By NEMCC Media Relations
BOONEVILLE – Former Northeast Mississippi Community College standout cornerback Deion Belue of Tuscumbia, Ala., now has a Southeastern Conference (SEC) championship on his resume with hopes of adding a Bowl Champion Series (BCS) National Championship on January 7 in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Belue and the rest of the Crimson Tide will take on the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame at 8:30 EST on ESPN on national championship night to culminate the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) bowl season.
Belue, a junior at the University of Alabama, has found success in his first year under head coach Nick Saban for the Crimson Tide.
During his initial season in Tuscaloosa, Belue has started 13 games and tallied 36 total tackles (24 solos and 12 assists) to go along with two interceptions, six pass break ups, and a fumble recovery for a 57-yard touchdown return.
In the SEC Championship game against the Georgia Bulldogs, Belue accounted for five tackles in his effort to help secure the victory for the Tide.
“It’s just really great to be here and to have success,” Belue said. “There’s a lot more pressure that comes with being here and being the starting cornerback at Alabama. It is something I look forward to because I am a competitor.”
Before Belue donned the Crimson and White, he was a member of the Northeast Tiger football program for a pair of seasons — 2010 and 2011 — under head coach Ricky Smither.
Under Smither’s guidance, Belue learned to excel on the field and in the classroom and helped lead the Tigers to two successful seasons.
“Northeast was a big help for me,” explained Belue. “Coach Smither and his coaching staff had a plan for me to execute going into my time at Northeast and kept telling me if I go to class and keep my grades up and do my part, they would take care of me and they did.”
While at Northeast, Belue was a two-year standout and was named an National Junior College Athletic Association’s (NJCAA) 2011 All-American as a second-team honoree at defensive back and helped lead the Tigers to a perfect 5-0 start at the beginning of his sophomore year.
During the 2011 season, Belue was a ‘Mr. Do-Everything’ for the Tiger football team.
Belue hauled in passes on offense, helped lead one of the best defenses in the league and was ranked nationally in punt and kick returns.
In addition to his 2011 All-American award, Belue was also named to the NJCAA Region XXIII team and was also honored with the Most Valuable Defensive Back award for the North Division of the Mississippi Association of Community & Junior Colleges (MACJC).
Belue had a 58-yard interception return for a score against Northwest, brought back an 80-yard kickoff return against MACJC State Champion East Mississippi and then turned the trick a week later with a 90-yard return against Coahoma.
Belue averaged 28.9 yards per kick return on the season and 10.1 yards per return on his 14 punt returns during the 2011 season.
During his sophomore campaign, Belue broke the 100-yard plateau in kick returns twice – 127 versus East Mississippi and 105 against Copiah-Lincoln and registered 90-yard games.
“I would highly recommend Northeast because without their help and without them emphasizing the academic side of being a student-athlete I would have never made it here,” Belue said. “They helped me realize that its more than just about sports but that it was alsoabout my academics. I didn’t qualify out of high school to sign with Alabama, so I chose Northeast and they prepared me for where I am today.”