Bobcats fill needs with 2011 football recruiting class
Written By: Shawn Wansley
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date Submitted: 2011-02-02 15:01:40
By Shawn Wansley
JCJC Sports Information Director
ELLISVILLE – To say Eddie Pierce was pleased with the 2011 Jones County Junior College football recruiting class would be an understatement.
“This is probably the top class coming in here as a staff since I’ve been the head coach,” said Pierce, during the live production of the annual “Bobcat Football Recruiting Special” on JCJC-TV Wednesday morning in the Media Room of the C.L. Neill Student Center. “We are very excited. This is a great group.”
The Bobcats signed 34 players on Wednesday, 29 of whom were in-district players. And the emphasis with the class was on offensive linemen, with the Bobcats signing 11 of those players.
“We lost four starters on the offensive line, so naturally we were going to go out and sign heavily in that area,” said Pierce, who will be entering his sixth-year as head coach this fall. “I think it’s a versatile group and a very athletic group. A lot of these guys played on both sides of the ball and they are tough kids.
“We also went after some defensive backs, too, because we lost three starters back there. And we signed three quarterbacks, too.”
Leading the group of in-district signees was Quitman High School. Five players from Quitman signed with JCJC, including running back Dyar Ealie (5-10, 200), quarterback Eric Godette (6-0, 185), offensive lineman Roderius James (6-3, 285), wide receiver Quartez Cooks (6-1, 190) and deep snapper/fullback Thomas Williams (5-10, 240).
Four players from Taylorsville signed, including wide receiver Fernando Hamilton (5-10, 175), defensive back Deon Fairley (6-0, 190), linebacker Marcus Mayers (6-2, 220) and offensive lineman Justin Booth (6-1, 290). Mayers had been an Ole Miss commitment since last summer.
Three players each from West Jones and Mize are headed to JCJC. The Mustang signees are quarterback Ben Stevens (6-1, 190), defensive back Darious Moffett (6-0, 180) and offensive lineman Joshua Thigpen (6-1, 260). Signing from Mize are quarterback Davin Burch (5-11, 190), offensive lineman Ross Sullivan (6-4, 260) and wide receiver Ray Sims (6-3, 200). Sims is the younger brother of former Bobcat defensive end Eugene Sims, who is now playing with the St. Louis Rams.
Laurel, Wayne County, Greene County, Mt. Olive, Collins and Sylva-Bay Academy are sending two players each to JCJC.
Laurel signees are tight end Felton Collins (6-4, 240) and defensive back Anthony McGilberry (6-2, 195); from Wayne County are linebacker Alvin Smith (5-11, 210) and wide receiver Jarvis Loper (6-0, 180; from Greene County are offensive linemen Cameron McLeod (6-4, 270) and Anthony Benjamin (6-1, 275); from state Class 1A champion Mt. Olive are running back Rueben Ducksworth (5-11, 200) and linebacker Timothy Feazell (5-11, 215); from Collins are offensive lineman Devin Crosby (6-3, 275) and defensive back Michael McLaurin (6-1, 180); and from Sylva-Bay Academy are offensive lineman Simeon Wright (6-4, 290) and linebacker Trevor Watkins (5-11, 190).
Rounding out the in-district signees are Raleigh offensive lineman Jraven Tribble (6-5, 280) and Heidelberg offensive lineman Frederick Moore (6-5, 310).
The five non-district signees are Moss Point offensive lineman Levell Hartfield (6-2, 285), Clarksdale defensive end Jadarius Garner (6-2, 230), Hollandale-Simmons linebacker Lazarius Chase (6-1, 220), Purvis wide receiver Stefano McNair (6-1, 185) and Jackson Lanier defensive end Shaquille Smith (6-2, 225).
Pierce was thrilled with the Bobcats’ signees from the eight-county, JCJC district. He said that is always a key to developing a solid program, but he also noted the Bobcats made inroads to other parts of the state.
“We did hit our district hard,” he said. “I think we got everybody we went after, except for the one kid from West Jones (Devontay Barnett) who chose to go Arkansas State. We have some great players in our district and that’s just a tribute to the coaches in our eight counties. The kids we get in are grounded in the fundamentals and have been well-coached.
“For the first time ever, we went into the Mississippi Delta. We got some good players from there. And we went down to the Coast because it is so close and Gulf Coast cannot protect everybody. The thing I like about all of these players is that are such great competitors.”
Most of the signees will be expected to step in and play, and possible start, as true freshmen. Pierce said that’s just the way it is with junior college football.
“They are going to get sweaty in the first game,” he quipped. “We tell them in the recruiting process that we are going to play the best 22 guys, so they have a chance to come in and play right away.”
As far as specifics, Pierce pointed out that Moore has a chance to be a standout player.
“We are very excited about the Moore kid from Heidelberg,” he said. “He was heavily recruited, especially as a junior by Mississippi State and Ole Miss, and he is going to ‘double sign’ today with Louisiana-Lafayette. But we are excited that he is going to be a Bobcat.”
Pierce praised the efforts of his coaching staff – Brad Griffin, Steve Boyd, Ron Brewer, Anthony Maddox and Chris Robinson – and the work they did in putting together this recruiting class.
“Our coaching staff works hard, hard, hard,” he said. “They have been on the phone, they are out seeing the players and they do a great job of recruiting. We hardly ever stop recruiting, but we really go heavy from the first of November until this past Sunday.”
Recruiting is done for the most part, but JCJC will hold an in-state tryout at 1:30 p.m. on Monday at Bobcat Stadium/Sim Cooley Field. Prospects should phone 601-477-4091 for more information or contact Coach Pierce by e-mail at email@example.com.
The Bobcats are tentatively scheduled to being spring practice after the spring break holiday on March 21.
Breakdown by position of the 2011 JCJC football signees.
Quarterbacks (3) – Ben Stevens, West Jones; Davin Burch, Mize; Eric Godette, Quitman.
Running backs (2) – Dyar Ealie, Quitman; Rueben Ducksworth (Mt. Olive).
Offensive linemen (11) – Ross Sullivan, Mize; Jraven Tribble, Raleigh; Frederick Moore, Heidelberg; Cameron McLeod, Greene County; Anthony Benjamin, Greene County; Joshua Thigpen, West Jones; Justin Booth, Taylorsville; Levell Hartfield, Moss Point; Roderius James, Quitman; Devin Crosby, Collins; Simeon Wright, Sylva-Bay Academy.
Tight ends (1) – Felton Collins, Laurel.
Wide receivers (5) – Jarvis Loper, Wayne County; Ray Sims, Mize; Fernando Hamilton, Taylorsville; Quartez Cooks, Quitman; Stefano McNair, Purvis.
Defensive ends (2) – Jadarius Garner, Clarksdale; Shaquille Smith, Jackson Lanier.
Linebackers (5) – Alvin Smith, Wayne County; Marcus Mayers, Taylorsville; Timothy Feazell, Mt. Olive; Lazarius Chase, Hollandale-Simmons; Trevor Watkins, Sylva-Bay Academy.
Defensive backs (4) – Darious Moffett, West Jones; Deon Fairley, Taylorsville; Anthony McGilberry, Laurel; Michael McLaurin, Collins.
Deep snapper (1) – Thomas Williams, Quitman.