Bobcats feature youthful offensive line
Written By: Shawn Wansley
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date Submitted: 2011-08-21 15:03:12
By Shawn Wansley
JCJC Sports Information Director
ELLISVILLE – Don’t ask Ron Brewer anytime soon who will be the offensive line starters for the 2011 Jones County Junior College Bobcats when they open the season on Sept. 1.
“I won’t post a starting lineup until game day,” said Brewer, who is entering his sixth year as offensive line/tight ends coach for the Bobcats. “We’ve got a good group overall and there are a lot of battles going on for starting positions.”
JCJC returns only one player with experience in the offensive line and one tight end from 2010.
Greene County sophomore McKay Tingle (6-5, 280) is back at right tackle and South Jones sophomore Keghan Livingston (6-3, 230) returns at tight end.
“McKay started the last three games for us last year,” Brewer said. “Keghan started a lot for us last year. We are expecting a lot of leadership out of those two guys.”
There are two more offensive linemen who were on campus last year, but had their seasons cut short because of injury. Perry Central freshman J.T. Myers (6-3, 280) is at center and Stringer freshman David Brown (6-1, 290) is playing right guard.
“J.T. and David were redshirted last year because of injuries,” said Brewer. “They have no ‘on-the-field’ experience, but they do have a year on everybody else, so that helps them.”
Other than those players, everyone else in the offensive line and at tight end is a true freshman.
But Brewer is pleased with where they are heading into the season.
“We have a lot to learn in a short time,” he said. “But this is a very talented group. They are athletic and they can move. Once we get some things together and get things going our way and stop making the young mistakes, I think we are going to have a solid group up front.
“There is no doubt in my mind that they can be really good.”
Brewer said there has been excellent competition at all of the spots so far during preseason camp.
At left tackle, Frederick “Snap” Moore (6-5, 280) of Heidelberg and Joshua Thigpen (6-1, 260) of West Jones are fighting it out for playing time, while Lavelle Hartfield (6-1, 285) of Moss Point and Anthony Benjamin (5-11, 285) of Greene County are competing at left guard.
“Moore is a very talented guy and he will make a push at left tackle,” Brewer said. “He has all of the potential in the world. Thigpen has done well, too. Both Hartfield and Benjamin are quick and strong and move well at left guard. It will come down to the little things between those two guys.”
Myers and Ross Sullivan (6-5, 270) of Mize are battling at center.
“Myers and Sullivan both are good snappers of the ball, take good steps, are smart, can read a defense and can call stuff out,” said Brewer. “That’s one of the prerequisites of playing center for me. Both of them are very good at doing that.”
Brown and Taylorsville’s Justin Booth (6-2, 320) are vying for playing time at right guard, while Tingle and Devin Crosby (6-3, 275) are competing at right tackle.
‘Booth and Brown are having a good battle at right guard,” Brewer said. “They have both had their turns starting during camp. They are big, strong and talented.
“Tingle is our only interior guy with playing experience. Crosby is working really hard and is pushing McKay at right tackle.”
Livingston returns at tight end with Laurel’s Felton Collins (6-2, 225) and Quitman’s Thomas Williams (6-0, 250) also competing.
“Keghan and Felton are battling for the starting role, but they are both going to play a lot,” Brewer said. “They are both doing well. Thomas is going to be mostly at fullback, but he is playing a little at tight end. He is a tough kid and will do a good job.”
Another player Brewer mentioned in the offensive line is Rodarius James (6-1, 300), a freshman from Quitman.
“Rodarius was making a push at right guard, but broke his hand the other day in camp,” he said. “He will be out 6-8 weeks, so we will have to wait and see.”
Brewer added that the offensive linemen and tight ends have done everything they have been asked to do in preseason.
“I have to give them credit,” he said. “They have worked extremely hard. They have remained focused on what they are doing and how they are doing it. If you can get a group that’s focused and coachable, then you will be pretty good.
“I am excited about this group, I am ready for game day to arrive and let’s strap it on and see what we can do.”
The Bobcats open the season at home at 7 p.m. on Sept. 1 in Bobcat Stadium/Sim Cooley Field against Mississippi Delta Community College. The game will be televised on www.jcjc.tv and can be heard on WGDQ-FM, 93.1. Lance Pittman will call the play-by-play and Mark Easley provides commentary.
The Jones County Junior College Bobcats will have a young group of offensive linemen and tight ends heading into the 2011 season. Pictured are, kneeling from left, Rodarius James (Quitman), Devin Crosby (Collins), Anthony Benjamin (Greene County), Justin Booth (Taylorsville), Thomas Williams (Quitman), David Brown (Stringer) and Ross Sullivan (Mize). Standing, from left, are Lavelle Hartfield (Moss Point), Fredrick Moore (Heidelberg), Keghan Livingston (South Jones), assistant coach Lacon Sheppard, offensive line/tight ends coach Ron Brewer, Joshua Thigpen (West Jones), Felton Collins (Laurel), McKay Tingle (Greene County) and J.T. Myers (Perry Central.)
Photo/Shawn Wansley, JCJC Sports Information