By David Wheeler
Special to the Journal
Northeast Community College football has building as its focus as the Tigers enter the new year.
Not to overlook the new fieldhouse on the North end of the football field in Booneville, but the biggest construction project on the mind of head coach Ricky Smither is the fast approaching national signing day on Feb. 5.
“We’re burning up the roads right now, trying to lock down our district,” Smither said. “I know we finished our season strong with a win, but we didn’t have the consistency I wanted the whole season.”
The Tigers turned in a 4-5 overall and 4-2 effort in North Division play for the 2013 season, finishing with a 30-9 victory against Mississippi Delta.
That mark in division play did tie Northeast for second place in the North, but the Tigers lost out on the post-season because of a tie-breaker.
But the most recent activity in the program was five sophomores taking advantage of the mid-term signing period, moving on to four-year colleges.
“I’m proud of those five guys who worked there tails off in the classroom and move on to the next level of their football,” Smither said.
Those five signings included two big Division I placements as Lafayette freshman Jeremy Liggins signed with Ole Miss and sophomore Jerrard Randall inked with Arizona.
Liggins played defensive end and quarterback before being injured in the seventh game of the season, while Randall played quarterback and receiver.
Another signing of note was Baldwyn’s Parrish Huddleston, whose play on defense caught the attention of the coaches at UAB.
Big areas of focus going into signing day for the Tigers, Smith said, are the defensive line, quarterback, and the kicking game.
All of this has been going on as the new Tigers’ fieldhouse progresses toward completion.
“It’s still going slow,” Smither said. “But it’s going to be worth the wait, and will be a nice place when it gets finished.”
With only the outside shell completed during the season, Northeast still dressed in the building for games. Currently, ceiling work is underway, with lockers and weights waiting to be moved in.