The hottest selling item at Northwest Mississippi Community College football games this season could very well be the sports program. That may be the best way for fans to get to know the 2007 edition of the Rangers.
Northwest returns just 11 players from last season's squad that claimed the MACJC north division championship and finished 6-4 overall. Despite their youthfulness, the Rangers are ranked pre-season No. 20 in the country by the NJCAA.
With a week of practice under their belts, Northwest is busy trying to fill holes up and down the roster to replace the sophomore group that helped Northwest rebound from a 1-6 record two years ago.
"Practice is progressing well," said Ranger Head Coach Randy Pippin, who is entering his third campaign. "When you consider attitude and athleticism, this is without a doubt the best overall group of players that we have had since I have been here. We lost a lot of great players but there are some great ones waiting in the wings to step up and that makes it exciting."
Pippin knows that his team will rely on the leadership of sophomores, especially early in the season.
Guard Brandon Green of Southaven, quarterback Brandon Myles of Pulaski, Tenn., receiver Oscar Dudley of Coffeeville, and tailback Daniel Thomas of Hilliard, Fla., are second-year players that will be counted on to stabilize the offense.
"We have an impressive core group of talented leaders that are representing the high level of excellence that we want to teach and be known for," added Pippin.