NJCAA honors Northeast Community College football with two All-Americans

By NEMCC Media Relations

BOONEVILLE – Northeast Mississippi Community College’s football team has produced on the field the last three years under head coach Ricky Smither.

Now, Smither can add two more National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-Americans to his resume.

Sophomore punter Jonathan Harrison (6-6, 195) of Belmont and sophomore defensive lineman Lavon Hooks (6-4, 290) of Atlanta, Georgia were named NJCAA All-Americans when the national organization released its list of first, second and honorable mention teams on Wednesday, December 12.

Harrison was named a first-team All-American on the defensive side of the ball while Hooks drew an honorable mention selection from the NJCAA.

Harrison becomes Northeast’s first first-team All-American selection for football since Jerry King turned the trick in 1956.

Harrison and Hooks are Northeast’s eleventh and twelfth All-Americans in football.

During his sophomore year in Booneville, Harrison ended up tops in the nation with a 41.48 yards per punt average while appearing in all nine games for the Tigers.

Harrison had 48 punts for the Tigers during the season and pinned the opposition deep within its own territory with 12 punts inside the 20-yard line and six more that went for touchbacks.

Harrison also forced six fair catches out of his 48 punts while amassing 1,991 yards.

Harrison led the nation for most of the year in yards per punt average and finished first in the nation in touchbacks.

Harrison’s 10 punts inside the 20-yard line were fifth in the nation.

Harrison had seven games with punts over 47 yards including a 56-yard punt against Mississippi Delta Community College, 57-yard punts against Northwest Mississippi and Mississippi Gulf Coast community colleges.

Harrison’s long on the year came when the sophomore blasted a 60-yard boot against Holmes Community College during the third week of the season.

Harrison had three games that saw the Northeast sophomore punt seven or more times during a game with the Belmont native kicking seven times against Holmes and Mississippi Gulf Coast and had eight chances in against East Mississippi on October 11.

Against Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Harrison averaged 48.1 yards per kick for his seven punts on the night pinning two kicks inside the 20-yard line and causing three fair catches.

Hooks was honored as the Most Valuable Defensive Lineman in the Mississippi Association of Community/Junior Colleges (MACJC).

Hooks was tied for second in the Mississippi Association of Community/Junior Colleges (MACJC) and National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XXIII in sacks the 2012 season when the Atlanta native finished with 9.5 sacks for the Tigers.

On the year, Hooks tallied 51 tackles – 18 solo stops and 33 assists. Hooks’ 6.4 tackles per game were second on the Tiger roster.

With his 9.5 sacks on the year, Hooks tallied 51 yards against the opposing offense and came away with three fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles for the Tigers.

Hooks’ 20.5 tackles for loss on the year saw the Northeast sophomore finish second in the nation in the category.

In a November 28 story on JCGridiron.com entitled, “JUCO defensive tackle list is best ever,” which featured the top defensive tackles across the country, Hooks was named the top defensive tackle in not only the Mississippi Association of Community/Junior Colleges (MACJC) but in entire country.

With the selection, Northeast’s football team has its first team since the 1980 team to have two NJCAA All-Americans selected in the same year. During the 1980 season, Kossuth’s Paul Rhodes and Morrow, Georgia’s Anthony Norman were both selected as All-Americans.

Harrison and Hooks become just the fourth set of All-Americans for the Northeast football program. In addition to the 1980 selection of Rhodes and Norman, 1977 saw Rogersville, Alabama native Larry Parker and Memphis native Barry Todd selected as All-Americans and the 1969 duo of New Albany’s Johnny Buskirk and Ripley’s Donnie Clayton were also selected in the same year.

Hooks and Harrison’s selections also mark the third year in a row that the Northeast football team has produced an All-American. During the 2010 season, offensive lineman Antonio Foster from Valdosta, Georgia was selected as an honorable mention while 2011 saw Tuscumbia, Alabama’s Deion Belue honored with honorable mention status.

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