Mississippi Juco News

Mississippi junior college and community college news for Monday, August 20th.

August 2007 Mississippi Community College News

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08/20/07 - Mississippi junior college/community college news.

East Central CC Warriors Plan To Emphasize Running Game During 2007 Campaign

After several years of trying a variation of the 'West Coast' offense, East Central Community College head football coach Terry Underwood said it's time for a change - time to return to the 'run first' offense that the Warriors successfully used in the late 1990's, when Underwood first juggled duties as offensive coordinator and head coach.

Underwood, who begins his tenth year leading the ECCC football program and second stint leading the offense, hopes the 'new' offensive attack in 2007 will produce the same results experienced by the 1999 Warriors, who qualified for the state playoffs en route to an 8-3 record.

The first test of the 'new offense' takes place against longtime rival East Mississippi Community College on Thursday, August 30. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. on the Scooba campus.

"We decided it was time to go back to what we have successfully done in the past - and that's run the ball first, then complement the running game with play action passes and a short passing game," said Underwood, who will also coach quarterbacks and running backs. "We have the skill guys to run the offense - which will also feature a lot of option plays - so this type of offense fits our personnel."

The Warrior offense will be led by first-year quarterback Deon Williams, a transfer from Valdosta (Ga.) State. Underwood said Williams, a former standout at Tuscaloosa (Ala.) County High School, "has a tremendous amount of talent and knows what it takes to win."

Underwood also has praise for freshman quarterback Jacob Massey of Union.

"Jacob is a really good athlete and has had a great preseason camp. He's been here all summer working out and going to school and his efforts have really paid off. I really feel good about Deon and Jacob running the offense."

Expected to be the 'workhorse' in the Warrior backfield is sophomore running back Roosevelt Ross, a 5-8, 190-pound product of Ocala-Forest High School in Ocala, Fla.

"Roosevelt has a great attitude and we expect him to have another productive season," Underwood stated.

Ross will sharing running back duties with Maurice Langston, a redshirt freshman and Northeast Lauderdale High School product.

"Maurice is a strong leader and a great talent," Underwood said. "I look for big things from him and Roosevelt this year."

Returning at wide receiver is Freddie Parham, a 5-11, 180-pound product of St. Clair County High School in Odenville, Ala.

Parham, a University of Southern Mississippi signee, played in every game for East Central last year.

"He is a great talent and one of our team leaders," Underwood said of his top receiver.

Other top receivers are sophomores Michael Townsend, a 6-2, 200-pound product of Forest High School, and Katlan French, a 5-9, 175-pound former standout at Starkville Academy.

"Michael is playing as good as I have ever seen him play. Katlan is also having a great camp. Both are very talented."

Underwood also praised several offensive linemen.

"Marquis Harris (6-1, 290) of Meridian is starting at strong guard and James Jenkins (6-2, 245) of Columbus will start at quick guard. Both are really strong players and doing a great job. John Bailey (6-2, 245) of Tuscaloosa has moved to offensive tackle from the fullback and tight end positions and is also having a great preseason camp."

Additional players receiving praise on offense include fullback Marcus Travis (5-7, 200) of Perry Central, tight ends Spencer Spane of Terry, a transfer from North Carolina A&T, Josh Williams of Jackson Lanier and wide receiver Kendrick May of Tuscaloosa County.

"All of these guys have had good preseason camps. Kendrick is one of our fastest players and ran a 4.3 in a recent combine. He is going to be a really good player," Underwood stated.

Assisting Underwood with the offense are Kyle Watson (offensive line) and Derrick Qualls (wide receivers and tight ends).


Steve Cheatham returns as defensive coordinator and will also serve as assistant head coach. He spent the past two years as head coach at Neshoba Central High School and served the previous two years as director of football operations at the University of Mississippi.

Underwood said Cheatham "is doing a tremendous job and I'm tickled to have him back on staff."

Cheatham's defensive unit is also receiving praise from the head coach.

"We have a history of being strong on defense and I expect this could be one of the best defensive teams we've had," Underwood stated. "Our biggest concern is our size, however. We're not overly big but are very athletic, quick and fast."

Underwood said the leading returnee on defense is Jorrick Calvin, a 5-10, 185-pound product of Scotlandville High School in Baton Rouge.

"Jorrick did an outstanding job last year. He had five or six interceptions and 30-plus tackles. He is as good a cornerback as we have had here at EC, evidenced by the fact that he is being highly recruited by almost every team in the country. He is also a great kick and punt returner. We also plan to spot play him on offense."

Returning middle linebacker Jamar Lawrence, a 6-1, 220-pound product of Tuscaloosa County High School, is also expected to have another great year.

"Jamar started every game for us last year and is a solid player. He is also a very good leader," Underwood said.

Also cited as defensive standouts are sophomores Chris Ivy, a 6-2, 225-pound defensive end from Louisville; Mark Hoskins, a 5-11, 290-pound defensive tackle from Louisville; nose guard Taquan Lowe, a 5-10, 260-pound product of Holt High School in Tuscaloosa, and David Brackett, a 6-1, 190-pound linebacker from Philadelphia.

"All have had good preseason camps and are tough, hard-nosed players who can run to the ball and provide good leadership," Underwood said.

Underwood also had praise for freshman linebackers Harvey Brown, a 5-9, 235-pound product of Neshoba Central High School, and Brad Ellis, a 5-10, 240-pound former standout at Forest High School.

"These are two of the better inside linebackers that we have signed from our district. Harvey and Brad are very quick and do a great job pursuing the ball," Underwood said.

He also mentioned freshmen Vonzell Jackson, a 6-3, 235-pound linebacker/defensive end from Aliceville (Ala.) High School; Josh Lewis, a 6-4, 240-pound defensive end from Tuscaloosa (Ala.) County High School; and Henry Scott, a 6-2, 215-pound nose guard from Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, OK, all of whom had a productive preseason camp.

Assisting Cheatham in coaching the defense are Fredrick Lyons (nose guards and defensive tackles), James Miller (linebackers and special teams) and Brian Jones (defensive ends).


Underwood said he is "very pleased" with the kicking game.

"I am probably more excited about our kicking game than I have been in many years. We have two outstanding kickers and punters in Beau Hannah (6-2, 190) of Morton, a transfer from Mississippi State University, and Derek Crenshaw (6-2, 185) of Neshoba Central," Underwood stated. "Both are kicking the ball well and will probably share kicking and punting duties."

Underwood said Will Butts, a 6-3, 265-pound sophomore from Louisville, will be the long snapper.

"Will is the best long snapper I have ever coached," Underwood stated. "He can snap the ball very fast which is obviously very important in having an effective kicking and punting game."


In addition to having a winning season, Underwood said his players have made it clear that the ultimate goal is to make the playoffs.

"It's been a while (1999) since we advanced to the post-season and our guys have made it clear that we want to play for a championship. This is a good group, and we know that if we make it to the playoffs, we have a chance to possibly win a state title and play in a bowl game," Underwood said. "This team is very close and is getting closer, thanks to a good group of freshmen and the leadership shown by our sophomores. This bunch has come together well and I think some special things could happen. I am excited about their attitude and their passion for this season. We have a tough opener at East Mississippi but I think our guys will be up for the challenge and ready to begin the season."

The Warriors will also be on the road for week two of the 2007 campaign as they will be guests of Mississippi Delta Community College on Thursday, Sept. 6 for a 7 p.m. kickoff on the Moorhead campus.


East Central's first home game is set for Thursday, Sept. 13 against division foe Jones County Junior College. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Louise and Bill Bailey Stadium.

The home opener will also showcase the new entrance and other improvements to Bailey Stadium, funded mostly by a $100,000 contribution from the Decatur couple, who own the Decatur Telephone Company.

"Every time our players see the new entrance while going to practice it adds something to the upcoming season and we are excited about that," Underwood said. "The home opener will be a big game for us in many ways. Not only are we playing our first division game against a longtime rival but we also plan to honor the Baileys for their very generous contribution. We will also recognize our baseball team for winning the 2007 state championship. It's going to be a special night and we hope our fans will come out and support all the activities."

Source: ECC SID

Itawamba CC looks to the line for success

If Itawamba Community College wants to make it to the post-season for a record fourth straight year, the Indians need to look no further than up front on the line. Both lines. Only one returning starter is back from either line and that's offensive tackle Gabe Hollivay of Hamilton.

"I don't think there's any question about that," said head coach Jeff Terrill, whose program has won 17 of its last 20 regular season games. "At the same time, I think our offensive line is probably the most athletic one I've had here at Itawamba. As for the defensive line, our staff recruited some terrific players and I know (defensive line) Coach (Kenny) Jackson is working hard to get those guys ready. This is just a difficult league for freshmen to excel, especially up front."

One freshman that exceeded all expectations last year was quarterback Tyson Lee of Columbus, who finished among the nation's top five in every passing category. The first-team pre-season all-American is also a legit academic all-American with his straight 4.0 GPA in pre-medicine.

"I'm so thankful that we have Tyson for another year to lead our offense," said third-year offensive coordinator Jeff Carter. "He puts us in the right situation just about every play, and that's not easy to find, even at four-year schools."

Lee will have plenty of weapons to throw to including second-team pre-season all-American Chris Wilson of Amory, who was a first-team all-state pick last year at receiver. Returning second-team all-state selection Jeffrey Cameron of Tupelo is expected to completely recover from a spring ankle injury, which required surgery.

Terrill added he has a great deal of confidence in his running backs, including freshman Travis Walker of West Point, who was the offensive MVP in the Mississippi North-South All-Star game this past month in Jackson. In fact, the sixth-year Indians head coach said this year's offense has the potential to be the best he's had in Fulton.

Among the players ICC has to replace on a defense that finished among the nation's top 10 in total defense is Terrence Jones, who was second in the country in sacks last year with 18.

Terrill, who will also be the defensive coordinator for the third straight season, did add that the linebacker position will be a strength of the defense. That group is led by pre-season second-team all-American Quinten Pierre and Florida State transfer Morrell Jones, who is a former Georgia AAA defensive player of the year.

Source: ICC SID

Trio of ICC Indians make pre-season All-America

For the first time in school history, a trio of Itawamba Community College Indians has made the NJCAA pre-season all-America teams.

Rising sophomore quarterback Tyson Lee (5-11, 190) made the first-team after finishing among the national top five in every passing category last year, including passing yards (2,130), touchdown passes (19) and only seven interceptions in 248 attempts.

"I honestly couldn't believe it, when I heard the news earlier today," said Lee, who also completed 68.2 percent of his passes a year ago. "This is truly a blessing and of course, I couldn't have received it without the help of my offensive line and receivers."

One of his favorite targets, Chris Wilson of Amory, made the second team all-America list after catching 39 passes for 551 yards and six scores last season.

"This makes me feel like I have to step up even more this season," said Wilson, who stands 6-4 and weighs 180 pounds. "This honor could've gone to (teammates) Jeffrey (Cameron) or D.A. (Griffin). We're looking forward to making a bunch of plays this year."

Linebacker Quinten Pierre of New Iberia, LA also made the pre-season all-America second team. The 6-0, 215 pound all-state selection a year ago started last year at weak safety before being moved to linebacker midway through the season due to injuries.

"I'm glad to be playing linebacker instead of safety because you can make more plays," said Pierre, who added he loves to hit. "All of this has made the team feel like our expectations are even higher now, which is fine with us."

As a head coach, Jeff Terrill is cautious about these pre-season honors.

"We're happy for these young men because it showed they had real good years last season," said Terrill, whose squad is one of only two in the entire state that has made it to the post-season the last three years.

"At the same time, these are based on last year's achievements. Now we would love to have some of our guys make the post-season all-American teams, because that would mean we would have had a great year."

Terrill's troops kick off their season on August 30 at Southwest. No other school in the country has more than three pre-season all-Americans, according to the NJCAA.

Source: ICC SID

08/17/07 - Mississippi junior college/community college news.

RAYMOND, MS - Brandon Alford, an infielder from perennial power Hillcrest Christian School in Jackson, has signed a baseball scholarship with Hinds Community College for the 2008 season.

Alford was named to the Mississippi Private School Association (MPSA) All-Star game in June. He spent this past summer playing for the well-known Memphis Tigers traveling team.

"Brandon is a very athletic player who can play a lot of different positions in both the infield and outfield," said Hinds Coach Sam Temple. "He is very versatile with the bat and glove, and this will increase his chances to get in the lineup on a regular basis."

Hinds will begin individual workouts on Aug. 27. Team practice for the Eagles will begin on Sept. 17.

Source: Hinds CC Office of Public Relations

08/16/07 - Mississippi junior college/community college news.

Meridian, MS - The 2007 Eagle Day for Soccer is this Saturday, August 18th. It will begin at 11 AM with lunch, door prizes and introduction of the 2007 soccer teams. A scrimmage will take place following the lunch. Eagle Day will be held on top of the hill behind the baseball and soccer fields.

Meridian, MS - Meridian Community College baseball player, Dave Woods, committed to play baseball for the University of Alabama announced on Monday by MCC baseball coach Chris Rose.

Woods, a graduate of West Lauderdale High School, was a two-year starter for the Meridian Eagles, and he was the backbone in handling the pitching staff last season as a catcher.

He is a 6-2 and 210-pound catcher that was drafted by the Florida Marlins in 2005. He elected to stay for his sophomore campaign because he has always dreamed of playing in the College World Series.

"Professional baseball would have been great, but I loved MCC and the opportunity that it gave me to one day sign a Division I scholarship," said Woods.

"Out of high school MCC was the only school that gave me an opportunity."

His opportunity came to fruition on Monday when he made his final commitment to play for the Tide; Woods finalizes another great year of signees as he will make the 8th player from the 2007 Eagles to sign a Division I scholarship.

Head Coach Chris Rose believes "that Dave will do a great job at Alabama, and we are very proud to see someone accomplish so much through two years of hard work."

Woods was very complimentary of Coach Rose and the staff for guiding and directing him towards his future in baseball and academics. When asked what he hoped to accomplish at Alabama, Woods replied, "I hope to excel on the field and make my coaches proud, but I want to excel off the field in academics to make my parents and family proud."

Meridian, MS - Meridian Community College head coach Chris Rose announced Wednesday the hiring of Chris Rayborn to his baseball coaching staff.

"I am very excited to have Chris join our staff," said Rose. "He has worked camps for Southern Miss, Memphis and here at MCC. He is a guy that did what we hope for all our players, he worked hard, got a large scholarship offer to a SEC school, and went on to play professional baseball. He has been very successful and he is a guy that is passionate about what he does."

For Rayborn, a graduate of Adams Christian High School, returning to MCC is a homecoming. A native of Natchez, Miss, Rayborn was an All-America pitcher for the Eagles in 2004, helping guide MCC to their last back-to-back trips to the Div. 1 Junior College World Series in Grand Junction, CO. in 2003 and 2004.

"I am excited to come back to MCC because the two years here were probably the best two years of my life," said Rayborn. "I am excited that Coach Rose has given me this opportunity and I am looking forward to working with our pitching staff."

Rayborn comes back to MCC following his playing career in professional baseball. After his sophomore season at MCC, Rayborn signed a pro ball contract with the San Diego Padres organization. He spent time in Phoenix, AZ, Eugene, OR, and Ft. Wayne, IN playing baseball in the minor leagues. He led the Arizona Rookie league in ERA and innings pitched.

Prior to his stint professional baseball, Rayborn had one of the more decorated pitching careers for MCC. He was a consensus All-American, named to Baseball America's first team All America squad; he was also an All-State and All-Region selection for MCC. He ranks in MCC's top three for most strikeouts among Eagle pitchers with 156 career K's. He had 19 career wins for MCC in his two years on the mound, going 9-2 his sophomore season and 10-3 his freshman season, which included a win in the 2003 Juco World Series.

Rayborn will join former SEC baseball standout, Joe Caruso, who is entering his second year on staff, as an assistant baseball coach. Rayborn's specific position responsibility will be working with the pitching staff.

Source: Meridian Community College Media Relations

Raymond, MS - Hinds Community College head baseball coach Sam Temple announced today that Gilberto Reyes will be transferring to Hinds from Wallace Community College in Dothan, Ala.

Reyes, a Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic native, is a 6-3, 200-pound right-handed pitcher who saw limited action for the Governors last season. In addition to his pitching duties, Reyes will also see time as a position player at Hinds, as he brings a potent bat to the lineup.

"Gilberto is someone that should step in and help our staff tremendously," said Temple. "He has a very live arm and will bring a year of experience with him from Wallace, which will be a big benefit to our younger guys."

The Eagles will open fall practice on Sept.17 in Raymond.

Raymond, MS - The Hinds Community College baseball program recently lost two of its 2008 signees, Shea Snowden and Zack Russell, to the major league baseball draft. However, the Eagle coaching staff quickly found two more to fill the void.

The first replacement player that Hinds signed was Andy Murphy of Cleveland High School in Cleveland, Miss. Murphy is a right-handed hitting catcher that starred for the Cleveland Wildcats and Coach Steve Wies.

"Andy will give us some much needed depth behind the plate with a very good chance of seeing significant playing time as a freshman," said Hinds coach Sam Temple.

The second player that the Eagles picked up was Hayden Hales of Porter's Chapel Academy in Vicksburg. Hales, a 6-4, 200-pound outfielder, put up amazing numbers in 2007 for Coach Randy Wright at PCA.

"Hayden is someone with a tremendous amount of upside. He is very big and physical and we look forward to him putting up some big numbers for us in the future," said Temple.

Shea Snowden, a left-handed pitcher for Brandon High School and top Hinds signee, was a 16th round pick of the Cincinnati Reds. He currently sports a 0-1 record and 2.55 ERA with 20 strikeouts and only three walks in 17 2/3 innings.

Zack Russell, a right-handed pitcher of Camden Harmony Grove High School in Camden, Ark., signed a contract last week with the St. Louis Cardinals. At this time, Russell has not figured in a decision, and has a 6.75 ERA with one strikeout and three walks in 1 1/3 innings.

"We certainly hate to lose two pitchers of Shea and Zack's caliber, but we wish them the best of luck as they move through the minor leagues," said Temple. "I do think it is a positive that two of our signees were picked up by major league teams because it lets us know that we are recruiting the right type of players for our program."

Source: Hinds Community College Media Relations

BOONEVILLE, MS -- Northeast Mississippi Community College will host its annual football media day on Thursday afternoon, August 16. Activities will include pictures, media interviews, and an evening scrimmage under the lights at Keenum Stadium.

Team pictures will begin at Keenum Stadium at 3 p.m. followed by interviews with local print, radio, and television media outlets. Players' and coaches' interviews are scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. at Bonner Arnold Coliseum on the Northeast campus.

Northeast's Development Foundation will then reveal details regarding the new "Northeast Scoreboard Club" at a gathering for staff and supporters at 5:30 p.m. at the north end of Keenum Stadium. Coach Andy Greening and staff will be in attendance.

The day's activities will be capped by a night practice and scrimmage for the Tigers. Greening and company will begin pre-scrimmage drills at 7 p.m., and will shift the operation to Keenum Stadium at 8 p.m. to begin scrimmaging. The game-like practice will include work on all phases of special teams, as well as over 70 plays of offense vs. defense in down and distance situations.

BOONEVILLE, MS -- Northeast Mississippi Community College head baseball coach Kent Farris has announced the signing of right-handed pitcher Nick Mentel to a letter of intent to suit up for the Tigers beginning in the fall of 2007.

Mentel, a 6-2, 185-pound hurler from Mandeville, LA, (Fontainebleau High School) played for the Louisiana Knights summer league team the past two months.

"Nick has a very lively arm," said Farris. "He can consistently stay in that 87-88 mile per hour range, and will jump up there in the low 90's when he wants to. Richie (Harrelson) and I will work with him on some of the little things, but he's got plenty of arm strength right now. He's really going to add a lot to our staff."

Mentel becomes the fifth right-handed pitcher Farris has added to the Tigers' roster since the end of last season. In all Northeast has signed nine new pitchers (five right-handers, four left-handers) as part of the '07 signing class.

Source: Northeast Mississippi Community College Media Relations

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