … Nephew of John Marsh, who was a standout 6-foot-8 all-league offensive lineman for TCU in the early 90s … Rated a two-star offensive lineman by both Rivals.com and Scout.com … Ranks No. 72 at offensive guard in the nation by ESPN.com.
Tracy Lampley 5-9, 170, RB Waynesboro, Miss. (Wayne County HS) Had 1,162 yards rushing, 445 yards receiving and scored 18 touchdowns for coach Marcus Boyles at Wayne County High School … Named the Of-
David Rue 6-5, 260, TE Monroe, La. (East Miss. CC) Redshirted last season at East Mississippi Community College and will have three years for the Golden Eagles … Caught seven passes for 94 yards and a touchdown as a freshman in 2007 … Was the No. 48-ranked tight end in the country coming out of high school by Scout.com … Prepped at St. Augustine High School prior to Hurricane Katrina … Transferred to Richmond HS, where he tallied eight catches for over 200 yards in 2005. Mississippi Sports Magazine - 43
Ben Schoenberger 6-5, 290, OL Pascagoula, Miss. (Miss. Gulf Coast CC) A MACJC All-South second-team honors this past season for Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College … A four-star recruit by Rivals.com and a two-star by Scout.com … A Rivals.com Top 100 pick in the junior college ranks, holding down the No. 30 slot. Alex Smith 5-11, 175, DB McCall Creek, Miss. (Franklin County HS) Played at Franklin County High School for coach Trent Hammond where he played defensive back and running back … Second team All-State selection who rushed for 1,132 yards on 196 carries last season … On the defensive side, he recorded 30 interceptions and 30 tackles … Earned first-team honors by the MAC for Class 3A at cornerback … Rated a three-star by Rivals.com and a two-star by Scout.com. Octavius Thomas 6-3, 230, DE Carrollton, Ga. (Mt. Zion HS) Recorded 51 tackles averaging 5.7 tackles a game and also had one interception as a senior … Had 53 rushes for 392 yards to go along with his 16 receptions for 213 yards and two touchdowns … also passed six times for 56 yards … Scored a touchdown by rush, receiving, throwing a pass and on a defensive score … Made the All-Area team … Current top scorer and rebounder on school’s basketball team … Participated in the long jump in track … Rated a three-star by Rivals.com. Martez Thompson 6-1, 180, DB Pascagoula, Miss. (Pascagoula HS) First team all-state selection by the Clarion Ledger and the MAC… AllSouth Mississippi Honorable mention selection by the Sun Herald … Participated in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Classic in Mobile last December … Recorded 44 tackles and four interceptions on defense and had 32 receptions for 598 yards on the offensive side of the ball … Rated a two-star receiver by Scout.com and Rivals.com. Gerald West 5-11, 175, DB Mobile, Ala. (Faith Academy) Had two interceptions, eight pass break-ups and 34 tackles while returning two kickoffs and four punts for touchdowns as a senior … Collected 36 tackles, three interceptions and recovered one fumble as a junior and returned a punt for a touchdown … A three-star recruit by both Scout. com and Rivals.com…ESPN.com rates him as the nation’s No. 24 cornerback in the county … Rivals.com rates him as the No. 22 player in Alabama … Son of former Miami Dolphin running back, James E. “J.J.” Johnson, who was a 2nd round pick in the 1999 NFL draft. Deron Wilson 5-10, 167, DB New Orleans (O. Perry Walker HS) Played for coach Derek LaMothe at O. Perry Walker High School … Recorded five interceptions, 25 pass break-ups and 30 tackles earning AllDistrict and All-Area accolades for his performance as a junior … Rated a three-star recruit by Rivals.com and a two-star by Scout.com … Rivals. com rates him as the 81st best cornerback in the nation and the 44th best player in Louisiana … Was a member of the state championship 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams … Finished third in the 200m race at the Louisiana State 4A track and field championships … Cousin of former Southern Miss assistant coach Frank Wilson. Nathaniel Worrell 6-5, 265, OL Pearl, Miss. (Pearl HS) Class 4A first team All-State Selection by scout.com … A first-team selection by the Mississippi Association of Coaches in Class 4A … Second team All-State performer by the Clarion Ledger…Played one season at Pearl High School for coach John Perry … Played three seasons at Kosciusko High before transferring to Pearl HS … Rated a two-star recruit by both Scout.com and Rivals.com.
District performer at Auburn HS ... parents are Ben and Sharlyne Thomas. Steve Capler, C Ridgeland HS (Ridgeland, MS) 6-2, 280 pounds - state power lifting champions ... named to 1st team all-region, as well as a 2nd team All-Metro and 2nd team All-State performer .. rated a one-star center by Scout.com. Milton Patterson, LB Banneker HS (College Park, GA) 5-11, 230 pounds - rated a three-star performer at middle linebacker by Rivals.com ... as a senior recorded 122 tackles, 10 sacks and three interceptions ... totaled 120 tackles, four sacks, two forced fumbles and one interception in junior season... named 1st team All-Region and 2nd team All-State ... also played baseball and was a member of the wresting team ... son of Milton, Sr. and Tiffany Patterson. Quatavius Parks, ATH, Maplewood HS (Nashville, TN) 5-11, 180 pounds - named All-City and All-District ... was a finalist for the 2008 William E. Hume Award (for scholarship, sportsmanship, value to the team and individual performance). Derrick Jean, C Miami Central (Miami, FL) 6-3, 246 pounds - A two-star prospect according to Rivals.com ... all-state and all-district performer... played in the Dade/Broward all-star game. Jordan Miller, OT Miami Central (Miami, FL) 6-3, 260 pounds - All-District player ... played in the Dade/Broward All-Star game. Mike Hill, LB, Murrah HS (Jackson, MS) 6-0, 185 pounds. - 1st team All-District. Nate Simms, DB/ATH, Arkansas Baptist CC, Booker T. Washington HS (Tuskegee, AL) 6-1, 190 pounds - named MVP of the Texas JUCO League ... named to the President’s List ... also played basketball and baseball in high school ... named team MVP in high school ... son of Gale Simms. Jonathan Billups, DT, Picayune HS (Picayune, MS) 6-1, 305 pounds 1st team All-State selection ... played in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game. Alfred Moreland, ATH, Banneker HS (Atlanta, GA) 5-7, 180 pounds - a small, but speedy running back ... in junior season rushed for 990 yards with eight rushing touchdowns and 200 receiving yards ... as a senior he was named to the 5-AAAA all-region 1st team by the Fayette Citizen after a season in which he totaled almost 1,900 all-purpose yards (1,213 rushing) and 15 touchdowns ... he was also a track standout for the Trojans ... he is Bannaker’s all-time leading rusher ... parents are Alfred, Sr. and Angela Moreland. Akeem Williams, CB, SWMS CC (McComb, MS), 6-2, 190 pounds played two season at Southwest Miss. CC ... had eight interceptions and 87 tackles. Richard Hughes, FS, SW Dekalb HS (Decatur, GA), 6-0, 185 pounds named to 1st team All-Region, 2nd team All-State ... had four interceptions, 48 tackles and ten pass break-ups during his senior year ... also played basketball at SW Dekalb ... son of Richard Hughes, Sr. and Rachelle Savage. Todd Wilcher, ILB, Westlake HS (Atlanta, GA), 6-1, 220 pounds - named to the All-Region team, All-Dekalb County team... made the honor roll all four years of high school ... favorite recording group is Outkast ... parents are Todd, Sr., and Deena Wilcher ... father played football at Morris Brown in the early 1980’s.
Cardell Turner, WR Reedley CC in California (Fresno CA) 6-3, 190 pounds - played one season of varsity football at Edison High School ... was a track star in high school ... originally signed with Fresno State coming out of high school ... played at Reedley CC and finished the 2008 season with 16 rec. for 233 yds and 4 TDs ... had a two TD, 160 receiving yard game against Sierra CC ... named to the California JUCO All-State 1st team and a JUCO All-American ... son of Diana Smith.
Tobias Williams, ILB/RE, Stephenson HS (Lithonia, GA), 6-2, 245 pounds - named an All-Region, All-County (Dekalb) performer ... a four-year letterman at Stephenson ... as a senior recorded 95 tackles, five sacks, 22 tackles for loss and five forced fumbles ... in his best game recorded 12 tackles, two sacks and four tackles for loss ... parents are Shelia and Lawrence Williams.
Milton Thomas, DT Auburn HS (Auburn, AL) 6-2, 290 pounds - son of former New England Patriots All-Pro Ben Thomas ... Milton was an All-
DeAndre Davis, OT, ML King HS (Decatur, GA), 6-4, 300 pounds - named to the All-AAA Region team, All-Dekalb County and 2nd team All-State
44 - Mississippi Sports Magazine
... participated in the Dekalb County All-Star game ... son of Gerald and Stacie Davis. Darius Mitchell, OG/C, Westlake HS (Atlanta, GA) 6-2, 320 pounds named to the All-Region and All-County teams. Ameer Townes, OG, Converse-Judson HS (San Antonio, TX) 6-1, 300 pounds - named a 1st team 5A All-State selection as senior ... earned alldistrict honors as a junior ... was named a top-50 prospect by Texas Prep Insider.com ... Nickname is Rashad ... was also a member of the ConverseJudson track and field team (shot put) ... Favorite recording artist is Lil Wayne ... parents are KC and Lorraine Townes. Chris Holmes, DT, Grand Rapids CC, Maryville HS (Maryville, Ohio) 6-3, 300 pounds - played in the JUCO All-American ... ranked No. 10 among defensive tackles in JUCO ... son of Yolanda ... raised by aunt and uncle Richard and Angie Leach. Jonathan Archie, DE, Starkville HS (Starkville, MS) 6-2, 230 pounds - received and All-District honorable mention ... finished senior season with seven sacks, 70 tackles, a forced fumble and fumble recovery ... parents are Barbara and Daniel Kinder. Antowan Westry, OT, Montgomery HS (Seemes, AL) 6-2, 295 pounds named 1st team All-State ... played in the Alabama -Missisisppi All-Star game ... Antonio Brame, CB, Trinity HS (Euless, TX) 6-1, 170 pounds - was a twoyear starter on the No. 1 ranked high school team in the nation ... invited to play in the Army All-American game ... finished senior season with 57 tackles and two interceptions ... also ran the 4x400 meter relay and the 300 meter hurdles ... son of Carla Brame. Reginald Bailey, LB, Picayune HS (Picayune, MS) 6-3, 210 pounds - named 1st team All-State as a junior and 2nd team All-State as a senior. Rico Richardson, WR, Natchez HS (Natches, MS) 6-0, 185 pounds named a Clarion Ledger top 125 player ... 1st team All-Region, 1st team All-Metro and 2nd team All-State ... set a Natches HS receiving mark with 3,500 yards ... as a senior he recorded 46 receptions for 891 yards and seven TDs ... had a season high seven receptions for 111 yards and two TDs ... also rushed for 442 yards and six TDs on 42 carries... was the a Class 5A state champion in the triple jump (46 feet, 11 inches) ... also played basketball in high school ... his nickname is Tarzan ... favorite recording artists are Lil Wayne and Ludacris ... parents are Alvin Smith and Valarie Richardson. Jerell Walker, C, Lackawanna CC (Prince George, MD) 6-2, 285 pounds named 1st team All-Conference. Aristacus Forster, OT, Verbum HS (Los Angeles, CA) 6-3, 305 pounds named 1st team All-District. Ortiss Robinson, OLB, South Panola HS (Batesville, MS) 6-1, 200 pounds Xavier Lee, ATH, South Panola HS (Batesville, MS) 5-8, 179 pounds named to the Clarion Ledger top 125.
Alcorn State Patrick Christian DL 6’4 210 .................Memphis, TN / Whitehaven H.S. Joel Clems DL 6’1 280 .......................Hattiesburg, MS / Hattiesburg H.S. Tavoris Doss WR 5’9 175 . ......................... Memphis, TN / Sheffield H.S. Robert Gainwell LB 6’2 220 ..................Yazoo City, MS / Yazoo City H.S. Terrance Green TE 6’4 210 ........................ St. James, LA / St. James H.S. Matthew Haynes OL 6’2 255 ....... Indianapolis, IN / Warren Central H.S. Larry Moore WR 5’9 185 ................... New Orleans, LA / Edna Karr H.S. Mark Nyainda DB 6’1 185 .......Grand Prairie, TX / Mansfield Timberview Donte Parker ATH 5’11 175 ..Arlington, TX / Mansfield Timberview H.S. Samuel Randall WR 5’9 165 .......................Jackson, MS / Wingfield H.S. William Seliby LB/RB 6’2 215 ........... Saucier, MS / Harrison Central H.S. Armand Stevenson DB 6’0 180 . .................... Jackson, MS / Murrah H.S.
Bobby Tatum OL 6’3 250 ................................. Forney, TX / Forney H.S. Arnold Walker RB 6’0 195 .............................. Atlanta, GA / McNair H.S. Darryl Ward LB 6’0 200 .......................Homestead, FL / Homestead H.S. Kevaughn Williams DL 6’1 280 .............Dallas, TX / W.H. Adamson H.S. Elijah Young DL 6’3 285 ...........Bowling Green, KY / Bowling Green H.S.
Miss. Valley State Tyrone Bowie LB 5-10 225...................Gardendale, MS/Gardendale H.S. Antonio Griggs DL 6-0 280 ................ Columbus, MS/West Lawdes H.S. Tony Porter LB 5-11 220 ...................... Coral Springs, FL/Northeast H.S. Edwin Young III OL 6-3 315 .....................Greenville, MS/St. Joseph H.S. Marvin Pittman QB 6-1 185 ................... Clarksdale, MS/Coahoma C.C. James Shackleford LB 6-1 220 .................. Birmingham, AL/Midfield H.S. Claven Woodard DL 6-0 345 . ................Memphis, TN/Whitehaven H.S. Terrance Taylor OL 6-1 285 ............................ Raymond, MS/Hinds C.C. Ian Luckett OL 6-2 300 ....................................Canton, MS/Canton H.S. Cory Wright OL 6-2 315 ............................. Killeen, TX/Iowa Valley C.C. Derrick Glover LB 6-3 200 ......................... Aikian, SC/Feather River C.C. Anthony Bowie QB 6-0 180 ......................... Birmingham, AL/Erwin H.S. Barry Maltimore DL 6-1 260 . ..Birmingham, AL/Woodlawn Magnet H.S. Gavin Crumpton QB 6-2 185 ..Birmingham, AL/Woodlawn Magnet H.S. Jarvis Holmes OL 6-4 310 ........................ Vicksburg, MS/Vicksburg H.S. Frankie Causey LB 6-2 230 ...................... Macon, GA/Feather River C.C. Jamell House DT 6-1 325 ........................ Little Rock, AR/McClellan H.S. David Coleman DT 6-2 285 . ................................Calumet, IL/Joilet C.C. Eric Killman OL 6-3 310 ............................ W.W. Samuel H.S./Dallas, TX Kristian Graves OL 6-3 310........................ W.W. Samuel H.S./Dallas, TX
Delta State J. J. Woodard OL, 6-1, 255, ........ Water Valley H.S., Water Valley, Miss. Joe Mays LB, 5-11, 200, ...............................Humphries County, Belzoni Luciani Lubin WR, 5-9, 165, ....Archbishop Curley-Notre Dame H.S. (Fl.) Austin Thomas CB, 5-9, 175, . ........................................ Itawamba C.C. Ian Burnett OL, 6-2, 260, ....................................... Copiah-Lincoln C.C. Xzadrian Shelley WR, 5-7, 170, ................Baldwyn H.S., Baldwyn, Miss. Dorian Berry WR, 6-3, 185, ......................Baldwyn H.S., Baldwyn, Miss. Jaymel Tyes CB, 5-10, 180, ......................Baldwyn H.S., Baldwyn, Miss. Brian Wilkinson CB, 6-1, 189, . ................................ Ventura J.C. (Calif.) Will Edgecombe SB, 6-3, 225, ....................... Jackson Academy, Jackson Bobby Thigpen LB, 6-2, 185, ......................... Forrest H.S., Forrest, Miss. Travis Landry DL, 5-11, 245, ..............................Pearl River Central H.S. Darius Miller OL, 6-2, 285, . ................................. Mississippi Delta C.C. Sam Floyd DL, 6-1, 310, . ..................... Sacremento City College (Calif.) Phillip Yandall OL, 6-4, 305, .......................... Southwestern C.C. (Calif.) Demeco Ricks WR, 6-0, 180, . ................................Hollandale-Simmons Xavier Triplett LB, 6-0, 200, .....................................Forest High School Sam Small LB, 6-0, 210, ........................................Winona High School Harry Peoples WR/QB, 5-10, 190 ..........................Winona High School Timothy Pope WR, 6-3, 215, ...............................Ventura Junior College Taeao Fagalele Safety, 5-11, 190, .................. San Joaquin Delta College MID-YEAR TRANSFERS Ricky Grant DE, 6-3, 255, . .................. Ventura C.C. (Calif.), Miami, Fla. Raven Gray DE, 6-5, 280, . .........................................Auburn University Micah Hickman QB, 5-10, 190, .................................Mississippi College Brinson Johnson WR, 6-3, 177, .................... Southwest Mississippi C.C. Xavier Rambo WR, 6-0, 195, . .....................................Kansas University Sergio Arias OL, 6-4, 310, ...................................... Ventura C.C. (Calif.) Kenny Armstrong WR/RB, 5-8, 180, ................... Coffeeville C.C. (Kan.) Todd Bradford WR, 6-3, 210, .....................................Auburn University Ron Brewer RB, 5-10, 190, ................. Mississippi Valley State University Ray Chisolm WR, 5-9, 172, ................................ Pearl River (Miss.) C.C. Micah Davis QB, 6-1, 200, .......................... Copiah-Lincoln (Miss.) C.C. Justin Edwards DB, 6-3, 175, ..................................... University of Iowa Elgae Faoagali DE, 6-3, 260, . ...................New Mexico Military Institute Mississippi Sports Magazine - 45
MISISSIPPI STATE B U L L D O G S 48 STUDENT ATHLETES NAMED TO SEC FALL HONOR ROLL Football Bulldogs set school record with 28 honorees Mississippi State placed 48 student athletes on the 2008 Southeastern Conference Fall Academic Honor Roll, the league announced Wednesday. Among the sports in which Mississippi State competes, only Vanderbilt, Florida, Kentucky and Georgia had more student athletes honored. The Mississippi State football team, which posted its second highest ever team grade point average with a 2.63, placed a school-record 28 student athletes on the SEC Fall Honor Roll. “Obviously this is a great achievement for each of those 28 players,” head football coach Dan Mullen said. “It speaks not only to their efforts but also the quality of character we have in this program. Coach Croom and all of
our academic support personnel deserve great credit for this.” All six volleyball players eligible for the honor roll were named to the honor roll, while 14 of 18 eligible soccer players earned the recognition. The 2008-09 SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll is based on grades from the 2008 Spring, Summer and Fall terms. (1) A student-athlete must have a grade point average of 3.00 or above for either the preceding academic year (two semesters or three quarters) or have a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or above at the nominating institution. (2) If a student-athlete attends summer school, his/her grade point average during the summer academic term must be included in the calculation used to determine
Timothy Bailey.................. Football.................. Senior .......................................................Sociology Anthony Bowles............... Football.................. Senior....................................................Geosciences Mark Brown..................... Football.................. Senior.................................................... Accounting Adam Carlson................... Football.................. Senior.................................. Business Administration Wes Carroll....................... Football.................. Sophomore............ Risk Management and Insurance Andrew Ellard................... Football.................. Senior.......................................... Physical Education Aaron Feld........................ Football.................. Junior..............Construction and Land Development Phillip Freeman................. Football.................. Junior.......................................... Physical Education Michael Gates................... Football.................. Senior.................................. Interdisciplinary Studies Robert Gurley................... Football.................. Sophomore.................................. Physical Education Nelson Hurst..................... Football.................. Sophomore.................................. Physical Education Sam Latham..................... Football.................. Sophomore.............................Biological Engineering Addison Lawrence............ Football.................. Sophomore............................... General Bus. Admin. Tyson Lee......................... Football.................. Junior...................................... Secondary Education Anthony Littlejohn............ Football.................. Senior........................................................Sociology D.J. Looney...................... Football.................. Sophomore..........................................Management Blake McAdams................ Football.................. Senior.......................................... Physical Education Brandon McRae................ Football.................. Junior.................................. Interdisciplinary Studies Mark Melichar.................. Football.................. Junior..............Construction and Land Development Eric Richards..................... Football.................. Sophomore............................... General Bus. Admin. Derek Sherrod.................. Football.................. Sophomore............ Risk Management and Insurance Anthony Strauder............. Football.................. Senior.......................................... Physical Education Marcus Washington......... Football.................. Junior.......................................................Marketing Austin Wilbanks................ Football.................. Senior.......................................... Physical Education Jarvis Williams.................. Football.................. Senior......................................Industrial Technology Lamarcus Williams............ Football.................. Sophomore..........................................Management KJ Wright......................... Football.................. Sophomore................................................Sociology Taurus Young.................... Football.................. Senior......................................Industrial Technology Mary Kate Ayers............... Soccer..................... Senior..............Construction and Land Development Leanna Baldner................. Soccer..................... Sophomore...................................... Communication Heather Buttrey................ Soccer..................... Junior.............................................. Communication Bethany Frazier................. Soccer..................... Senior.......................................... Physical Education Hadley Gable.................... Soccer..................... Sophomore...................................... Political Science Anna Goblirsch................. Soccer..................... Senior.....................................Biological Engineering Katelyn Graben................. Soccer..................... Senior.......................................... Physical Education Andrea Harrison............... Soccer..................... Junior.......................................... Physical Education Taryn Holland................... Soccer..................... Junior.............................................. Communication Lauren Host...................... Soccer..................... Sophomore...........................................Mathematics Meredith Jacobson........... Soccer..................... Senior.......................................... Physical Education Danielle Kite..................... Soccer..................... Sophomore................. Business Information Systems Hannah Tyler.................... Soccer..................... Junior.......................................... Physical Education Kathleen Walsh................ Soccer..................... Junior...................................... Electrical Engineering Ioana Demian................... Volleyball................ Junior..................................................................Art Dorey Gray....................... Volleyball................ Senior................................................... Biochemistry Cristina Jucan................... Volleyball................ Senior..................................................................Art Ashley Newsome.............. Volleyball................ Sophomore............................................. Psychology Kaitlin Wheatley............... Volleyball................ Junior.....................................Biological Engineering Kayla Woodard................. Volleyball................ Junior..................................... Elementary Education 46 - Mississippi Sports Magazine
eligibility for the Academic Honor Roll. (3) Student-athletes eligible for the Honor Roll include those receiving an athletic scholarship, recipients of an athletics award (i.e., letter winner), and nonscholarship student-athletes who have been on a varsity team for two seasons. (4) Prior to being nominated, a studentathlete must have successfully completed 24 semester or 36 quarter hours of non-remedial academic credit toward a baccalaureate degree at the nominating institution. (5) The studentathlete must have been a member of a varsity team for the sport’s entire NCAA Championship segment.
Rusty Linton recognized as SEC Team Physician of the Year Mississippi State team physician Dr. Rusty Linton will be honored as the Southeastern Conference Team Physician of the Year at the Southern Orthopedic Association meetings, it was announced Friday. Linton Dr. Linton, on staff at Columbus Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Clinic, P.C., has served as Mississippi State’s team orthopedic surgeon since 1990. He has worked with Bulldog athletics dating back to 1983, while completing his medical school work and during his residency. A 1980 graduate of Mississippi State, Dr. Linton earned his M.D. from the University of Mississippi Medical Center in 1984. From 1984 through 1989, he served his orthopedic residency at the University of Tennessee Medical School/Campbell’s Clinic. He then completed one year of sports medicine fellowship at the University of Florida prior to his arrival in Starkville. Dr. Linton worked with the 1988 United States Olympic baseball team which claimed the gold medal in Seoul, South Korea, and continues to assist the Chicago Bears and the Pittsburgh Steelers at the annual NFL Scouting Combine. Given annually to recognize a team physician that has contributed greatly to both their school’s teams and to the SEC sports medicine community, the SEC Team Physician of the Year is sponsored by dj Orthopedics and the Southern Orthopedic Association and will be presented to Dr. Linton at the SEC Basketball Tournament in Tampa.
MSU Releases new Logo Branding
We have received plenty of e-mails and there has been a lot of conversation ever since Dan Mullen appeared at the press conference naming him our new head football coach. Dan carried with him a helmet mocked up with the new M-State logo on the side. Some of the communication we have received is in favor of the new logo, some not. It is important for you to know that we are viewed as a valued part of this university and want to support it every way we can. We look forward to joining with the university in promoting the brands and marks of the institution. – MSU Athletic Director Greg Byrne
Govero name to Academic All-District Second Team Mississippi State sophomore guard/ forward Mary Kathryn Govero has been named to the ESPN the Magazine Women’s Basketball Academic All-District Second Team, as announced today by the College Sports Information Directors of America. The Clinton, Miss.-native touts a 3.86 cumulative GPA as a Physical Education major with a Teaching and Coaching emphasis. Govero was a Southeastern Conference AllFreshman Team selection and a member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll last season. Govero has started all 22 games for Mississippi State this season, averaging 6.8 points and 3.2 rebounds a contest. First team selections included Jada Frazier (New Orleans), Amy Beggin (New Mexico), Amber Jackson (North Texas), Kathleen Nash (Texas) and Danielle Robinson (Oklahoma). Joining Govero on the second team is Jordan Murphee (Texas Tech), Janae Voelker (Oral Roberts), Megan Byford (Oklahoma State) and Ryba Pawlaczyk (Texas-San Antonio).
MSU Eyes Baseball season ticket sales record Enthusiasm for the upcoming baseball season is translating into big numbers at the Mississippi State University Athletic Department ticket office. With nearly four weeks remaining before the Bulldogs’ season-opening competition in the BankFirst Baseball Challenge, the MSU ticket office reports total season ticket sales of 4,765 through January 23. MSU is nearing its eighth consecutive 5,000-plus season ticket sales campaign and could top the school-record baseball season ticket sales mark of 5,596 set in 2002. The 32-game season ticket package is on sale through the MSU Athletic Ticket Office (662325-2600) in the Bryan Athletic Administration Building and online at mstateathletics.com. The Bulldogs launch the John Cohen coaching era at Mississippi State and the program’s 119th season of baseball competition Feb. 20-22 when State entertains North Florida and Northern Illinois in the inaugural BankFirst Baseball Challenge at Dudy Noble Field. The
Challenge features six games over a three-day span. Cohen, an All-SEC outfielder during his threeyear career as a player at Mississippi State, was introduced as MSU’s 16th head baseball coach in June. The Tuscaloosa, Ala., native served as head coach the past five seasons at the University of Kentucky, guiding the Wildcats to school-best 44-win seasons in both 2006 and 2008. He was the featured speaker at the 12th annual “First Pitch/Meet the Team” MSU baseball celebration Feb. 19.
2009 Super Bulldog Weekend Schedule Super Bulldog Weekend began 24 years ago as an opportunity for Mississippi State University alumni and fans to return to campus in the spring and enjoy a weekend of athletic events and activities. From its inception, Super Bulldog Weekend has proven to be an event full of fun for the entire family. As the spring homecoming weekend nears the middle of its third decade on the MSU campus, the 2009 version will offer the same kind of enjoyment for the Bulldog fan. The 24th annual Super Bulldog Weekend - being presented by Regions Bank - begins Friday, April 17, and runs through Sunday, April 19. As always, Bulldog football and baseball will highlight the weekend. New MSU head football coach Dan Mullen will unveil his first Bulldog team at the spring game, set for 5:30 p.m. Saturday, the 18th. Head coach John Cohen’s initial season as mentor of the Diamond Dogs will be well under way by Super Bulldog Weekend and State will host Cohen’s former team, the Kentucky Wildcats, in a three-game series at Dudy Noble Field, Polk-DeMent Stadium. The Dogs and Cats will scratch and claw Friday at 6:30 p.m., Saturday at 1 p.m., and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. While football and baseball have long been staples of SBW activities, another old favorite will return as well. The annual Pig Cooking Contest will once again take place on the MSU campus, with judging set for Saturday morning. The MSU Fan Fair, featuring interactive games and exhibits, face painting, free photos with Bully, and autograph opportunities, runs from 10 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Fan Fair activities will be held in the Junction area next to
Davis Wade Stadium. Other athletic activities during SBW include a three-game softball series. Coach Jay Miller’s Bulldogs will host South Carolina, beginning with an 11 a.m. double-header on Saturday and concluding with a single game on Sunday, a 1 p.m. start. A big State tennis match will be contested Saturday as well, when Coach Per Nilsson’s Bulldog netmen host arch-rival Ole Miss at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre, a contest slated for a Noon start. Finally, the MSU soccer program will hold its alumni game Saturday morning at 10 a.m. at the MSU Soccer Field. More specific details on the events surrounding Super Bulldog Weekend presented by Regions Bank will be released throughout February, March and April. Please consult MSU’s official web site, mstateathletics.com, for further updates. SUPER BULLDOG WEEKEND SCHEDULE Times and locations subject to change Friday, April 17 8:00 a.m.: Pig Cooking Begins (site TBA) 5:00 p.m.: The Junction opens 6:30 p.m.: Baseball vs. Kentucky (Dudy Noble Field/Polk-DeMent Stadium) Saturday, April 18 9:00 a.m. - Noon: Pig Cooking Judging (site TBA) 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.: MSU Fan Fair (The Junction) 10:00 a.m.: Soccer Alumni Match (MSU Soccer Field) 11:00 a.m.: Softball vs. South Carolina (MSU Softball Field) Noon: Men’s Tennis vs. Ole Miss (A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre) 1:00 p.m.: Baseball vs. Kentucky (Dudy Noble Field/Polk-DeMent Stadium) 1:00 p.m.: Softball vs. South Carolina (MSU Softball Field) 5:30 p.m.: Maroon/White Spring Football Game (Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field) Sunday, April 19 1:00 p.m.: Softball vs. South Carolina (MSU Softball Field) 1:30 p.m.: Baseball vs. Kentucky (Dudy Noble Field/Polk-DeMent Stadium) Mississippi Sports Magazine - 47
OLE MISS R E B E L S Ole Miss places 32 on SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll Thirty-two Ole Miss student-athletes were among the 532 total named to the 2008-09 SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll, announced Wednesday by SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. Among the Rebels distinguished were 15 from football, 10 from soccer and seven from volleyball. Eighteen of the athletes were previous Honor Roll recipients, including four-time award winners in soccer seniors Stacey Emmonds, Amanda Verkin and Megan Vickery. Ole Miss volleyball junior Emily Kvitle maintains a 4.0 GPA, while soccer sophomore Erin Downing and football junior Wesley Phillips boast averages of better than 3.9. The 2008-09 SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll is based on grades from the 2008 Spring, Summer and Fall terms. Kentucky topped the list with 60 student-athletes on the fall academic roster, while South Carolina was close behind with 59 honorees. (1) A student-athlete must have a grade point average of 3.00 or above for either the
preceding academic year (two semesters or three quarters) or have a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or above at the nominating institution. (2) If a student-athlete attends summer school, his/her grade point average during the summer academic term must be included in the calculation used to determine eligibility for the Academic Honor Roll. (3) Student-athletes eligible for the Honor Roll include those receiving an athletics scholarship, recipients of an athletics award (i.e., letter winner), and non-scholarship student-athletes who have been on a varsity team for two seasons. (4) Prior to being nominated, a studentathlete must have successfully completed 24 semester or 36 quarter hours of non-remedial academic credit toward a baccalaureate degree at the nominating institution. (5) The studentathlete must have been a member of a varsity team for the sport’s entire NCAA Championship segment.
Ben Benedetto.................. Football....................Junior.................................Geological Engineering Zack Brent........................ Football....................Junior............................... Pharmaceutical Sciences Jason Cook....................... Football....................Senior..............................African American Studies Martin Fisher.................... Football....................Sophomore...................... Public Policy Leadership Clay Fowler...................... Football....................Sophomore.............................Business Undecided Daverin Geralds................ Football....................Junior................................................ Mathematics Gerald Harris.................... Football....................Senior............................................... Management Andy Hartmann................ Football....................Junior............................................ Criminal Justice Ben Meadows................... Football....................Sophomore................................ Biological Science Vincent Moss.................... Football....................Sophomore....................................... Accountancy Wesley Phillips.................. Football....................Junior.......................................... Civil Engineering Joshua Shene.................... Football....................Senior............................................Exercise Science Brent Smith....................... Football....................Senior......................................................... Physics Jevan Snead...................... Football....................Senior.................................................... Marketing Billy Tapp.......................... Football....................Senior................................................ Accountancy Amy Bayles....................... Soccer.......................Senior...................................Elementary Education Mallory Coleman.............. Soccer.......................Junior..................Insurance and Risk Management Lily Crabtree..................... Soccer.......................Sophomore........................ Liberal Arts Undecided Erin Downing.................... Soccer.......................Sophomore...................................Exercise Science Stacey Emmonds.............. Soccer.......................Senior............................................Exercise Science Jennifer Hance.................. Soccer.......................Senior............................................Exercise Science Danielle Johnson............... Soccer.......................Junior...................................... Managerial Finance Amanda Verkin................. Soccer.......................Senior............................................... Management Megan Vickery................. Soccer.......................Senior..................Insurance and Risk Management Hannah Weatherly........... Soccer.......................Junior...................................Elementary Education Caitlin Keefe..................... Volleyball..................Senior.............................. Hospitality Management Rachel Kieckhaefer........... Volleyball..................Senior................................. Dietetics and Nutrition Miranda Kitts.................... Volleyball..................Junior......................................Business Undecided Emily Kvitle....................... Volleyball..................Junior............................................Exercise Science Regina Thomas . .............. Volleyball..................Sophomore..........................................Psychology Allison Weber................... Volleyball..................Senior................................. Dietetics and Nutrition Caitlin Weiss..................... Volleyball..................Junior.................................... Banking and Finance
Nutt, Oher honored by Touchdown Club of Atlanta The Touchdown Club of Atlanta honored Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt and senior lineman Michael Oher at its 71st Annual Awards Ceremony on Feb. 7 at the Rialto Center for the Arts located on the campus of Georgia State University. Nutt has been selected by The Touchdown Club as SEC Coach of the Year, while Oher will be awarded the Shug Jordan Award for Top Southeast Offensive Lineman. 48 - Mississippi Sports Magazine
The last time an Ole Miss coach earned SEC accolades from The Touchdown Club was in 1947 to legendary coach John Vaught. Also, this marks the first time since Kenny Dill’s award in 1963 that an Ole Miss lineman was distinguished by the organization. Nutt was named SEC Coach of the Year by the league coaches and the AFCA Region 2 Coach of the Year. In his first season in Oxford, Nutt immediately reversed the Rebels’ fortunes
and became just the fifth Ole Miss coach to guide the Rebels to a bowl in his first season. The Cotton Bowl victory over Texas Tech completed a 9-4 campaign, marking the team’s best improvement from one season to the next since Vaught’s debut in 1947. This season was Nutt’s seventh with nine or more wins in his 16 years as a head coach. He earned SEC Coach of the Year accolades for the third time in his career and top Region coaching honors for the fifth time. Oher was a consensus first-team All-American and All-SEC selection this season for the Rebels. The Memphis native also picked up the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the SEC’s best blocker and was one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy. The 6-foot-5, 318-pound left tackle helped the Rebels rank second in the SEC in rushing with 186.5 yards per game and fourth in sacks allowed with 1.5 per game in 2008.
Baseball available on 18 Radio Stations and the Web Ole Miss Sports Properties announced Wednesday the 2009 baseball radio affiliates, which include 18 stations across the region. Online audio for every Rebel game will be available through OleMissSports.com’s RebelVision, which will continue to provide live webcasts of all non-televised home games and select road games. While WTNM-FM 105.5 in Oxford and RebelVision will carry every contest, the full network schedule includes South Alabama on Feb. 22, TCU on March 1 and Vermont on March 8 prior to SEC play, which begins March 13 at Vanderbilt. The network coverage of that weekend series in Nashville could also be preempted by Ole Miss men’s basketball action at the SEC Tournament. The Ole Miss Radio Network call of the game will once again feature the “Voice of the Rebels” David Kellum handling play-by-play and Gary Darby serving as analyst. OleMissSports.com’s RebelVision goes inside Rebel athletics with live streaming video of press conferences, coaches’ TV show, practice reports and replays of football and basketball. Members can also listen to every Ole Miss football, baseball and men’s and women’s basketball game without subscribing to any other service. OLE MISS BASEBALL AFFILIATES AMORY................................WAMY-AM 1580 BILOXI/GULFPORT............. *WBUV-FM 105.9 BROOKHAVEN........................ WBKN-FM 92.1 CORINTH................................ WXRZ-FM 94.3 GREENVILLE.........................WGVM-AM 1260 GREENWOOD/INDIANOLA...WTCD-FM 96.9 HATTIESBURG....................... WFMM-FM 97.3 HAZELHURST......................... WDXO-FM 92.9 JACKSON............................... WFMN-FM 97.3 MCCOMB............................. WAZA-FM 107.7 MEMPHIS, TN..........................WIVG-FM 96.1 MERIDIAN......................... **WZKR-FM 103.3 OXFORD..............................WTNM-FM 105.5 PHILADEPHIA...................... WHOC-AM 1490 PRENTISS.................................WJDR-FM 98.3 TUPELO..............................WWMR-FM 102.9 VICKSBURG.......................... WVBG-AM 1490 WEST POINT......................... WROB-AM 1450
Ole Miss announces CellularSouth All-Century Men’s Basketball Team The Ole Miss athletics department proudly announced the members of its CellularSouth AllCentury men’s basketball team here Thursday at Tad Smith Coliseum. The All-Century honorees, as well as all other former Rebels, will be honored at the Feb. 21 Georgia game in the culmination of this year’s celebration of the “First 100 Years of Ole Miss Basketball.” The All-Century Team was selected following a vote of fans on OleMissSports.com and a committee of officials from the athletics department and the M-Club Alumni Chapter. With nearly 3,000 online ballots cast, the fans’ top 10 vote getters were automatic qualifiers, and the remaining spots were chosen by the committee. The ballot included any Rebel that earned AllSEC honors or scored 1,000 or more points in his career, excluding current players, for a total of 41 nominees. Fans also had the opportunity to email write-in votes. The All-Century Team was not divided by position or first, second or third team, as all 19 players hold the same rank on the squad. The team includes all 12 Rebels that earned All-America honors in their career and the top nine scorers in school history. The list also contains three Associated Press SEC Players of the Years (Denver Brackeen, 1955; Johnny Neumann, 1971; Ansu Sesay, 1988). While honored for their performances as players, the All-Century Team coincidentally includes the three winningest coaches in school history (B.L. “Country” Graham, 145 wins; Rod Barnes, 141; Cob Jarvis, 87). Headlining the All-Century selections is twotime All-America honoree John Stroud. The forward from New Albany, Miss., is Ole Miss’ all-time leading scorer and ranks third in SEC history with 2,328 career points. Stroud topped the conference in scoring in 1979 and 1980 and was named 1980 SEC Player of the Year by the Tuscaloosa Tip-Off Club. The complete All-Century Team includes: B.L. “Country” Graham (F, 1936-38), Cob Jarvis (F/G, 1952-54), Denver Brackeen (C, 195455), Joe Gibbon (F, 1954-57), Jack Waters (F/G, 1959-61), Don Kessinger (G, 1962-64), Johnny Neumann (F, 1971), Coolidge Ball (F, 1972-74), John Stroud (F, 1977-80), Elston Turner (F/G, 1978-81), Sean Tuohy (G, 1979-82), Carlos Clark (G/F, 1980-83), Rod Barnes (G, 1985-88), Gerald Glass (F, 1989-90), Joe Harvell (F, 199093), Ansu Sesay (F, 1995-98), Keith Carter (G, 1996-99), Rahim Lockhart (F, 1998-2001) and Justin Reed (F, 2001-04). Fans may bid on the opportunity to meet the greats of Rebels Hoops at the exclusive “100 Years of Ole Miss Basketball” celebration reception on the evening of Feb. 20 by visiting OleMissSports.com Auctions. Also available for bid is a basketball that will be autographed by the All-Century Team during the celebration weekend.
Rebel Track & Field Inks Brittney Bozeman to NLI Ole Miss track and field head coach Joe Walker announced Wednesday that high school senior Brittney Bozeman has signed a national letter of intent to join the Rebel program next season. She is the sixth athlete to sign with the Rebels so far this year. A native of Moreno Valley, Calif., Bozeman is a heptathlete who is expected to compete in several different events for the Rebels. Bozeman’s talents can be utilized in the heptathlon, sprints, relays, and jumps. She owns a personal best time of 11.90 in the 100 meters and 24.40 in the 200 meters. In addition, she recorded a personal best distance of 19-04.00 in the long jump. “We are excited to have a person and athlete of Brittney’s qualities joining us,” Walker said. “She is a very versatile athlete that will compete at a high level in a variety of events.”
Soccer inks Eleven The Ole Miss soccer team will have quite a new look in 2009 with the influx of 11 high school seniors who signed national letters of intent on Wednesday to join the Rebel program. One of the largest classes to ever sign with head coach Steve Holeman’s program, the 11 members come from a variety of locales, including three from Florida and two from Tennessee. They will join a Rebel squad this fall that lost seven seniors from last year’s team to graduation, but still returns a core nucleus led by threetime All-SEC defender Danielle Johnson. “We lost one of the top classes in program history with last year’s seniors, so we know there are big shoes to fill,” Holeman said. “This is a group that can come in and make us stronger right away. We think these freshmen will join our returning players to make up another talented team with speed, athleticism and a competitive drive that will help us continue to be successful in the SEC and in the country.”
Ole Miss Cheerleaders, Rebelettes reach National Finals
For the first time in their history, the Ole Miss spirit groups reached the finals in all three of their routines at the UCA/UDA College National Championships Sunday at the Walt Disney World Resort. The Rebel Cheerleaders ended a 15-year drought in the competition with a 14th-place finish a year ago and improved on that showing this season, placing 12th in the nation. This year marked only the second time for the Rebelettes to compete in both the hip hop and jazz divisions, and they notched 13th and 17th place honors, respectively. “Division 1A is the most competitive division in both cheer and dance and only a few teams are able to qualify with all three routines,” said Amanda Hoppert, Ole Miss’ Coordinator of Spirit Groups. The Cheerleaders turned in a strong outing despite being forced to change their routine mere days before the Championships. Two members of the squad, who have now recovered, were injured during the halftime performance of the men’s basketball game the Wednesday night before the trip. An alternate girl was inserted, and some adjustments were
made. “The squad really came together and had great team work,” Hoppert said. “We were so excited to hit a clean routine at Nationals. Unfortunately, we were not rewarded like we had hoped, as other teams had several falls and placed a head of us.” Under the direction of Coach Carley Russell, the Rebelettes were seated sixth entering the finals of the hip hop division. Historically, scores tend to build as the competition goes on, and Ole Miss drew the unlucky opening spot in the order of performance for the final day. The team finished outside the top 10 in hip hop despite a solid showing. “When I look back on the weekend it was so great for both teams to come so far,” said Hoppert. “It was great how the cheerleaders were there cheering on the dancers and vice versa.” The Southeastern Conference was well represented with six teams in the cheer finals including Kentucky, who won its record 17th title. Alabama finished second while LSU tied for fifth place. Tennessee and Mississippi State also joined Ole Miss.
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SOUTHERN MISS G O L D E N E A G L E S Southern Miss Announces 2009 Football Season Tickets Now Available Southern Miss announced recently that 2009 football season tickets for both new ticket holders and renewals are now available for purchase through the Southern Miss Athletic Ticket Office. “This is an exciting time for Golden Eagle football and we are looking forward to building on what Coach Fedora, his staff and players started with their successes from a season ago,” said Southern Miss Director of Athletics Richard Giannini. Season ticket prices are $235 for premium seating (suites, clubs, chairbacks), $200 for reserved sideline, $165 for Eagle Value, $155 for South End Zone, $130 for Military and Senior Citizen (South End Zone), $95 for Top of the Rock and $235 for a Family Plan which includes one adult and one youth ticket in the South End Zone ($95 for each additional youth ticket with this plan). As an incentive to buy early, the Southern Miss Athletics Department is giving a highlight DVD of the 2008 season to fans that join or renew their Eagle Club donation, as well as season ticket and spring game ticket purchases prior to or on the date of this year’s annual Black and Gold Spring Game. The priority deadline is May 1. The Pat Ferlise Athletic Ticket Center (W. 4th St.) is open Monday-through-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., for ticket orders, while fans can also call 1-800-844-TICK (8425) or go online at SouthernMiss.com.
Southern Miss had 128 Student-Athletes earn Academic Honors during Fall Semester Southern Miss had 128 student-athletes earn academic awards from the school during the 2008 fall semester. The school had 19 student-athletes garner President’s List accolades (4.00 Grade Point Average), 43 collect Dean’s List honors (3.25-3.99 GPA) and 66 make the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll (3.0-3.24 GPA). The sport of women’s soccer led all sports with 23 honorees, followed by baseball with 19, football 15, volleyball 13, women’s track and men’s tennis with 9, men’s track and softball 8, women’s cross country and women’s tennis 6, women’s golf 5, men’s basketball 4 and women’s basketball 3. The following is a list of Southern Miss studentathletes to record these achievements: President’s List: Baseball – James Ewing (Beaumont, Texas), Wade Weathers (Quitman, Miss.) Men’s Basketball – Bryson Brewer (Waynes50 - Mississippi Sports Magazine
boro, Miss.) Soccer – Amy Davis (Vestavia Hills, Ala.), Jordan Gauthier (Lafayette, La.), Megan Kolts (Suwanee, Ga.), Jana Mason (Tupelo, Miss.), Elisha Tarbell (Mandeville, La.), Hannah Vanderboegh (Pinson, Ala.) Softball – Leslie LeJune (Houston, Texas) Women’s Cross Country – Cheris Fletcher (Albany, Ga.) Women’s Golf – Ashley Joubert (Ponchatoula, La.) Men’s Tennis – Domagoj Anic (Zagreb, Croatia), Jan Burmeister (Kronberg, Germany), Markus Wessinghage (Ingelheim, Germany) Women’s Tennis – Elja van Berlo (Erp, The Netherlands) Volleyball – Katie Matlock (Edmond, Okla.), Lauren Sears (Ashburn, Va.), Kelsea Seymour (Long Beach, Calif.) Dean’s List: Baseball – Derek Copley (Dyersburg, Tenn.), Paxton King (Brookhaven, Miss.), Todd McInnis (Brandon, Miss.), Jeff Stanley (Magate, Fla.) Women’s Basketball – Erin Gatling (Van Buren, Ark.) Football – Josh Barton (Mobile, Ala.), Micah Brown (Troy, Ala.), John Green (New Orleans, La.), Ross Smith (Purvis, Miss.) Soccer – Sarah Brusco (Dallas, Texas), Christina Duvall (Pascagoula, Miss.), Liz Hamlin (Kenner, La.), Paigelee Hodges (Hayward, Calif.), Keilah Hopkins (Irving, Texas), Renee Hrapmann (Mandeville, La.), Sarah McFadden (Magherfelt, No. Ireland) Softball – Samantha Davis (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), Brittney Jones (Rayne, La.), Casey Jo Matthews (Acworth, Ga.), Kristin Pilgrim (Metairie, La.), Courtney Ramos (Hilmar, Calif.) Women’s Track – Simona Costache (Bucharest, Romania), Tandra Patterson (Pascagoula, Miss.), Chastity Riggien (Montgomery, Ala.) Women’s Cross Country – Jolisa Evans (Helena, Ala.) Men’s Track – Avery Fulp (Summit, Miss.), Arlon Morrison (Tobago, Trinidad and Tobago) Men’s Golf – John Gregory Joseph (Valdosta, Ga.), Kyle Ramey (Paducah, Ky.) Women’s Golf – Joyce Martinez (La Porte, Texas), Amy Roberts (Toronto, Ont.), Clara Viladomiu (Barcelona, Spain) Men’s Tennis – Diego Machuca (Cuenca, Ecudor), Oscar Machuca (Cuenca, Ecudor) Women’s Tennis – Stephanie Dellecono (Baton Rouge, La.), Zoe Lee (Hale, Great Britain) Volleyball – Sarah Jane Bowden (Sioux City, Iowa), Caitlin Clarke (New Orleans, La.), Amelia Hendrickson (Belle Chasse, La.), Maia Ivanova (Sofia, Bulgaria), Lisa Knecht (Metairie, La.), Ashley Mell (Yorba Linda, Calif.), Ashley Petrinec (Bloomington, Ill.), Bridget Whalen (Littleton, Colo.) Athletic Director’s Honor Roll: Baseball – Houston Brown (Collierville, Tenn.), Daniel Covert (Meridian, Miss.), Adam Doleac (Hattiesburg, Miss.), Michael Ewing (Beaumont, Texas), Josh Fields (Springdale, Ark.),
Travis Graves (Mesquite, Texas), Seth Hester (Stringer, Miss.), Jonathan Johnston (Brandon, Miss.), Kyle Lindsey (Purvis, Miss.), Bret Shattles (Long Beach, Miss.), Nick Smith (Purvis, Miss.), Corey Stevens (Clinton, Miss.), Taylor Walker (Senatobia, Miss.) Men’s Basketball – Rodney McCauley (Dallas, Texas), Sai’Quon Stone (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Hank Wierson (Ames, Iowa) Women’s Basketball – Whitney McNelis (Hattiesburg, Miss.), Lauren Pittman (Waynesboro, Miss.) Football – Justin Estes (Marietta, Ohio), Andy Hill (Spanish Fort, Ala.), Jacob Johnson (Brandon, Miss.), Dylan Lanphere (Tupelo, Miss.), Ryan McKee (Spanish Fort, Ala.), Kevin North (Moss Point, Miss.), Quentin Pierce (Mobile, Ala.), Kendrick Presley (Kosciusko, Miss.), Austin Quattrochi (Marietta, Ga.), Justin Whiddon (Dothan, Ala.), Cameron Zipp (Mandeville, La.) Soccer – Mallory Barnes (Lafayette, La.), Stefani Buller (Denton, Texas), Holly Cox (London England), Sarah DeFatta (Franklin, Tenn.), Erin Hamrick (Lafayette, Ind.), Malinda Hill (Slidell, La.), Leigh-Ann Levens (Long Beach, Miss.), Rebecca Masters (Ellisville, Miss.), Daniela Picado (Meridian, Miss.), Samantha Polley (Louisville, Ky.) Softball – Britney Dinelt (Tacoma, Wash.), Courtney Hill (Hattiesburg, Miss.) Women’s Track – Torie Bowie (Sand Hill, Miss.), Candace Burgard (Metairie, La.), Jessica Cheeks (Laurel, Miss.), Carmen Dennis (Sacramento, Calif.), Ashley May (Hoover, Ala.), Dominique Washington ( ) Women’s Cross Country – Lasheika Dinkins (Memphis, Tenn.), Faith Ngobiro (El Doret, Kenya), Zuna Portillo-Rodriguez (Antioch, Calif.), Kelley Rooney (Fair Oaks, Calif.) Men’s Track – Ricardo Page (Spanish Town, Jamaica), Aaron Ammons (Brandon, Miss.), Cornelius Duncan (Birmingham, Ala.), Leonard McLeggon (St. Catherine, Jamaica), Alexandru Mitan (Buzad, Romania), Kyle Smith (Daphne, Ala.) Men’s Golf – Paul Apyan (Chattanooga, Tenn.), Alex Park (Ithaca, N.Y.), Robert Derek Plucienski (Slidell, La.) Women’s Golf – Rebecka Nilsson (Laholm, Sweden) Men’s Tennis – Patricio Alvarado (Manta, Ecudor), Strate Krstevski (Skopje, Macedonia), Andrew Poole (Cape Town, South Africa), Felipe Sylva (Quito, Ecudor) Women’s Tennis – Natalia Parrado (Bogota, Columbia), Sherry Price (Bradenton, Fla.) Volleyball – Lauren Broom (Mandeville, La.), Stevi Cherry (Tampa, Fla.)
Southern Miss signs on Fedora through 2012 Southern Miss and its football coach, Larry Fedora, announced recently that they have agreed to a contract extension, which will be on this week’s agenda for the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning meeting in Jackson. The Golden Eagles recently finished the 2008
season under the first-year coach with a fivegame winning streak and a 30-27 overtime victory against Sun Belt Champion, Troy, in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. The bowl victory completed the 15th straight winning season for the Golden Eagles as they reached their seventh-straight bowl appearance and 11th in the last 12 seasons. Southern Miss broke 36 school records and tied six more during the year. The offense enjoyed its highest ever national ranking in total offense at No. 20 in the FBS, after tallying a school-best 5,636 yards as well as a school-best per game average of 433.5. The Golden Eagle defense did not surrender over 100 yards rushing in each of the final five games and forced 29 turnovers during the year which ranked tied for No. 10 in turnover margin in the FBS. “We are very excited about the future of Southern Miss football under the leadership of Larry Fedora and we are pleased to announce the extension of his contract,” said Southern Miss Director of Athletics Richard Giannini. “We are confident Coach Fedora will lead Southern Miss back to C-USA football championships and potential BCS Bowl games, which has always been one of our major goals. “We had a record year in season, individual and bowl game ticket sales, which we attribute to Coach Fedora’s attacking style of play and the fact our team played hard to the last snap in every game. Coach Fedora’s enthusiasm, passion and vision for the game have been most contagious with our staff, team, alumni and fans.” Southern Miss President Dr. Martha Saunders echoed the sentiments of Giannini. “Larry Fedora has certainly made a place for himself at Southern Miss.,” Saunders said. “I have been impressed with his enthusiasm and genuine love for the game of football. Our student-athletes have responded positively to his leadership. He is a great asset to our outstanding athletics program.” Fedora, who is the sixth Golden Eagle firstyear coach since 1937 to post at least seven wins in their inaugural campaign, expressed his gratitude to the administration in their faith in him and his staff. “I am grateful and appreciative to Dr. Martha Saunders and Richard Giannini for their confidence in me and my staff,” Fedora said. “I am thrilled about the opportunity to lead this football program to new heights. Southern Miss is a special place with special people who truly care about comprehensive development of our student-athletes.” Fedora’s contract will be extended to the maximum allowed by the IHL, which is four years. The contract runs from December 2008 through 2012. Financial teams are being discussed and will be announced at a later date.
Soccer’s Jana Mason receives the Inaugural CUSA Spirit of Service Award Conference USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky named Southern Miss soccer player Jana Mason among the 12 student-athletes that will receive the inaugural C-USA Spirit of Service
award recently. The C-USA Spirit of Service Award is designed to recognize the community service efforts of the league’s student-athletes, based upon significant community service, good academic standing and participation in their elected sport. The Spirit of Service award will be presented three times throughout the season, with today’s honorees representing Conference USA’s fall sports: football, soccer, volleyball and cross country. Mason, a sophomore midfielder, played in 19 games this season and clocked more than 1,100 minutes on the soccer field. She not only holds a perfect 4.0 GPA as a general studies major, but finds time to volunteer at the North Mississippi Medical Center, work a camp for the mentally challenged called “Touched by an Angel” and work with D.R.E.A.M. tutoring children and teens at an after school program. Mason has also participated in canned food drives for the Office of Community Service Learning at Southern Miss, participated as a member in Relay for Life, participated in the Race for the Cure and in the Spirit of Women Program sponsored by Forrest General Hospital.
Black & Gold Weekend Date Announced Southern Miss has announced that the school’s 2009 Black and Gold Spring Football Game will be held, Sat., April 18, at 6 p.m. The game will be a part of several activities on the Golden Eagle campus that day included the baseball team’s Conference USA contest against UAB, beginning at 2 p.m., at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field. “We had over 11,000 people at our spring game last season and as Coach Fedora said we want to see the stadium packed for the game again this year,” said Southern Miss Director of Athletics Richard Giannini. Season tickets are now available for 2009 and fans who join or renew their Eagle Club as well as purchase their season tickets and spring game tickets on or prior April 18, will receive a free highlight DVD of the 2008 season. The season featured the Golden Eagles recording their 15th-straight winning season and defeating Tory 30-27 in overtime in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. Tickets for the Spring Game are $10 for adults and $5 for children.
Baseball announces changes in 2009 Schedule The Southern Miss baseball program announced today that three baseball games for the 2009 season have been slightly adjusted from the originally published schedule. Southern Miss will move the UAB game on Saturday, April 18 from a 4:00 p.m. first pitch to a 2:00 p.m. start, to allow fans to attend the spring football game which is scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. For the East Carolina series in Greenville, NC the Golden Eagles will play a double header on Saturday, April 25 at 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. CST. They will not play on Sunday, April 26.
Both games will be televised nationally by CBS College Sports. The Golden Eagles open the 2009 season on February 20 at Pete Taylor Park.
Travarius Robinson named Assistant Football Coach Southern Miss announced Thursday the addition of Travaris Robinson as assistant football coach pending approval by the Board of Trustees, Institutes of Higher Learning. Robinson replaces Tony Hughes, who resigned his position last month, and will coach the cornerbacks. “We are pleased that Travaris has joined our staff,” said Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora. “He knows what it takes to be a successful defensive back at this level both as a player and a coach.” Robinson — a former Auburn defensive back, who played two seasons in the National Football League — served as a full-time assistant at Western Kentucky last season. He went to WKU after spending a year as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Auburn. A four-year letterwinner at Auburn, Robinson played in 48 contests from 1999-02 while helping the Tigers win outright or share three consecutive Southeastern Conference West Division championships. AU went 30-19 (61.2 percent) overall during his career, including a top 20 in both the final Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today coaches’ polls after his senior season. He was selected the Most Valuable Player of the Iron Bowl after recording 12 tackles — including 10 solo — and breaking up a pair of passes to help the Tigers to a 13-9 victory over rival Alabama, as they would go on to defeat Penn State in the Capital One Bowl on New Year’s Day. He was a first-team AP all-SEC selection at the end of the year after collecting 92 total tackles — which ranked second on the squad — intercepting four passes and breaking up three others. Auburn would also end the season ranked in the top 20 of both national polls Robinson’s sophomore season, when it finished 9-4 after participating in the Florida Citrus Bowl. He concluded his collegiate career with 166 tackles, seven passes defended and five interceptions. Robinson would then go on to play for the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL during the 2003 and ’04 seasons, appearing in nine contests while splitting time with the two clubs as a rookie. He would return to Auburn in 2006 as a student assistant while finishing up his undergraduate degree. That fall, the Tigers would post an 11-2 record including a 6-2 mark in SEC action. They were ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation, and would go on to defeat Nebraska by a field goal in the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic. After earning his degree in communications, Robinson remained with the Tigers as a graduate assistant last season. In addition to assisting with all aspects of the defense, he was responsible for opponent scouting, organizing scout teams for the defense and kicking game, video breakdown and computer data entry, the defensive scouting report, and all aspects of on-campus recruiting. AU was 9-4 in 2007, ending the year with a 2320 overtime victory over Clemson in the Chickfil-A Bowl. Mississippi Sports Magazine - 51
JACKSON STATE T I G E R S Jackson State and Alabama A&M post best records at East Bowling Roundup Krystal Crumedy bowled a 184.4 during the SWAC East Bowling Roundup Eastern Division teams Alabama A&M and Jackson State finished with the best overall record from the 3-day SWAC East Bowling Roundup, completed Sunday in Jackson, MS. The Bulldogs won 11 of their 12 matches over the weekend, 5-0 in divisional competition. Alabama A&M got strong showings from Melanie DeCarlo (191.1 avg) and Tiffany Clark (189.0 avg.). Jackson State posted a 10-2 mark in the roundup, 4-1 in divisional play. Ashley Blakley (189.0) and Krystal Crumedy (184.8) led the Lady Tigers. In West competition, defending conference champion Southern posted the best overall record at 8-4, while the Lady Jaguars and Grambling State tied for the best divisional competition mark at 5-2. Southern was led by Shannon Pearson’s 197.8 average, followed by Krystal Collins’ 183.7 average. Allyson Smith and Chantell Jefferson set the pace for Texas Southern, each posting a 190.9 average. Grambling State was led by McCall Long (180.4 avg) and Lateona Boyce (176.1 avg.).
Jackson State signs five-year contract with Southern Heritage Classic The Southern Heritage Classic presented by FedEx celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, and a new five-year contract with both Tennessee State and Jackson State Universities ensures a 25th anniversary celebration in 2014. Over the course of their participation with the Classic, the TSU and JSU football teams and marching bands have earned their schools more than $3 million each. This new contract gives them each the opportunity to earn $300,000 per year from 2010 to 2014 to help fund educational activities and expenses. The Classic’s founder, Fred Jones Jr., commented: “These two exceptional teams are well-matched and always deliver an exciting game. The bands are the best and give a great half-time show. I know fans will be as glad as I am to hear they’ll be giving us that Classic experience to celebrate for at least another five years.” “We feel that this is a good arrangement for Jackson State,” said JSU Director of Athletics Robert L. Braddy. “ We are excited about playing in the Southern Heritage Classic through
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2014. Our fans and supporters enjoy the game, as well as the other activities associated with the event.” The Southern Heritage Classic football games are played on the second Saturday in September at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. Tickets for the 2009 game will be available July 11 at Ticketmaster outlets and online at www.ticketmaster.com.
2009 Preseason All-SWAC Softball Team Announced Amanda Boggan takes first-team All-SWAC honors The Southwestern Athletic Conference announced its 2009 Softball Preseason Honors Tuesday, with Amanda Boggan taking first-team All-SWAC honors and Carsheena Blanks taking second-team All-SWAC honors. All preseason honors and predicted order of finish were voted on by the league’s coaches and sports information directors. Boggan, a junior infielder received first-team All-SWAC honors as she finished last season with a batting average of .365 while logging 40 runs, 11 doubles, two triples, and 16 runs batted in. Senior outfielder Carsheena Blanks received second-team All-SWAC honors as she finished last season with a batting average of .162 as she tallied 14 runs, 16 hits, one double and three triples. In addition to Boggan, there were eight other players named to this year’s preseason all-conference team that earned 2008 postseason honors: Re’Quincia Mack (Alabama A&M), Destinee Sanchez and Tiffany Wells (Alabama State), LaQuisha Wood (Grambling State), Nikki Stouder, Megan Hays and Ta’Niya Wallace (Mississippi Valley State), and Jasmone Williams (Southern). In the East, Mississippi Valley State, five-time defending conference champions, received 80 points (14 first-place votes) as they were picked to again win the East, followed by Alcorn State, Jackson state, Alabama A&M, and Alabama State. In the West, Southern was picked to defend its division title, receiving 79 points (13 firstplace votes), followed by Grambling State, Prairie View A&M, Texas Southern, and Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Jackson State will open its 2009 season on Friday, Feb. 7, when they travel to Atlanta, Ga., to take on Winston-Salem State.
Trey Johnson called up to Cavaliers from NBA Developmetal League Former Jackson State University stand-out, Trey Johnson was called up from the NBA Development League’s Bakersfield Jam to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday. He is on a ten day contract with the Cavaliers.
During the 2008-09 Developmental League Johnson played in 25 games and is averaging 20.1 points and 4.8 assists. Johnson, a 6-foot-6 guard/forward in his second year out of Jackson State was in training camp this season with the Phoenix Suns and last season with the New Orleans Hornets. He’s also played in Europe. He finished his senior season at Jackson State as the second leading scorer in the nation, averaging 27.1 points per game. He was also named the Southwestern Athletic Conference Player of the Year and a College Insider.com Mid-Major All-American. In 2006-07 Johnson led the JSU Tigers to a SWAC Championship and their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2000.
Marcellus Speaks earns National Accolades with 2008 SBN All-American Football Honors Eight SWAC players earn SBN AllAmerica honors Jackson State line backer Marcellus Speaks and Prairie View A&M head coach Henry Frazier headline the Southwestern Athletic Conference honorees on the 2008 Sheridan Broadcasting Network Sports Black College All-American football team. Speaks, one of eight SWAC players to earn All-America honors, was also named as the SBN Sports/Mel Blount Defensive Player of the Year. Frazier was named as the SBN Sports/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year. Joining Speaks on the defensive team were Jackson State teammates defensive linemen Marcus Benard and Domonique Johnson. The 2008 HBCU National Champion Grambling State Tigers were represented by defensive linemen Melvin Matthews and Jeffery Jack. Offensively, the SWAC filled both wide receiver positions with Texas Southern’s William Osbourne and Southern’s Juamorris Stewart. Kicker Jeremy Licea of Alabama A&M rounds out the SWAC’s “Elite Eight” on the All-America team. Speaks is the reigning SWAC Defensive Player of the Year. He led the conference with 122 tackles while recording five sacks, one interception and three forced fumbles. The Jackson, Mississippi native also helped lead his team to the SWAC Championship game for the second consecutive year. Frazier followed up the Panthers first winning season since 1964 when he finished 9-1 in 2007. During the 2008 campaign, his team led the conference in several statistical categories including scoring offense, scoring defense, total defense and rushing offense.
ALCORN STATE B R AV E S Robinson honored by Sports Network Lee Robinson has received Sports Network All-American Honorable mention honors. Robinson, a senior from Gloster, MS, had an amazing year totaling 111 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss for 38 yards, 3 interceptions for 66 yards (1 touchdown). Robinson was also named as Defensive Player of the Week in Week 4, earned the Most Valuable Senior Award from the Jackson Touchdown Club and received 1st Team All Conference Defense Honors this season.
Football holds Awards Banquet With the season now completed, Coach Ernest Jones and staff held its Award Banquet to honor players for their contributions on and off the field. Those players receiving specialty awards: Scout Special Teams MVP: Garcia Vaughn Scout Offensive MVP: Aaron Shavers Scout Defensive MVP: Jon Hughes Humanitarian Award: Corey McLaurin Coaches Award: Tim Buckley Academics Award: Joe Keys Special Teams MVP: Corey McLaurin Offensive MVP: Tim Buckley Defensive MVP: Lee Robinson Team MVP: Tim Buckley
Robinson and Carvalho named to SWAC All-Conference Teams Lee Robinson and Bronson Carvalho were named to the 2008 SWAC Football All-Conference selections. Robinson, a senior from Gloster, MS, had an amazing year totaling 111 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss for 38 yards, 3 interceptions for 66 yards (1 touchdown). Robinson was also named as Defensive Player of the Week in Week 4 and earned the Most Valuable Senior Award from the Jackson Touchdown Club. Carvalho, a senior from Kapaa, HI, was a part an offensive line that totaled 3435 offensive yards. Carvalho was also named to the PreSeason 2nd Team All-SWAC. “I feel that this honor solidifies the type of player that Lee is on and off the field”, Head Coach Ernest T. Jones stated. “This is also a great achievement for Bronson Carvalho.”
Rankin named to SWAC’s Pre-Season 2nd Team Senior Mid-Fielder Ashley Rankin was named to the Southwestern Athletic Conference PreSeason 2nd Team. Rankin is the lone player on the team to receive an honor for the upcoming 2008 season. During the 2007 season, she was the team’s leading scorer with six (6) goals
and thirteen (13) points. The scholar-athlete is a native of Aurora, Colorado. Also, the Lady Braves Soccer team was predicted to finish last in the Eastern Division of the SWAC. The 2008 season will begin on August 23rd for the Lady Braves when they take on Jackson State in the President’s Cup in Jackson, Mississippi.
ASU names Earnest Collins, Jr. as Interim Head Football Coach Alcorn State University President George E. Ross has announced that Earnest Collins, Jr. is the Interim Head Football Coach. Coach Collins assumed his duties on January 29, 2009. “We are pleased to have Coach Collins serve in this capacity. He is an exceptional leader, he’s student-athlete centered, and possess the knowledge base to lead our football program in a positive direction. The respect and support this young man has garnered from the ASU community is tremendous,” says President Ross. As Interim Head Football Coach, Collins will operate with all the responsibilities and authority of the head coach. “I want to thank Dr. Ross for the opportunity to become the Interim Head Football Coach. I believed when I came here that we were going to take this program to new heights, and that is still our plan.” Coach Collins brings over 13 years of coaching and teaching experience in athletics. He entered his first season as Defensive Coordinator/ Associate Head Coach at Alcorn State University last year. Prior to joining the Braves’ staff, Coach Collins spent a year coaching the Secondary for the University of Central Florida, where the Knights ranked 3rd in the C-USA defensive statistics. Coach Collins began his collegiate coaching career at Northwest Missouri State University as a Secondary/Assistant Special Teams Coach from 1996-1999. During those three seasons with the Bearcats, they won two NCAA Division II National Champions 1998, 1999. After leaving Northwest Missouri, he returned to his alma mater, the University of Northern Colorado as the Coordinator-Secondary/Special Teams, Strength and Conditioning during 1999-2003. While there, he helped to shape a defense that was ranked nationally from 2000-2003. When Coach Collins departed from the Bears, he became a part of the Jayhawks coaching staff. From 2003-06, he served in the capacity of the Special Teams and Cornerbacks Coach. During his tenure there, he organized the “Character First” and “Mentors” programs. Also, the Jayhawks’ defense was ranked 3rd in the Big12 and 20th in the nation. Coach Collins began his collegiate playing career at the University of Northern Colorado 1991-94, as a defensive back and punt returner. He earned All-North Central Conference honors following his senior year. He currently holds the Northern Colorado records for career (967) and season (497) punt return yards. Coach Collins received his B.A. in Kinesiology (Physical Education) from University of Northern
Colorado. In 2000, he received his M.S. in Athletic Administration from Northwest Missouri State University. He is a member of the NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interest Committee. Collins’ professional memberships include the Black Coaches Association and the American Football Coaches Association. He is married to Tabatha, and they have two daughters, Tayler and Marci.
Rockies get OF Murton from A’s for former Alcorn alum Wimberly The Colorado Rockies found the right-handed hitter they were seeking, acquiring Matt Murton from the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday for minor league infielder Corey Wimberly. “We don’t have a ton of right-handed bats in the organization,” Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd explained. “We like his athleticism and love him as a kid.” Murton has a .288 career average with 28 homers and 106 RBIs. He was among four players Oakland acquired from the Chicago Cubs in the Rich Harden trade in July. However, the 27-year-old Murton struggled last season, hitting just .186 with eight RBIs in 70 at-bats, including .100 in 30 at-bats with the A’s. He finished the season with Triple-A Sacramento, hitting .277 with one homer and 13 RBIs in 130 at-bats. “It’s a fresh start for him,” O’Dowd said. Wimberly, a 25-year-old infielder, hit .291 with 26 RBIs at Double-A Tulsa last year. He stole 59 bases, best in the Texas League and seventh overall in the minors. Colorado selected Wimberly in the sixth round of the 2005 amateur draft. He has 181 stolen bases in 354 minor league games. But with infielder Eric Young Jr. around, Wimberly was expendable. “You have to trade someone of value to get somebody back,” O’Dowd said. “We decided that E.Y. Jr. was ahead of him a little bit. Corey’s a good player. He’s going to help them, and turn out to be a good deal for them.” It’s the second trade the Rockies and Athletics have orchestrated this offseason. In November, Colorado sent All-Star slugger Matt Holliday to Oakland for reliever Huston Street, lefty Greg Smith and promising outfielder Carlos Gonzalez. Any coincidence the two sides got together for another deal? “Not really,” O’Dowd said. “We identified a group of right-handed bats in the game. (Murton) happened to be with Oakland.” The deal comes a day after Colorado agreed to a one-year, $7.05 million contract with third baseman Garrett Atkins, allowing the two sides to avoid arbitration. Now, the Rockies can focus on baseball, not business. “As I’ve said, contract signings are about the individual. Getting that behind us and focusing on the team is a priority for us,” O’Dowd said. Mississippi Sports Magazine - 53
DELTA STATE F I G H T I N ’ O K R A Ferris Museum begins preparartions for upcoming 2009 Baseball Season With the 2009 college baseball season opening Tuesday, Feb. 3, Delta State University archivist Emily Weaver has worked feverishly over the past week preparing the Dave “Boo” Ferriss Museum, located inside the Robert L. Crawford Center at Ferriss Field, for visitors this season. “We are blessed to have a wealth of exhibits and memorabilia, and the start of a new season is the perfect time to update the displays for the fans and visitors coming to games this season,” stated Weaver. “There are several new items ready for display and in the coming months we will change out some of the video clips within the multimedia display. It’s definitely an exciting time for fans of the Statesmen and coach Ferriss!” While the 2009 season promises to bring exciting baseball to Ferriss Field, visitors to the Ferriss Museum will have the opportunity to get to know a true Mississippi legend, coach “Boo” Ferriss. The Ferriss Museum will be open one hour prior to first pitch for all Delta State University home baseball games. Special tours may be arranged through the DSU Archives by calling (662) 846-4780 or the Department of Athletics at (662) 846-4300. For more information on the Ferriss Museum or DSU baseball, please log on to www.GoStatesmen.com.
Lady Statesmen picked to finish third; Place three on Preseason All-GSC team After losing five starters off of a team that posted a 33-26 record last season, the Lady Statesmen softball team has been picked to finished third in the Gulf South Conference West Division by the coaches, the GSC announced Tuesday. Arkansas Tech was picked to win the division for a second-straight year after advancing to the GSC Championship game last season, and Arkansas-Monticello was selected at No. 2. Alabama-Huntsville was picked to win the East Division and the GSC Tournament after repeating as champions last season, while Valdosta State is expected to finish second. Alabama-Huntsville also led all teams with six Preseason All-GSC selections, while Delta State was one of four schools with three selections, senior outfielder Brittany Tillery, junior pitcher Edie Oliver, and junior catcher Courtney Clark. Tillery led the Gulf South Conference with a .450 batting average, and was second in the conference with 27 stolen bases in 29 attempts, as well as team highs in home runs (9), RBIs (41), and hits (76). Oliver was an even .500, going 10-10 with a 3.44 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 128.1 innings pitched. She also hit .258 with seven RBIs in 31 54 - Mississippi Sports Magazine
at-bats. Clark drove in 28 runs and scored 26 while hitting .272 at the plate, and was one of the top defensive catchers, committing just four errors in 197 opportunities. The Lady Statesmen also added some topnewcomers to their roster in pitcher Brooke Allgood, outfielder Callie Weaver, and catcher Kim Hensley. The trio of junior college transfers brings both solid bats and excellent defensive skills, and Allgood has the experience of winning a NJCAA National Championship. The Lady Statesmen open the season against LSU-Alexandria with a double-header scheduled to begin at 4:00 p.m. at University Field in Cleveland.
INSIDE THE TREASURE CHEST: Spread Offense Reaping Rewards for Statesmen Troy Treasure, GoStatesmen.com Columnist The spread offense has ever so quickly, extended its tentacles from professional football down through the high school ranks. However, you have to go back a few years to reach the origin of Darrin Hicks’s attacking philosophy that has helped Delta State win back-to-back Gulf South Conference championships. The seed germinated with a player that eventually became a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. The roots sprouted from a small university on New York’s Long Island. The dividends are now in full bloom as the Statesmen have won 20 games during Hicks’s first two seasons as Delta State offensive coordinator. “The system is tied back into, and people down here would know this one, the old Hambone at Georgia Southern with Tracy Ham,” Hicks said. A somewhat diminutive, but truly gifted runner and passer, Ham quarterbacked the Eagles of Statesboro, Ga. to the 1985 and 1986 NCAA Division I-AA national championships. “The people I learned it from were at Hofstra University when it was first brought in,” Hicks said. “The beginning point was 1992 and if you were to look at that system and look at what we’re doing now, it wouldn’t look anything like it did 16 years ago. “Basketball on grass now is a vogue term here,” Hicks continued. “A part of the spread is you are trying to get the best possible athletes you have on the field out in open space. The more grass you can give them to work in, the better off they are going to be.” Hybrids of the spread have continued to create opportunities for quarterbacks like Ham, who often would have been perceived to have not met desired height requirements. For example, Texas prep quarterbacks Chase Daniel and Todd Reesing signed to play collegiately with Missouri and Kansas, respectively. Both guided their teams to success that neither the Tigers nor Jayhawks had experienced in decades. However, as recently as early this decade, Daniel and Reesing would have been considered by many
to be too under-sized to propel potent offenses in a high-profile conference such as the Big 12. At the Division II level, one only has to look at the recent work of Gulf South Conference QBs such as Arkansas-Monticello’s Scott Buisson, Delta State’s Garrett DeWitt and North Alabama’s A.J. Milwee. “Milwee is a great example. That guy is 5-foot-8 and he’s a great football player. He managed what they did over there extremely well,” Hicks said. “There’s Garrett DeWitt. The Buisson kid is the same type. He’s a tremendous athlete, he’s not very big but he gets the job done. “You’ve got to be able to know where the weakness is, find it fast, get the ball out and let it go,” Hicks further explained. “Intelligence and knowledge of system are more important than necessarily the physical attributes, have the cannon arm or being 6-5.” The avenues to success created by the spread are certainly not limited to quarterback. Hicks himself had the luxury of devising plays to best utilize the unique talents of Delta State’s Trevar Deed. To assign the 5-10, 200-pound Deed a specific positional designation would border on the ridiculous. As a sophomore, Deed rushed for 608 yards, but caught passes for nearly 900. Entering the 2009 season, Deed is considered to be one of the nation’s best small college players and preseason candidate for the Harlon Hill Trophy as D-II’s top performer. “A lot of our guys, when you look at it for what we do, are the converted I-formation tailbacks,” Hicks said. “We said he’s (Deed) a great football player, we’ll work with his hands ... he’s almost like a hybrid player. We want him to be able to line up all over the place and do just about everything.” Observing recent Division I play, Hicks spoke with respect of what he watched Florida’s Percy Harvin offer in the Gators’ Bowl Championship Series title victory against Oklahoma. “I’ve never seen anybody on the field that is that fast, ever,” Hicks said emphasizing the word ever. “There might be somebody that could beat him in the 40; I don’t think anybody could beat him on the field.” Would the 5-10, 190-pound Harvin have been able to make the Florida squad 10 years ago? “Probably not,” Hicks responded. “He probably would have been playing smaller division football, not that that is a bad thing, but he wouldn’t have been given the chance because of his size. He wouldn’t have fit the mold of what everybody was looking for.” With the field so stretched in a variety of ways, the spread has also significantly changed what college coaches desire in a middle linebacker. Hicks indicated the impact of inside linebackers becoming quasi-safeties is a point of emphasis. “You look at our guys, say a Lardester GreenHicks, he is not a guy, I guess, that is normal for football. He’s big, physical and fast. He’s capable of playing inside and stuffing the run but on the next snap, he can go outside and cover an inside receiver and have no trouble because
he’s got that skill-set. Those kind of players are hard to find.” Hicks cited Florida’s exploitation of Oklahoma’s defense as an example of how the spread and speed can dissect opposing schemes. “It’s all relative by division, but Oklahoma could not match the speed Florida had. Florida had too many guys that were too fast and they were just running around them,” Hicks said. I think coach (Bob) Stoops and the Oklahoma staff is one of the best in the country, but they just didn’t have the Jimmys and the Joes to match-up with Florida. Florida was unbelievably talented.”
Ferriss Field undergoing renovations before 2009 season begins Construction is almost complete on the latest additions to the Ferriss Field Baseball Complex, as the Delta State University baseball team prepares to open the season on Feb. 3 versus Belhaven. The facility will feature a new scoreboard and outfield fence when the season begins in a little over two weeks.
“We are moving right along with the scoreboard and outfield fence project,” said Mike Kinnison, Statesmen head coach. “The scoreboard will be completed by the end of next week and our fence company is started placing the netting and padding on the new wall on Wednesday.” The new additions will further enhance, what is already considered, one of the top facilties in the nation. Fans will have the opportunity to enjoy one of the few video replay boards at a DII school in the country. The new board features video replay, digital LED lighting, and an old-style clock sitting atop the structure. The new metal and padded fence replaces the old wooden structure, originally erected in 1998. All renovations and additions are scheduled to be completed by February 1.
Axe and Callender named to 2008 All-GSC Soccer team
the 2008 All-Gulf South Conference squads it was announced by the conference Wednesday morning. For the second time in history the men’s soccer team had two players selected for All-GSC, and the first time since 2006 when goalkeeper Evan Griffin and forward Mike Smith notched Second Team honors. Axe earned his first selection of his career as well as becoming the only Statesmen thus far to have First Team honors. Axe played in 15 games and finished with 6 goals and 3 assists for 15 points.Callendar, one of four Statesmen to have played all four seasons under head coach Jim Allen earned Second Team honors. Callendar played in all 18 games this season with 17 starts as one of three team captains. Finished the year with 2 goals and an assist. “This is a great day for our program,” head coach Jim Allen said. This proves that we have the players that can make an impact on a program and it really tops off a good season when the coaches get to vote who the best players are. I’m very proud of them”.
Sophomore midfielder Steven Axe and senior defender Ricardo Callender were selected on
MISS. COLLEGE C H O C TA W S Choctaws Put 50 on ASC Fall All-Academic Team Mississippi College placed 50 student-athletes on the American Southwest Conference Fall All-Academic honor roll announced by the ASC office on Wednesday (Nov. 26). The sports include cross country (9), football (17), soccer (20), and volleyball (4). 359 student-athletes from 15 universities and colleges have been recognized by the ASC on its 2008 Fall All-Academic honor roll. To be eligible for ASC All-Academic honors, student-athletes must have lettered in the fall 2008 season, be in at least the second academic year at their institution and carry a cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 3.00 or better. Men’s Cross Country Walt Clingon Mississippi College So. Political Science Biloxi, MS Will Clingon Mississippi College So. Secondary Education Biloxi, MS Donny Gable Mississippi College So. English Education Pass Christian, MS Women’s Cross Country Kimberly Armstrong Mississippi College Sr. Communications Jackson, MS Amber Griffis Mississippi College Jr. Biology Hattiesburg, MS Jessica McGee Mississippi College Jr. Math Education Ellisville, MS Emily Bordenave Mississippi College So. Kinesiology Belle Chase, LA Ivy Price Mississippi College So. Biology Corinth, MS Sloan Tranum Mississippi College So. Nursing Cleveland, MS Football Skipper Chappelka Mississippi College Sr. Business Administration Auburn, AL Ryne Davison Mississippi College Sr. Business Administration Fairhope, AL Kyle Kruse Mississippi College Sr. Kinesiology Metairie, LA Javier Pere Mississippi College Sr. Biology Natchitoches, LA Brannon Willisson Mississippi College Sr. Business Administration Fairhope, AL Renard Ellis Mississippi College Jr. Business Administration Winter Haven, FL Brian Heiser Mississippi College Jr. Kinesiology Merritt Island, FL Adam Shaffer Mississippi College Jr. Chemistry Brandon, MS Brent Thompson Mississippi College Jr. Biology Franklin, TN Brett Barnhill Mississippi College So. Christian Studies Birmingham, AL Matt Burke Mississippi College So. Kinesiology Hernando, MS Zack Fowler Mississippi College So. Mathematics Birmingham, AL Kerry Geter Mississippi College So. Business Administration Atlanta, GA Cody Goss Mississippi College So. Kinesiology Philadelphia, MS Dale Meitzler Mississippi College So. Kinesiology Picayune, MS Kyle Moore Mississippi College So. Biology Rayville, LA Nolan Willisson Mississippi College So. Business Administration Fairhope, AL
Men’s Soccer Jack Craven Mississippi College Sr. Kinesiology Pearl, MS Hunter Evans Mississippi College Jr. Biology Clinton, MS Chris Penton Mississippi College Jr. Biology Gautier, MS Michael Princiotta Mississippi College Jr. Biology Ocean Springs, MS Charlie Sanderson Mississippi College Jr. Kinesiology Laurel, MS Andrew Dailey Mississippi College So. Business Administration Tupelo, MS Joel Fahling Mississippi College So. Kinesiology Tupelo, MS Zach Johnson Mississippi College So. Biology/Pre-Med St. Martin, MS Stirling Foxworth Mississippi College So. Christian Studies Starkville, MS Women’s Soccer Marley Bankston Mississippi College Sr. Biology New Orleans, LA Emily Swinford Mississippi College Sr. Kinesiology Mandeville, LA Carrie Kirk Mississippi College Jr. Christian Studies Madison, MS Christa Sutter Mississippi College Jr. Marketing Lafayette, LA Kasey Ambrose Mississippi College So. Biology El Paso, TX Meredith Brown Mississippi College So. Biology/Pre-Med Tuscaloosa, AL Katie Dennis Mississippi College So. Biology Madison, MS Ramonia Forbes Mississippi College So. Biology Madison, MS Hollye Henderson Mississippi College So. Undecided Clinton, MS Brittany Patrick Mississippi College So. Biology Navarre, FL Heather Roberson Mississippi College So. Nursing Madison, MS Volleyball Katie Brandon Mississippi College Jr. Biology/Pre-Med Hoover, AL Megan Venture Mississippi College Jr. Graphic Design Harahan, LA Sarah Conway Mississippi College So. Kinesiology Johns Creek, GA Amanda Greene Mississippi College So. Nursing Alabaster, AL
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MILLSAPS M A J O R S Record 75 Millsaps Student-Athletes Land on SCAC Honor Roll The Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) named a record 776 student-athletes to the 2008 SCAC Fall Academic Honor Roll on Tuesday. This year’s total eclipsed last year’s previous record of 715 student-athletes. Since its inception in the fall of 1997, over 13,700 student-athletes have achieved recognition for their contributions in the classroom. To qualify, a student-athlete must maintain a minimum grade-point average of 3.25 for the term and be a regular member of a varsity athletic team in a sport sponsored by the conference. Millsaps had a school-record 75 selections, surpassing its previous high of 51 selections to the fall 2007 list. Sport-by-sport winners are listed below. Football: Travis Banta, Tony Bellan, Garrett Bizzell, J.R. Burnett, Cree Cantrell, Alex Cashman, Will Chandler, Taylor Cheeseman, Ward Coker, Chris Cousin, David Dale, Gary Davis, Will Derrick, Oliver Galicki, Nick Dubuisson, Jordan Gunther, Bryce Haddad, Jacob Hanberry, Andrew Hatten, Will Hawkins, Sam Herman, David Higgins, Schuyler Huff, Juan Joseph, Lee Klein, Jerel Mair, Kenny Metzger, John Milazzo, Keith Naccari, Nick Namias, Burt Pereira, Kevin Peters, Taylor Russolino, Brandon Ryon, Miles Sager, John Verzwyvelt, Andres Wallace, Frederick Wiley. Cross Country: Lloyd Gray, Will Lammons, Ben McNair, Taylor Weglicki, Anna Allred, Anna Johnson. Men’s Soccer: Dylan Broussard, Luke Campbell, Drew Dews, Domenick DiPaolo, Phil Guillot, Brandon Mong, Drew Moroux, Christopher Peyton. Women’s Soccer: Anne Waldrop, Emily Townsend, Callaghan Starrett, Elizabeth Sooby, Erin Sanford, Leslie Robichaux, Mary Richard, Hollie Penuel, Caitlyn Page, Sarah Nelin, Lissa McManus, Kristen Massey, Madei Levey, Molly Beth Jourdan, Bobbi Jones, Meredith Harris, Jessica Harris, Laura Gray, Hayley Barber. Volleyball: Amanda Cain, Toni Manley, Victoria Romano, Maggie Tumminelo.
Purple Reign T-Shirts still available for purchase Although the historical 2008 football season suddenly came to a close just six weeks ago, you’re chance to remember the season with a “Purple Reign” t-shirt is still available. Over 250 t-shirts were sold during the Majors’ playoff run, but close to 50 remain after presold shirts were never paid for or picked up. 56 - Mississippi Sports Magazine
The goal was to help use the money towards the new athletic website that was recently launched (www.gomajors.com) and now we have over $400 in outstanding shirts. If you have a shirt that was never picked up or simply want to purchase one to keep as a way to remember the season, please email sports information director Kevin Maloney at mazauka@ millsaps.edu. The shirt is $10 and can be paid by cash or check made payable to Millsaps Athletics. We can also mail your shirt to you if you’re not in the area.
Millsaps lands record 28 on 2008 All-SCAC Football Team After a season in which Millsaps ran roughshod through the league with a perfect 10-0 regular season mark (7-0 in conference) and managed an average margin victory of 31 points, the Majors were awarded for their dominance with today’s announcement of the 2008 All-SCAC Football team. In exclusive voting by the head coaches of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference, Millsaps racked up on the major awards as quarterback Juan Joseph was selected as the league’s Offensive Player-of-the-Year for the third consecutive season, freshman running back Shane Bowser was named Co-Newcomerof-the-Year, receiver/return specialist Michael Galatas earned the league’s Special Teams Player-of-the-Year award and head coach Mike DuBose was named SCAC Coach-of-the-Year for the second time. In that same balloting, Mason Mosby of Rhodes College was voted the league’s Defensive Player-of-the-Year and Tyler Osterman of Centre College shared Newcomer-of-the-Year honors with Bowser. Juan Joseph, a 6-2, 188-pound senior quarterback from Edgard, La., is the first player in SCAC history to earn the league’s Offensive POTY award three times. A three-time SCAC Player-of-the-Week during the season (giving him nine awards for this career), Joseph has completed 270 of 403 passes for 3,130 yards with 31 touchdowns against just six interceptions through the first round of the NCAA playoffs. He was a two-time D3football.com Team of the Week honoree and had five 300-yard+ passing games, which included a school-record six TD passing performance against Rhodes. His 2008 passing yardage total is the third-most in a single season in league history and his TD passing total is tied for fourth. For his career, Joseph is the league’s all-time leader in total offense (9,467 yards) and is second in passing yards (8,962) - just 46 yards from the SCAC record. His 86 career touchdown passes ranks third on the league’s all-time charts. Joseph received eight votes in the Offensive POTY voting with Chris Baer of Trinity University receiving the remaining vote. Mason Mosby, a 6-0, 210-pound senior
linebacker from Hernando, Miss., led the SCAC in both tackles (118) and tackles per game (13.1) this season. Through the end of the regular season, Mosby was second in the nation in both solo and total tackles per game. The SCAC Defensive Player-of-the-Week in Week 2, Mosby finished the season with 66 solo and 52 assisted tackles and forced three fumbles. He also had four sacks, seven tackles for loss and two interceptions. Mosby is the second consecutive Defensive Player- of-the-Year selection from Rhodes, following teammate and fellow linebacker Desmond Hendricks. Mosby received three votes in the Defensive POTY balloting to nose out Chalankis Brown of Sewanee-University of the South, Adam Hay of Centre and Marcus Harris of Millsaps who each received two votes. Shane Bowser, a 5-8, 190-pound freshman running back from Pass Christian, Miss., has a team-high 10 combined touchdowns for the Majors (five rushing, five receiving) this season, which includes the first score of Saturday’s 5126 NCAA First Round victory over LaGrange College. He has 60 points scored on the season (second on the team), and is averaging 60.4 all-purpose yards per game (third on the team). He also has 12 tackles on special teams. Bowser leads all Millsaps backs in rushing yards (340) and TDs (10). Tyler Osterman, a 6-1, 180-pound first-year quarterback from Monroe, Ohio, led Centre to a 5-1 record after he became the team’s starter. Osterman completed 108 of 174 passes for 1,206 yards and 10 touchdowns, and also rushed 82 times for 222 yards and three more scores. His 158.7 yards of total offense per game was good for fourth in the SCAC and he also punted six times for an average of 38.8 yards. Osterman’s poise and leadership provided the team a rallying point as the Colonels finished 7-3 (5-2 in the SCAC), which included a 26-17 victory over then #16 Trinity. Bowser and Osterman each received four votes in the balloting, with Al Furlow of Trinity receiving one vote. Michael Galatas, a 5-9, 170-pound receiver/kick returner from Lacombe, La., had both a punt return (49 yards) and kick return (71 yards) for touchdown, becoming the first Millsaps player to perform that feat since 2006. He is currently third in the league in kick return average (23.6 yards per return) and has six kick returns of 30+ yards. Galatas was twice named the SCAC Special Teams Player-of-the-Week this season. As a receiver, Galatas was selected to the First Team after catching 33 passes for 589 yards and four TDs Galatas garnered five votes in the Special Teams Player-of-the-Year voting. Jordan Havercamp of DePauw University received two votes, and David Langston of BirminghamSouthern College and Caleb Urban of Trinity received one vote each. After guiding Millsaps to its third playoff bid in school history and second in three years, Mike DuBose was selected by his peers as SCAC Coach-of-the-Year. He also won the honor in 2006. The Majors ran the table in 2008, posting a perfect 10-0 regular season mark - the
school’s first unbeaten season since 1980 and first-ever 10-win campaign. In three seasons, DuBose is 19-1 all-time in SCAC games; 26-6 overall. Millsaps is currently riding a 13-game win streak, which ties a school record for most consecutive wins and is the longest current streak in all of Division III. The Majors improved to 11-0 on Saturday with a 51-26 victory over LaGrange (Ga.) College in the first round of the NCAA Football Playoffs. DuBose captured eight votes in the COTY balloting. Andy Frye of Centre received the remaining vote.
2008 SCAC Football Offensive Player-ofthe-Year: Juan Joseph Millsaps Sr. QB 6-2 188 Edgard, La. 2008 SCAC Football Defensive Player-of-the-Year: Mason Mosby Rhodes Sr. LB 6-0 210 Hernando, Miss. 2008 SCAC Football Special Teams Player-of-the-Year: Michael Galatas Millsaps So. KR 5-9 159 Lacombe, La. 2008 SCAC Football Newcomer-of-the-Year: Shane Bowser Millsaps Fy. RB 5-8 190 Pass Christian, Miss. 2008 SCAC Football Coach-ofthe-Year: Mike DuBose Millsaps 11-0 overall / 7-0 SCAC (1st place) / NCAA Playoffs
6-4 fielders choice for the second out of the inning. Delta State pitcher Korey Cunningham then uncorked a wild pitch sending Westcott down to second with Craig Dean at the plate. Dean then shot a two out single into left field bringing in Westcott to tie the game at one a piece. Dean was thrown out trying to stretch the single into a double to end the inning.
Millsaps players on 2008 All-SCAC Football team 2008 All-SCAC First Team Offense Linemen (Six selected) John Shivers ................ Millsaps . ........Jr. .... G ......... 6-1 278 ...................... Somerville, Ala. Andres Wallace . .......... Millsaps . ........Sr. ... G ......... 6-0 300 ............... Boynton Beach, Fla. Wide Receivers (Four selected) Eric McCarty . .............. Millsaps . ........Sr..... WR ...... 6-0 186................ Grand Prairie, Texas Michael Galatas............ Millsaps...........So.... WR ...... 5-9 159 ......................... Lacombe, La. Offensive Backs (Three selected) *Shane Bowser ............ Millsaps . ........Fy. ... RB . ...... 5-8 190 ...............Pass Christian, Miss. *One of three players tied for the final offensive back position.
Quarterback (One selected) Juan Joseph ................. Millsaps . ........Sr..... QB ....... 6-2 188 ............................ Edgard, La. Place-Kicker (One selected) Taylor Russolino . ......... Millsaps . ........So.... PK . ...... 6-0 170 .......................... Metairie, La. 2008 All-SCAC First Team Defense Linemen (Five selected) Denarold Anderson ..... Millsaps...........Sr..... DE......... 6-0 250............................. Edgard, La. Linebackers (Four selected) Lee Klein....................... Millsaps . ........Jr. .... LB ........ 5-11 219 .................. Lakeshore, Miss. Defensive Backs (Five selected) Marcus Harris .............. Millsaps . ........Sr. ... DB ....... 5-9 175 .....................Vicksburg, Miss. Jonathan Brooks .......... Millsaps . ........Sr. ... DB ....... 5-8 175 ........................... Roxie, Miss. *Jacob Hanberry ......... Millsaps . ........Sr. ... DB ....... 6-1 177 ........................... Cut Off, La. *Three players tied for the final two defensive back positions.
2008 All-SCAC Second Team Offense Raymece Savage ......... Millsaps . ........Sr. ... WR ...... 5-9 197 ...........................Monroe, La. 2008 All-SCAC Second Team Defense Cap White ................... Millsaps . ........Sr. ... LB ........ 5-10 210 ..................... Natchez, Miss. 2008 All-SCAC Honorable Mention Burt Pereira (Sr., WR/QB), Michael Sims (Sr., DB), Chris Skinner (So., RB), Marcus Stokes (Sr., DL), Adam Williams (So., OL)
BELHAVEN BLAZERS Blazers Upset Top-Ranked Delta State On a cold and windy day for baseball, the Belhaven baseball team traveled to Delta State University on Tuesday afternoon and came away with a 7-1 victory over the Statesman. It was the Blazers sixth win of the season against just one defeat in 2009. Tuesday’s contest was the first game of the season for the Statesman who entered the year ranked first in the NCAA Division II preseason poll. The game was a pitchers duel through the first seven innings of play with the score tied
at 1-1 going into the eighth inning. After the Blazers went down in order in the top of the first inning, Delta State scored their only run of the game in the bottom of the first when third baseman Kellen Boseman hit a two out single to bring home Clay Sartain from third base making it 1-0 Statesman. Belhaven got on the board in the fourth inning when Timmy Foster singled with one out to get the offense going. Foster was then forced out at second when Craig Westcott hit into a
The Statesman would mount scoring threats in the bottom of the fourth when David Mooney led off the inning with double and in the sixth with a one out single by Bozeman and a subsequent balk by Hinton moving him to second. However, each time Hinton stepped up and made some quality pitches to keep Delta State off the board. The Statesman made a bid to regain the lead again in the seventh putting runners on first and third, but once again Hinton battled to keep the game tied 1-1. In the top of the eighth, Brian McCormick was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Lake Eiland then came to the plate and bunted the ball back to the mound. Pitcher Toby Easterly tried to get the force at second, but McCormick hustled up the line and beat Easterly’s throw. Chanse Cooper followed with a textbook sacrifice bunt moving McCormick to third and Eiland to second. It looked like Easterly might wiggle off the hook by striking out Shawn Diehl leaving runners at second and third with two outs. Timmy Foster came to the plate and fell behind in the count 0-2, but on the next pitch lined a two out single into left center field plating two runs. Westcott followed with a single and then Dean doubled down the right field line driving home the third run of the inning giving the Blazers a 4-1 advantage. Riley Galloway came in to relieve Hinton in the eighth and worked a scoreless inning to set up another three run frame by the Blazers. All three runs came with two outs and were unearned due to a key error by shortstop Devin Goodwin which gave Belhaven an extra out. Foster delivered again in the clutch blasting a two out double into left field with runners on second and third extending the Belhaven lead to 6-1. Westcott added another insurance run with a two out single up the middle sending home Cooper. Galloway came back out for the ninth and slammed the door on the Statesman to preserve the 7-1 Blazer victory to earn his first save of the season. Hinton earned his first victory of the year going the first seven innings allowing only one run on five hits. Easterly was tagged with his first loss of the season for Delta State. Offensively, Belhaven was paced by Foster who went 3 for 5 with four RBI’S. Dean had three hits in four at bats and added two RBI’S. Westcott got credit for the other run batted in, collecting two hits in five at bats. Mississippi Sports Magazine -57
S P E C I A L TO M S M
TOWNSEND By CHUCK STINSON
Photos by Pittsburgh Steelers/Danielle Hudak & Mike Fabus
ormer South Panola standout Deshea Townsend just completed his eleventh NFL season, all with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Chuck Stinson from WLBT had a chance to talk to Deshea moments after he and his teammates won Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa on Sunday, February 1st. Here are some of Deshea’s thoughts about the game about the Steelers and about his second world championship. Chuck - “I’ve got to give you a little bit of grief first, were you blocking James Harrison (on the 100 yard touchdown return in the first half ) or were you trying to help him?” Deshea - “Initially I wanted the ball. Because I figured I was a little faster than him and I could get down there a little quicker. But after we had a little conversation on the field that he wasn’t gonna give it to me, I had to go block (laughs).” Chuck - “So you were trying to be the Super Bowl MVP.” Deshea - “No question. No question. That’s a great Cadillac to add to my dad’s house. It would have been nice.” Chuck - “You’ve been in this league eleven years. All for the Pittsburgh Steelers. You’ve got to be proud as you’ve ever been to win two Super Bowl championships.” Deshea - “That’s always what you play for. You know every training camp we come into it saying we want to win the Super Bowl. And to be here eleven years and to just have the opportunity to win two, lets you know how hard it is. But I’m appreciative for my two and just glad we have a great organization of guys 56 - Mississippi Sports Magazine 58
who fight for one another. It’s just a good feeling.” Chuck - “They started moving the ball, it was nerve racking for you at the end.” Deshea - “Yeah, we left them in the game. You can’t give a great offense like that justice. We knew they averaged 30 points in the playoffs. They are very productive. But you know it’s always good to have one more than they do and today we have four more.” Chuck - “Congratulations Deshea on a second world championship.” Deshea - “Thank you, what’s up Mississippi! That’s what we do. Mississippi in the house.” What some of the Steelers are saying about Deshea. “Deshea is one of the best leaders on this team. Him, Hines Ward, James Farrior. He has everything to do with the success of our secondary. He helps guys get lined up teaching guys how to play ball. Just the way he communicates with everybody. He’s a big part of our success.” Troy Polamalu-Steelers safety “Deshea is another one of those guys that puts team first. He went into the season as a starter. He lost his starting job because he got injured. Other people came in and played well. He didn’t blink. He just does what we ask him to do and he does it extremely well. He takes pride in it. He’s a great leader. He’s a special person.” Mike Tomlin-Steelers head coach – MSM
Batesville native, Deshea Townsend has played in two Super Bowls, Super Bowl XLIII & Super Bowl XL (both Steeler victories). In those two games he accumulated nine Tackles and one Quarterback sack.
Mississippi Sports Magazine -59
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60 - Mississippi Sports Magazine PUBLISHING
L E T T E R S TO T H E P U B L I S H E R
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Left to Right: Back row, Coach Nutt; Next row, John Scott Milam, Parker Gilbert, Wilson Furr, James McLemore, William Mitchell, Gage Morgan, Owen Fracchia; Front, Max Milam, Win Varner.
What a Guy! Dear Mississippi Sports Magazine, Whether you are an Ole Miss fan or not, it is still impressive...... What a good hire was made with Houston Nutt and it has nothing to do with football! Earlier this year, Coach Nutt was visiting a recruit in Jackson who lives two doors from my daughter and her family. It was big news to us and the neighborhood especially after the season the Rebels had. My ten year old grandson Wilson Furr (standing third from left) told his friends and they all dressed in Ole Miss garb and made signs. They waited in the rain (as you can see from their wet hair) for Coach Nutt to round the corner. The car passed them. The driver said that Coach Nutt yelled to stop and back up. Coach got out of the car in the rain, took pictures with the boys and autographed all their posters. It meant so much to them and their parents. Obviously, Houston Nutt has dedication, integrity and is a true gentleman. If some of these boys were not Rebels, they certainly are now. His genuine kindness is much appreciated by this Rebel fan. And by the way, winning the Cotton Bowl was pretty spectacular too! Hotty Toddy, Lulu Maness Jackson, MS To Contact MSM > LETTERS • email MSM at email@example.com or mail to Mississippi Sports Magazine, 405 Knights Cove West, Brandon, Mississippi 39047. Letters should include writer’s full name, address and home phone number and may be edited for clarity and space. ADVERTISING • For ad rates, editorial calendar or a media kit, email MSM at firstname.lastname@example.org or download a PDF of our media kit at www. mssportsmagazine.com.
Your mother dropped off copies of Mississippi Sports Magazine to my office. I’m most impressed! My husband and I have read them cover to cover and I can honestly say you’ve given equal coverage to all sports and on broad basis. You mother told me such a publication had always been a dream of yours. I’m happy to see you bring it to fruition. My best wishes for many years of a successful publishing. With Regards, Rosemary Aultman, Mayor, City of Clinton
VISIT US ONLINE FOR BLOGS, NEWS, PHOTOS & MORE! www.myspace.com/ mssportsmag Mississippi Sports Magazine - 61
(Left to Right) The Frascognaâ€™s Marty, Mike, Jr. and Mike, III
The Official Storytellers of Mississippi High School Football The Frascognaâ€™s talk about their leap into publishing and the traditions and rivalries that make up Mississippi high school football. Interview by GREG PEVEY 62 - Mississippi Sports Magazine
On Friday nights in Mississippi, high school football is where it’s at. In towns and cities all across the state, business owners close their stores and the downtown area becomes a ghost-town except for one spot, the local high school football stadium. I sat down with Mike Frascongna, Jr and his two sons Mike, III and Marty to talk about these rivalries that cover our state. Rivalries so storied in tradition that the Frascogna’s decided to write about them in their books, in conjunction with the Mississippi Sports Council, “Gridiron Gold” and “Y’all vs. Us.” With these two books, I consider the Frascogna’s the “official storytellers of Mississippi high school football.” MSM: So how did the idea of writing two books about high school football in Mississippi come about? Frascogna: The idea started back when we began representing the Mississippi Sports Council and they brought in the NFL games back in the mid and late 90’s. Subsequent to that the Sports Council had published two books, “For the Love of the Game” by Jim Fraiser which chronicles the rivalry between Millsaps and Mississippi College, and Nicky Arthur wrote a book about Bill Rayfield, the legendary Jackson St. Joe coach who coached there for 45 years. Mike and I happened to be at a Sports Council meeting when they brought up the idea of doing another book. They said we should do a book about high school football and what makes it so special here in Mississippi. Mike III and I both raised our hands and said “We’ll do that one!” . We have always had a fondness for high school football and we felt we understood the uniqueness of the state and the impact it makes in the communities in Mississippi. We then traveled all over the state interviewing 136 coaches and developed the story-line for “Gridiron Gold.” MSM: How was the interview process with all the coaches? I’m sure lining up 136 interviews was not an easy thing to do? Frascogna: We talked to Dr. Ennis Proctor and Dr. Phyfa Eiland and they were very excited about the idea of the book and they took it upon themselves to line up the interviews for us. We collected 15-20 coaches at a time all in one place and held group interviews which pretty much lasted all day. Some would come by the office and meet with us as well. MSM: Your second book about the great high school rivalries in Mississippi, “Y’all vs. Us”, was a great success also. How did the idea for that come about? Frascogna: That was easy too. As we interviewed all the coaches, they really helped to develop the idea. They all commented on those special games they play every year. They would tell us about these great little rivalries like Boonville vs. Baldwyn. We’ve heard a little bit about that game here in the Jackson area, but to those two communities there is such a history and we really don’t know how deep the rivalry really goes. It really peaked our curiosity and we thought this would be a great way to follow up “Gridiron Gold.” Let’s do a book on all the great rivalries we have here in Mississippi.
MSM: How long did it take to put these books together? Frascogna: From start to finish with “Gridiron Gold” it took us one year to complete and to get it on the market. “Y’all vs. Us” only took us about 8 months from start to finish. We did 586 interviews at 30 different schools. It was a lot of fun and we heard some fascinating stories about these games. MSM: Coach James Sloan was recently quoted saying about the rivalries of old... “The Little Dixie was a bloodbath every week. It was like the SEC, where each game was a rivalry and teams like Warren Central, Pearl or Forest Hill wanted to beat your brains out and vice-versa - the rivalries in those days were extremely bitter and extended to the communities. Today, high school teams play each other and most don’t have any real history between the schools or towns. It’s not the same.” How do you respond to that quote? Frascogna: I agree with that completely. When the playoffs started in the early 80’s the schools were put into districts and every two years they were reclassified. With the shifting populations and demographics some of those rivalries are now gone. Back in the conference days with the Big Eight, Little Dixie, The Chickasaw Conference and on and on, those conferences were set up along geographic lines. You had interaction between those towns and communities. That interaction fed the rivalry. I think Coach Sloan is right on the money. Fortunately, even with all the moving and shaking with the districts, some of these rivalries have survived. With some of these rivalries it doesn’t matter about the districts. One school may move up to 4A while the other stays at 3A or drops to 2A, but they have been playing for so long and have such a history they are going to continue to play no matter what. We asked the coaches at Green County and George County, no matter what class they end up in whether it’s 10A vs. 1A they are playing every year! With District play it has really changed up how the schedules are laid out every year. All these rivalries used to be the last game of the year. Now it seems that some of these games are being played earlier in the season. Brandon and Pearl now play the first game of the year. I don’t think that it takes away from the intensity of these rivalries but it does hurt some of the build up that came along with them as the season went along. It takes away some of the fun in other words. But with District play it helps in giving us a true state Champion. MSM: Are there any other plans for a new book to follow up with these two? Frascogna: We are thinking about taking these book ideas to other states in the South. States like Alabama and Georgia have a great high school football tradition as well. “Y’all vs, Us” is a brand now. We would love to give the people in these other states the opportunity to read about some of the great high school rivalries they have there. High school football in the South has plenty of stories to be told. Let’s share them with everyone we can. - MSM Mississippi Sports Magazine - 63
One of the great ideas the Frascogna’s had when they wrote “ Y’all vs. Us” was to make these books special to the communities involved by making a special dust jacket for each of the 15 rivalries they spotlighted. Here is a look at all the covers and the rivalries that grace these cover. Visit www.yallvsus.com to order online and to see where you can pick up a copy. ACKERMAN VS. EUPORA
BILOXI VS. GULFPORT
BOONEVILLE VS. BALDWYN
BRANDON VS. PEARL
BROOKHAVEN VS. McCOMB
CLINTON VS. MADISON CENTRAL
GREENE COUNTY VS. GEORGE COUNTY
JACKSON PREP VS. JACKSON ACADEMY
LAFAYETTE COUNTY VS. OXFORD
MERIDIAN VS. OAK GROVE
PASCAGOULA VS. MOSS POINT
WARREN CENTRAL VS. VICKSBURG
WEST JONES VS. WAYNE COUNTY
SOUTH PANLONA VS. OLIVE BRANCH 64 - Mississippi Sports Magazine
TUPELO VS. STARKVILLE
the other end of the line said, ‘Hey, Booty’, I knew they’d have to be someone that lived north of I-20. “You could go to downtown Shannon today and they might not know James Sloan but Booty Sloan, they’d know.” Confidence in his own skin, or nickname, is a Booty Sloan trademark Ex-Arrows receiver Tony James, who went on to become an All-SEC performer at Mississippi State after playing for Sloan in the late 80s, recalls a 7-0 playoff win against Meridian during the ’87 season that was a clear reflection of the coach’s style. “I’ll never forget this one particular play that he called in the game,” he said. “We had third-and-20 from the Meridian 36yard line and he called a timeout. I’m playing tailback and he calls a counter (running) play. I’m thinking we need to pass.” A big smile suddenly envelops Sloan’s face, says James. “Before I go back on the field, Coach yelled, ‘Tony, we got’em baby!’” he said. James proceeded to bolt 36 yards on the counter play for the only score of the game. “His confidence was amazing,” he said. * * * Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant once told a reporter his secret to being a successful football coach. “Show class, have pride and display character,” he said. “If you do, the winning takes care of itself.” Byrant could have easily been speaking of James “Booty” Sloan. Following his remarks to the crowd that assembled for his tribute, Sloan was presented with a scrapbook containing newspaper stories from each of his 13-seasons as coach by Clinton Touchdown Club president Carl Dukes. A framed original by renowned Clinton artist Wyatt Waters was also presented by Waters’ brother Joel, a former Arrows player. The artwork, a Clinton Arrows logo on a white background, was signed by his ex-players and coaches. The night of tribute to Sloan concluded with Maxey reading a proclamation from Gov. Haley Barbour proclaiming Jan. 17 as “James Sloan Day” in the state of Mississippi.
Players, coaches and fans mingled together long afterwards, basking in the glow of the evening. Photo-ops were abundant, with brilliant flashes of light filling the hall amidst the conversations and back slaps. An observer noted the lack of many dry eyes in Anderson Hall. “Coach Sloan’s focus was on people, not just football,” said Jim Turcotte, a co-organizer of the event who played for Sloan. “One thing I learned from him was that anybody can take a short-cut but true character does the right thing every time, even when no one is looking.”
The echoes of past victories and championship seasons at Clinton’s Roy Burkett Field, and the people who relished them still reverberates in Sloan’s heart today. The wonderful feelings about Clinton, he says, will last forever. “Wanda and I will take them with us to the grave,” he said. So will those fortunate enough to have played football for Booty Sloan. - MSM Freelance writer Nash Nunnery was the starting left guard on the 1972 Little Dixie Conference champion Arrows, James Sloan’s first Clinton team.
Mini Ticket Plans Have Arrived!
For the first time ever, the Mississippi Braves are offering Mini Ticket Plans for the 2009 season. Visit or call the M-Braves ticket office to purchase your tickets today at 601-932-8788 or 888-Braves4
Photo Credit: Rick Guy/Clarion Ledger
COACH SLOAN Continued from page 17
Mississippi Sports Magazine - 65
HIGH SCHOOL NOTEBOOK
Proctor is NFHS President Elect A tremendous honor to Mississippi and to the Mississippi High School Activities Association
t its July meeting in Washington, D. C., the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Board of Directors elected Dr. Ennis Proctor, executive director of the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA), to the position of president-elect for the upcoming year. For the first time since its founding in 1922, the Mississippi High School Activities Association has an executive director on the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Board of Directors. Now Proctor has achieved another first by being elected as the president-elect of that body. The NFHS is the national leadership organization that is dedicated to the future of high school sports and activities, as it helps educators and associations prepare for change and innovation and encourages participation that will help students prepare for their lives. This Federation includes 51 state associations. After being discharged from the U. S. Marine Corps, Proctor’s teaching and coaching career began in the Titusville, Florida, public schools in 1964. In 1967, he became head coach and athletic director at Raymond High School, where he also taught social studies. He then became the head football coach and baseball coach prior to being named assistant principal at Jackson’s Wingfield High School. Next he ascended to the position of principal at Peeples Junior High School and Forest Hill High School. In 1991, Proctor was named executive director of the MHSAA, assuming the leadership of a financially strapped organization with few activities. Among his responsibilities, Proctor oversees the MHSAA’s eligibility rules, hardship
66 - Mississippi Sports Magazine
rulings, statewide championship events, rules interpretations, and academic activities. The MHSAA is responsible for both academic and athletic competitions for its 567 member schools. The greatly expanded competitions of this now financially secure organization include debate, drama, speech, writing, band, choral along with 24 athletic championships.The MHSAA encourages academics through its Lindy Callahan Scholar Athlete Program and through its Cellular South Gameplan program. Recently Dr. Proctor worked with author X. M. Frascogna, Jr. to produce Gridiron Gold, an examination of Mississippi high school football and its legendary coaches. Dr. Proctor wrote the foreword to this outstanding book. He also wrote the epilogue to Y’all vs Us, the story of fifteen outstanding Mississippi football rivalries. Proctor’s many honors include his induction into the Mississippi Coaches’ Hall of Fame in 1996. The All-American Football Foundation also named him Outstanding Executive Director. He was named Coach of the Year in baseball and football. The Mississippi College Department of Education selected Proctor for its 1994 Distinguished Education Alumnus Award; and in 2000, he received the Lamar Moody Award from Mississippi State University. Recently he was named to Mississippi College’s prestigious Order of the Golden Arrow. In 2007 he was selected Captain for the Alabama/Mississippi All-Star Classic; and he is being inducted into the
Alabama/Mississippi All-Star Classic Hall of Fame in December 2008. Proctor served as president of both the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and the South Jackson Rotary Club. At the national level, Proctor previously served on the NFHS Appeals Board, the National Meeting Advisory Committee, the NFHS Football Rules Committee, and the NFHS Hall of Fame Screening Committee. Earlier this year, he was chair of the Operations Subcommittee of the NFHS Strategic Planning Committee. Proctor received his bachelor’s, master’s, and education specialist degrees from Mississippi College and a doctoral degree from Mississippi State University. - MSM For Additional Information Contact: Phyfa D. Eiland 601-924-6400 or pdeiland@ comcast.net
Mississippi Coach Receives National Recognition The National Federation of State High School Associations Coaches Association has announced that Coach Roy Hazzle from Aberdeen High School is the 2008 NFHS Coaches Association National Coach of the Year in the sport of Boys’ Basketball. A thirty-two year teaching and coaching veteran in the Aberdeen School District, Coach Hazzle is in his 22nd year of coaching basketball at Aberdeen High School. During that period of time he has posted 445 wins and 214 losses. His teams have been conference champions 8 times; district champions 8 times; team regional champions 8 times; and state runner-up finalists 4 times. He and his team won the State Championship for boys’ basketball in 2007. His numerous awards include the following: the 2007 Winningest Coach Award by the Aberdeen High School Athletic Booster Club, the 2008 Outstanding Service award, the 2008 Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal Coach of the Year Award, and the 2008 Northeast Mississippi Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year for 3A, 4A, and 5A. Mayor Cecil Belle of Aberdeen presented Coach Hazzle with the Key to the City in appreciation for his service to young people and to the community. A 1977 health and physical education graduate of Mississippi Valley State University, Coach Hazzle returned to his high school in Aberdeen to coach and he has worked hard to develop players into good citizens for the future. He says, “My philosophy of coaching centers around getting the best out of my young men. I try to develop in each of my players a desire to give his best as a member of a team. If I can instill this team attitude in each of my players, I know I have given each young man an attitude that will take him far in life.” Upon hearing about this latest honor, Aberdeen Superintendent George Gilreath said, “Coach Roy Hazzle is a soft-spoken coach who never has to yell at his players. His players and the entire community have tremendous respect for him, and they listen intently whenever
contribution to high school athletics. Being selected as a National Coach of the Year is a wonderful honor for Coach Hazzle, a very deserving individual.” The NFHS Coaches Association is the official professional organization for coaches of the National Federation of he speaks.” Dr. Ennis Proctor, Executive Director State High School Associations. The of the Mississippi High School Activities following criteria were used in selecting Association, stated, “Coach Roy Hazzle the national coaches of the year: career is an outstanding coach and person, coaching record, community service, who has always distinguished himself involvement in other school activities, as a leader in Mississippi athletics. I am involvement in your profession at local, pleased to see this fine individual being state, and national levels; and the coach’s recognized at the national level for his basic philosophy of athletics. - MSM
THINK SCHOLAR-ATHLETE. 1701 NORTH STATE STREET • JACKSON, MS 39210-0001 800.352.1050 • www.millsaps.edu
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Mississippi Sports Magazine - 71
TIME OUT WITH YOLANDA MOORE
Goal Setting - the Key to Success
the court! Coach Liggans saw my potential, though. He knew that I was tough and that I loved to play. He also told me that he knew I was going to be tall because I had big hands, big feet, and a big head and it was just a matter of time before the rest of my body caught up. I decided then that I was going to play high I remember watching Lisa Leslie being interviewed school and college basketball. after the US Women’s Basketball team had just won the I was a Parade High School All-American and was gold medal and she announced that this would be the recruited by some of the top women’s basketball programs last Olympic Games that she would compete in. I mean, in the country at that time including Georgia, Florida, after having won four gold medals and being the face of Louisiana Tech, Ole Miss, LSU and Tennessee. My high women’s basketball, there’s really not much more for her to school team, the Port Gibson Blue Wavettes, won state do in the game as a player. The commentator commended championships in 1989, 1991, and 1992. During my her for being a great role model for young girls and for senior year, my team was ranked the #4 high school girls’ being a great ambassador for women’s basketball. Yolanda Moore basketball team in the country. I had scholarship offers I admired her humble response as she thanked all Guest Columnist from Division I programs all over the country. I even of the people who had supported her throughout her had an offer from Harvard – it was a partial academic high school, college, and professional career and how so many people were a part of her success. She thanked God for the scholarship. I signed my National Letter of Intent in the fall of 1992 opportunities that she had been blessed because of her basketball during the early signing period so I could get that all out of the way ability. Of course she talked about how wonderful her career had been and focus on school and basketball. and how much she enjoyed being a part of USA Basketball and how Just like Lisa, I started setting goals as early as the fourth grade much she enjoyed being surrounded by such great teammates. I felt when I decided that I wanted to play college basketball. Of course, especially proud because I got to meet Lisa and her elbows personally back then, I didn’t know I was establishing my vision. Heck, I didn’t during my time in the WNBA so I know that she was sincere in her even know what a traveling violation was! I just knew that I had found something that I like to do that I was good at and that made acceptance of all of the well deserved compliments. However, the one thing that stood out to me the most was when she me happy. You may say, “Yolanda, it was easy for you to decide to play said that the key to her success was that she always set goals for herself basketball because that is what you loved to do”. Well, you are exactly from the time she was a young girl and how she always challenged right! I was passionate about playing basketball and that passion is herself to meet them. We often hear people talk about setting goals what fueled me to pursue my dream of playing college basketball. I but I don’t think we realize just how important it is to have something firmly believe that your destiny is tied into what you naturally excel at to strive for. I am not just talking about saying that you want to do and find joy in doing. something. I am talking about really sitting down and thinking about It works the same way for any hobby you may want to develop what you want out of life, what you are passionate about, and what you into a business or even a personal interest you would like to pursue as a career. Whatever the case, you first have to decide what it is that enjoy doing and then putting those things down on paper. The key to setting goals is that you have to know exactly what it is you want to do. Find your passion – what you’re good at. I was good that you ultimately want to do with your life. Figure out what you are at basketball. It just came naturally. Sure, I worked hard to be good passionate about, what your interests are, and what you are good at. I at it but the work was fun. Playing basketball was second nature to remember playing in my first organized basketball game in the fourth me so that is what I chose to pursue. As I matured, I discovered grade and I was playing on the pee-wee team that the junior high that I was pretty good at other things too. I even tried several other school coach, Harold Liggans, had put together. Every Saturday we careers before I accepted the fact that I am only going to be successful traveled to Natchez, Mississippi to play basketball. I was skinny with doing what I truly enjoy doing. Basketball allowed me to travel and big hands and big feet and was uncoordinated. I could run and I could meet new people. I got to do public speaking, which I enjoyed a great jump but my basketball skills were limited at best. I remember getting deal and found a sense of fulfillment in doing. When I retired from in my first game and my team was on defense. A player on the other professional basketball, it was very difficult for me to find my place in team shot the ball and I jumped up and got the rebound and it was the world. I worked as a customer service representative for Chrysler off to the races! I was not tall back then so getting that rebound was Financial, a credit manager for Wells Fargo Financial, and as a high a major victory for me. I grabbed the basketball and took off running school English teacher. It was difficult for me to excel in any of these toward the other end. Before I could get to the basket, the referee blew jobs because I had no passion for doing either of them. I didn’t enjoy his whistle. We all stopped and looked. He called a traveling violation them the way I enjoyed playing basketball because basketball is my on me. I had gotten from one end of the court to the other without true passion. Once you decide what your goals are, get out a piece of taking a single dribble. I was to naïve to be embarrassed. I was just paper and write them down, then you can map out a plan to make your happy that I got the rebound and had beaten the other players down goals a reality. Good Luck! - MSM Yolanda Moore is a Port Gibson, Mississippi native, former Lady Rebel basketball player, two-time WNBA Champion, author, and an independent sports college planning consultant. You can contact Yolanda for assistance or additional information at email@example.com. 72 - Mississippi Sports Magazine
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