By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
Itawamba Community College head football coach Jon Williams will admit the last few months of recruiting have been a bit of a different animal.
But months of groundwork under the new junior college recruiting rules in Mississippi, and some final hustling in the last few days paid off.
By lunchtime Wednesday, Williams could relax and call the 2012 signing day a success for his Indians.
“This may be one of the best groups we’ve been able to acquire at one time,” said Williams, who had received approximately 30 of 35 letters of intent he was expecting by noon. “Right now I feel proud of the written commitments we’ve gotten, and proud of the hard work the coaches have put in.”
Some of that last-minute work for the Indians paid off with one of the more high profile signings of the day in Mississippi at any level – Forest Williams.
The Amory senior burst onto the state high school scene this past season, throwing for 5,111 yards and 55 touchdowns, and was being encouraged to walk on at Mississippi State, and had strong offers from Delta State and Wofford, reports Williams.
“It’s been a mess,” the Amory QB said with a smile. “For a while I thought I was going to Mississippi State but things changed. ICC still really wanted me. Great coaches and it’s a good place to go.”
Williams was far from the only signing for the Indians, which included Amory team mate Greg Hadley.
Of note, Itawamba dipped into the Class 4A State Championship roster of Lafayette, signing six players; D. Q. Reynolds, Keeyon Tyson, Jamel Dennis, Demarkous Dennis, D’Andre Greer, and Tyler Jackson.
“When the state opened up, we were able to break out a little bit,” Williams said. “It’s all about how hard you work, and we were able to create new relationships, and strengthen ones we already had.”
Schools with multiple signings for ICC included Bruce, Water Valley, North Pontotoc, Okolona, Itawamba AHS, Mooreville, and Starkville.
Northeast inks 18
By early afternoon, Northeast was listing 18 players who had signed with the Tigers.
Included in that were three from perennial Mississippi high school football power South Panola; Nick Johnson, Rondarius Taylor, and Sean Rogers.
Northeast had also dipped into its previous recruiting base of DeSoto County with three from Lake Cormorant, two from Southaven, and one from Hernando.
“We’ve got better players on board than we’ve ever had,” said Northeast head coach Ricky Smither, who was expecting at least four more letters before the day was through. “We’ve had a great relationship with coaches (at South Panola and DeSoto County schools), and it’s carrying over now.”
From its supporting counties, signings included multi-sport star Deione Weeks from Corinth, along with players from Ripley, Kossuth, and Baldwyn.