Meridian Star

Sports

December 16, 2013

Lions land 6 on NJCAA All-American team

SCOOBA — The postseason accolades continued to roll in for East Mississippi Community College Monday afternoon. Fresh off of a second national championship in three years, the Lions named six players to the National Junior College Athletic Association’s All-American team. 

    Quarterback Dontreal Pruitt headlined the group for the Lions and was followed by offensive lineman Avery Gennesy and defensive end Jimmie Gipson III as first-team selections. Linebacker Christian Russell was named to the second team, while cornerback A.J. Stamps and D.J. Pettway made honorable mentions.

    Pruitt’s selection marks the sixth straight time an EMCC quarterback was selected as a first-team member. Quez Johnson (currently at Florida Atlantic), Bo Wallace (Ole Miss), Brad Henderson (Northwestern State) and two-time selection Randall Mackey (Ole Miss) previously earned All-American honors for the Lions.

    “We have been blessed with not only great athletes but also great people,” EMCC head coach Buddy Stephens said. “All of those guys were not only great players, they were also great kids to coach. Dontreal is no different. He is great not only on the field, but he has been a leader for us as well.”

    Gennesy, who is committed to play at Texas A&M next season, anchored an EMCC offensive line that helped the Lions average a NJCAA best 62.2 points per game this season.

    “He’s a two-year starter for us,” Stephens said. “Both years he was at the left tackle position, and that’s an important position for us. It’s hard to play that here with all the things we do, and he did an excellent job.”

    Gipson III led the NJCAA in sacks this season with 17 while also accounting for 65 tackles. He was named Defensive MVP of the Mississippi Bowl on Dec. 8 in Biloxi.

    “Jimmie has been solid for us,” Stephens said. “He is a guy that goes in and gets after it every play. We had a great defense this year, and he was a driving force behind a lot of what we did.”

    Christian Russell finished second on the team with 80 tackles including seven for a loss. He also accounted for eight pass break-ups on the year. Russell recently committed to play for Ole Miss next season.

    Pettway, a University of Alabama transfer, excelled in his first season with the Lions. The 6-3, 255-pound defensive lineman finished fifth in the nation with 11.5 sacks.

    Stamps made the switch from wide receiver to defensive back this season. The change payed off as he intercepted four passes for the Lions, including a 100-yard pick-six in the team’s season opener against Pearl River. Stamps also had 51 tackles and nine pass break-ups for the EMCC.

    EMCC’s six selections tied Georgia Military and Iowa Western for the most All-Americans this season. The six players are also the most for the Lions in Stephen’s six-year coaching tenure with EMCC.

    “I’m just proud of everyone,” Stephens said. “All six of those guys are great young men. They are all sophomores and have been great for us during their time here. I know they are going to go on and do great things.”

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