Eyes On The Juco Level

West Virginia has a solid recent history with Mississippi junior college players, and will be watching another Magnolia State juco closely during the upcoming season.

Defender Johnny Sanders, who starred at strong safety for Copiah-Lincoln College in last year, is moving down to linebacker this season. That position switch will put Sanders in better position to make more plays, and will also serve to highlight his versatility for those schools that are recruiting him.

"Things are going pretty well with the switch," Sanders told BlueGoldNews.com as he prepared for his second junior college season. "I think I am the best at stopping the run, so the closer I get to the ball the better it is for me."

Sanders' numbers bear him out. At strong safety last year, he racked up an eye-popping 120 tackles. What's more, he had seven sacks from his backfield position – a number that he looks to improve on as he moves down one level this fall.

Sanders is also solid in pass coverage (he picked off one pass a year ago), but it's clear that his future probably lies at a linebacker spot. Standing six feet, three inches, he certainly has the frame to become an impact player at an outside backer position.

"I weigh 200 pounds right now, and I know I would have to put on 20 or 30 pounds to play linebacker in college, but I can do that and still keep my speed," Sanders said. "That's the position I think I would fit best at in college."

The move to linebacker is actually a return trip, as Sanders starred there as a high schooler at Hazlehurst High. His hard hitting drew notice across the state, but after winding up at Copiah_Lincoln and making the one year detour into the secondary, he is now prepared to move back to a position that is more familiar to him.

Sanders has already received offers from Mississippi State and Furman, and is getting more interest from other Division 1 schools.

"I'm getting letters from New Mexico, and I have also talked with West Virginia," he said. "West Virginia is one of the schools I really want to visit."

WVU, like many schools, will be watching Sanders closely during his first few games this fall. If he can show the same playmaking ability at linebacker that he did at free safety, then more offers will likely be forthcoming.

Sanders, who says he "wants to wait" to see what additional offers may come his way, is one of many players depending on an outstanding early start in order to attract more offers. His schedule, which includes many Thursday games, will allow him to take weekend official visits to those schools on his final list.

Johnny Sanders Profile


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