Jones Country Junior College

Jones Preview: Wide Receivers

ELLISVILLE – The 19th-ranked Jones County Junior College Bobcats averaged 273 yards per game through the air last season. That was good enough for third in the MACJC and 14th in the NJCAA...

But JCJC assistant coach Melvin Tart believes the Bobcat wideouts never quite hit their stride in 2014.

"We were very inconsistent last season," said Tart, who is in his fourth year as the JCJC receivers coach. "We just never got comfortable there last year. We had different guys starting each game it seems. I took it upon myself this spring and summer to take more of a 'hands on' approach.

"We are working on the little things and we are making sure each player knows what to do in order to make our unit a lot better this year. So far, with the spring, summer and fall camps, the guys have picked it up a lot. They all have a high football IQ."

The Bobcats have two sophomores and a redshirt freshman back from last year.

Tevin Moore (5-11, 205) of Stringer and Devin Elliot (6-1, 190) of Okolona are the only two receivers with game experience. Logan Scott (6-5, 210) of Oak Grove received a medical redshirt in 2014.
Moore started last year at running back, but moved to wide receiver several games into the season. He had 23 receptions for 218 yards in 2014.

"We moved Tevin from running back to receiver about midway through last year," Tart said. "He has worked real hard in the offseason and put on about 15 pounds. He also worked on running routes and his footwork to become a better receiver. Tevin is an athlete, so it was easy for him. He has made great strides and will be a leader for us this year."

Elliot has also upped his game since last season.
"Devin, to me, was the most improved player in the spring, summer and fall camps," Tart said. "He is one of the hardest workers in the weight room. He works on his routes all year round. He is ready this year to make an impact."

After sitting out last season, Scott is ready to be a force for the Bobcat receiving corps this year.

"Last year, we were hoping Logan would be a big part of our offense, but he had a medical redshirt," Tart said. "He came on in the spring and worked real hard and I can see the difference in him from last year around this time to this year. He has made great improvement. Logan is a hybrid guy who can play tight end for us and split outside. He will be a big asset to us this year."

Tart is excited about two Southeastern Conference transfers this season.

Carlos Burse (6-3, 210) of Alpharetta, Georgia, comes to JCJC from Vanderbilt University, while Kyle Oliver (6-4, 230) of LaVergne, Tennessee, is a newcomer from the University of Tennessee. Both will be considered freshmen.

"Carlos came to us in the spring," Tart said. "He has had a year off from football, but he kind of knocked the rust off in the spring. He is a leader and understands what we do. He has a big body, so he can put himself in position to make catches a smaller receiver cannot make. His routes are good, along with his ball skills.

"Kyle just came to us at the start of August. He is another hybrid, tight end-receiver guy. He moves well for his size. He has good hands and he has caught on to the offense real well for coming in so late. He will be an impact player for us."

JCJC will have four true freshmen receivers that will play this fall.

Barry Gibson (6-0, 170) of Petal, Bryson Ellis (5-11, 185) of New Hope, Joe Arnold of Lumberton (6-0, 190) and Nate Cohen (6-0, 180) of East Central hope to make an impact for the Bobcats.

"Barry has great speed, route-running ability and ball skills," Tart said. "He has been working hard all fall camp to get better. He is one of those guys who does not say much at all, but when it's time to play football, he is ready to go.

"Bryson is another guy with pretty good hands and route-running ability. He can stop and accelerate real fast. He has real good ball skills."

Arnold played quarterback at Lumberton and could also see action for the Bobcats behind center in emergency situations.

"Joe moved to receiver this summer, so he is starting from scratch," Tart said. "He has great hands and has been working on his foot work. He has gotten much better in the few weeks he has been there."

Cohen was a running back in high school, but Tart notes the Bobcats have had success in switching players from the backfield to wide receiver. That includes players such as Moore and Justin Harris from two years ago.

"Nate is another guy we have moved to receiver," he said. "He is learning how to run routes and that type of thing. He has worked hard on the transition and the good thing is that he is one of those guys who makes it look natural."

Tart also points out that the Bobcats have some large receivers this fall. He says that should help with several aspects of the game, especially the ground game.

"We have a lot of big bodies this year," he said. "We have always been able to block pretty well with our receivers, but this year we have some size to go with that blocking ability."

The Bobcats lost some talented receivers off of last year's team, including Rodregus Ducksworth, who signed with Middle Tennessee State University, Jervohnte Riles and Joe Pack. That trio was 1-2-3, respectively, in receptions last year with Ducksworth hauling in 50 catches for 851 yards and seven touchdowns.

"Rodregus was our safety net," Tart said. "He was there for us all the time, as well as Joe and Jervohnte. They helped us get through the season and I will miss every one of them."

Tart is confident the receivers will be a positive point for the Bobcats this fall.

"Overall, if we can come out and be consistent and work on the little things it will make the bigger picture a lot easier," he said. "If we can do that, then we can play fast like we always do. I think the sky is the limit with this group, but I'm always optimistic. I'm a 'glass is half full' guy. But it's up to them to see how far they want to take this unit. I just hope they take the challenge and take us to the top."

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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