Jones Preview: Running Backs

ELLISVILLE – The 19th-ranked Jones County Junior College Bobcats will have a blend of just about everything at the running back position this fall.

"We have a good mixture of speed and of running with power behind our pads and playing football in a physical way," said fourth-year assistant coach Brad Reynolds, who coaches running backs and special teams. "We have some strong runners and we also have the ability to use our speed to make plays in the running game."

Petal sophomore James Milledge (6-0, 215) returns, while redshirt freshman Stephen Cowan (5-9, 190) of Gautier is back.

Milledge led the team in rushing in 2014 with 320 yards on 64 attempts. He scored six rushing touchdowns and also had 24 catches for 175 yards coming out of the backfield.

"We are happy to have a guy like James returning," Reynolds said. "He works and plays hard. He is a powerful running back and came on late last year and really helped us. He has been a big asset in our summer and fall camp helping the other guys learn our system and what to do."

Cowan redshirted last year and Reynolds said that has helped him coming into 2015.

"Stephen was one of the hardest working guys we had in the offseason," he said. "That hard work earned him a spot on the roster. He is the kind of guy who is the first one in a drill, first one on the practice field and first one in the weight room.

"Both Milledge and Cowan are in their second year in the program and have stepped up and taken on leadership roles with the group. They have worked hard the whole time and have led by example."

JCJC will have two highly-touted freshmen running backs on the roster.

DeSherrius Flowers (6-1, 210) out of Vigor High School in Mobile, Alabama, signed the University of Alabama. The four-star recruit went through spring practice with the Crimson Tide, but was declared ineligible at the end of the spring semester and ended up at JCJC.

Flowers was bothered by an ankle injury during his senior year, but rushed for 1,100 yards and scored 12 touchdowns as a junior. He was also chosen to participate in the US Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio.

Jarkice Davis (5-9, 200) is out of Port St. Joe, Florida, and was regarded as one of the top running backs in Florida. He rushed for 1,138 yards and scored 13 touchdowns.

"DeSherrius came in at the first of August from Alabama," Reynolds said. "He has been very good at picking up the offense in a short time. He is a very explosive running back. He is a power/speed type of guy who can play it both ways.

"Jarkice has come in and learned the offense very well. He has been a great asset to our group. He is a very explosive football player and is learning his responsibilities with the group."

Even though Flowers has received a lot of hype since arriving on campus, Reynolds said his focus has been all about the team.

"DeSherrius, since day one, has just wanted to help the football team," he said. "He was not worried about signing with the University of Alabama and things not working out there. He was more worried about how he was going to help this team win games and win championships while he is a Bobcat."

Overall, Reynolds is excited about the JCJC running backs heading into the Aug. 29 opener vs. No. 16 Northwest Mississippi.

"I'm very pleased with this group of guys," he said. "They work hard and practice hard. They take coaching very well."

Jones started the season with a 42-20 loss to Northwest Mississippi last Saturday. This Thursday, the Bobcats will face off against Itawamba on the road.

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