The Bearcats had not defeated East MS CC in over a decade but were able to win a thrilling game against the Lions 27-25, in large part due to their 6-foot-4, 256-pound start defensive end, Markel Winters.
"It was just exciting for our program," Winters said. "We knew it was going to be a fight all the way until the final horn sounded and it was. I'm just proud of my teammates and our program for getting this win. We couldn't have started the season off on a better note."
The Ole Miss commit was terror all night on the field for Jones CC.
"I was just doing what my team needs me to do. I tried to cause a lot of chaos in the backfield all night. I think I did a pretty good job of that."
What improvements has the Floridian seen in his game this season compared to his freshman campaign?
"It all started with my summer conditioning. I'm in the best shape of my life. I put on a little muscle weight to get me right for the season. I'm 6-foot-4, 256-pounds and stronger and faster than ever. I feel really good about where my game is right now, but I know I still have a lot of work to do."
What has the conditioning done for his game?
"I'm more explosive, and I'm using my hands a lot better. I'm more violent with my hands. My quick twitch fibers with my added strength has made me even quicker now."
What is Winter's biggest strength on the field?
"Really just finding a way to the quarterback and finding my way into the backfield. I'm not fast like a skilled player, but I find a way into the backfield. I'm really quick twitched."
The Mississippi Juco Defensive Player of the Week committed to the Rebels during his freshman season. What did they like about his game?
"They say they like the way I put myself in position to make big plays. They like the way I pass rush and use my hands."
Ole Miss' strong side defensive ends, Fadol Brown and John Youngblood, are graduating this season. Winters hopes to to fill a void.
"They want to put me at strong side. I like the way they let their guys get after the ball. It's the same way we do it at Jones. We shut our hands and stay at home and then go to the ball. It's more read and go just like Ole Miss uses their ends. It's going to be an easy transition for me."
Markel was up in Oxford several times this summer including a trip there recently.
"It was wonderful. It's always good to get to spend time with the coaches and just bond with them. This time I actually got to see the town and stuff. I got to see how it would be like to live in Oxford. It's a lovely community. It's like a hometown. It's not too big or not too small. There are a lot of people in Oxford and they all seem welcoming."
What made Ole Miss the right fit?
"The family environment. I like how they talk to their players and check on them to see how they are doing. They see how their families are doing and make them feel at home."
This season he hopes to set a few records at Jones CC.
"I want to lead the nation in sacks. My goal is 25 sacks. I got four in the first game so I'm on track (laugh). I just have to keep working hard and hopefully I'll get there."
Yancy Porter is the recruiting analyst for the Ole Miss Spirit and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org