Quitman High School’s senior class went down as the winningest class in school history, compiling a 37-18 record over four years. The talent in the class was put to display Wednesday, as the Panthers announced Anthony McGee, Chris Berry, Lance Lyon, Thomas Tucker and Franklin Jones will all take their game to the next level in the fall.
“They are all high-character, good in the class room, just fine young men,” Quitman head coach Steven Bynum said. “It’s kind of funny how that works out. Most of the time colleges end up with the guys who are some of the higher character kids on your team. I’m super proud of them.”
Defensive lineman Anthony McGee signed with East Central Community College. McGee caused seven fumbles and recovered four for the Panthers last season. Offensive linemen Chris Berry and Lance Lyon signed with EMCC. Offensive lineman Thomas Tucker signed with Faulkner University in Montgomery, Ala.
Lyon said he and Berry have played together since junior high and that he is excited to continue to play along side his friend at the next level.
“Getting to play with Coach (Buddy) Stephens and all the coaches up at EMCC, it is really a blessing for both of us,” Lyon said.
Perhaps the biggest news of the day for the Panthers was star quarterback Franklin Jones’ decision to sign with Miles College in Birmingham, Ala.
Jones was the heart and soul of the Quitman offense last season, passing for 1,441 yards and nine touchdowns in the air, while also tallying 1,790 yards and 29 touchdowns on the ground. However, Jones will switch to the opposite side of the ball at the college level, as Miles College plans to use the athlete at defensive back.
“It’s going to be different, but I will get used to it,” Jones said. “I think I can do it, but I am going to have to work hard.”
Jones will still get the opportunity to have the ball in his hands, as the Golden Bears will use him as a return specialist as well. Jones did not participate in special teams at Quitman in order to protect him from injury. While he is inexperienced at returning, the elusive playmaker is just happy to have the ball in his hands any way he can get it.
“ I didn’t get to do it here, but I’m a quick learner,” Jones said. “I’m going to show what I can do in the return game, and hopefully they put me on offense. I really want to play offense, but I am just happy to be playing college football.”
— Tony Tsoukalas