Meridian Star

February 8, 2013

EMCC class dominated by All-Stars

By Jamie Wachter / Sports Editor
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Just call them the East Mississippi Community College All-Stars.

    Of the 32 signees the Lions announced Thursday, 23 played in either the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star game or the Bernard Blackwell North-South All-Star Classic. That talented class has EMCC coach Buddy Stephens excited about the future of his program, one that has won the MACJC North Division four times in five years along with two state championships and the NJCAA national championship in 2011.

    “I thought we had a really balanced class,” Stephens said. “We had a slew of All-Stars sprinkled in there and then even the kids that weren't All-Stars, they are still stars in the making.”

    Leading that All-Star contingent was Eupora wide receiver Derrick Jones, a double signee with the Lions and Ole Miss. Jones, a 6-foot-2, 180-pounder that caught 44 passes for 975 yards and 15 touchdowns last season, played in the Mississippi-Alabama game alongside offensive line signees Chris Berry (Quitman), David Mahaffey, Jacob Freely, Joseph Reynolds; defensive line signees Jamol Posey, Jawon Johnson, Quez Scott (Meridian); wide receiver Kameron Myers, who rushed for 1,358 yards and hauled in an additional 605 with 27 total touchdowns, and kicker/punter Reece Everett. North-South All-Stars include wide receiver Tilmus Bradford, linebacker William Lloyd and his 139 tackles, wide receiver Stanley Higgins, linebacker Mario Virges, linebacker Justin Lucas, defensive lineman Deshawn Tillman, defensive back Deshadrick Truly, linebacker Demetrius Cain, wide receiver Dario Robinson, who double signed with Southeast Louisiana after hauling in 52 passes for 801 yards and five touchdowns while also rushing for 1,021 yards and 10 scores one season after snagging 143 catches for 2,191 yards and 21 touchdowns, wide receiver Brandon Acker, who had 40 catches for 690 yards, offensive lineman Brandon Hodges, quarterback Brett Thompson and linebacker Benny McCall.

    “We've got a lot of balance and we answered a lot of our needs in this class,” Stephens said. “It's an extremely good group of young men. That's what I'm most proud of our class about, is their potential not only as athletes but their potential as young men.”

    In locking down the long list of All-Star talent, EMCC hauled in recruits from the entire state thanks to the elimination of recruiting districts in the fall of 2011. Still, Stephens said the Lions' first priority is still to locate the best players close to home and this year's class did include a pair of MHS standouts in Scott and wide receiver Issac Johnson, who had 430 yards and five touchdowns on 39 catches, as well as three Starkville standouts, and one player from West Point and Columbus.

    “Every year, we start locally,” he said. “He want to look for local talent first. But with the state open for recruiting now, you may not be able to look as long.

    “The recruiting is changing but we will always start locally in our six-county district first and we always want to take kids that want to be in our program.”

East Mississippi CC signing list

    Brandon Acker, WR, Hattiesburg HS

    Arie Anderson, DL, Stanhope Elmore HS/Millbrook, AL

    Preston Baker, RB, Starkville HS

    Chris Berry, OL, Quitman HS

    Tilmus Bradford, WR, Charleston HS

    Demetrius Cain, LB, Hazlehurst HS

    Cooper Esslinger, LS, Picayune Memorial HS

    Reece Everett, K/P, Clinton HS

    Jacob Feeley, OL, Picayune Memorial HS

    Jessie Gill, DB, Union HS

    Stanley Higgins, WR, Starkville HS

    Brandon Hodges, OL, Aberdeen HS

    Isaac Johnson, WR, Meridian HS

    Jawon Johnson, DL, Starkville HS

    Derrick Jones, WR, Eupora HS (double-signed with Ole Miss)

    Quan Latham, DB, Columbus HS

    William Lloyd, LB, West Bolivar HS

    Justin Lucas, LB, Aberdeen HS

    David Mahaffey, OL, Brandon HS

    Benny McCall, LB, Lake Cormorant HS

    Kameron Myers, WR, Charleston HS

    Jamol Posey, DL, Hattiesburg HS

    Wesley Ragin, DL, Saltillo HS

    Joey Reynolds, OL, Picayune Memorial HS

    Dario Robinson, WR, Amory HS (double-signed with Southeastern Louisiana)

    Rod Sanders, LB, Leake Central HS

    JaQarius "Quez" Scott, DL, Meridian HS

    Brett Thompson, QB, Lake Cormorant HS

    Deshawn Tillman, DL, Bruce HS

    Deshadrick Truly, DB, Charleston HS

    Mario Virges, LB, West Point HS

    Justin Washington, DB, Byhalia HS