Jacob Partridge is glad the day finally came.
The Lamar senior was toying with several schools, including Mississippi College and Delta State, before eventually choosing East Mississippi Community College at which he would continue his football career.
He made it official Wednesday, signing his national letter of intent along with two of his teammates at Lamar’s gymnasium.
“(There’s been) a lot of stress over the past couple months trying to decide where to go, and when I signed, knowing I’m at home and all that’s over with, it’s really relieving,” Partridge said. “I just felt East Mississippi gave me the best chance to find a four-year (school) where I really felt comfortable at. The staff at East Mississippi really made me feel at home.”
The Raiders’ star receiver was named All-District and All-State in 2019 and 2018, as well as District 2-5A Offensive MVP after catching 64 passes for more than 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns this past season, for which he was named to The Meridian Star’s Premier Preps football team.
“I’ve always liked competition and having to work for a starting position every year,” he said. “I just knew East Mississippi would give me the best exposure, the best coaching, everything like that, and a chance to win a ring, too.”
Lamar defensive backs Brandrick Thomas and John Houston Gordy also made official their commitments to Belhaven University. Thomas said he was drawn to Belhaven for its close proximity to his family, as well as its criminal justice program.
“I didn’t get much sleep. I was just up thinking about today,” Thomas said. “Then I finally went off to sleep and when I woke up this morning I was like, ‘It’s here, the day I’ve been waiting for to sign to start playing football after high school.’”
Gordy said he made his decision to attend Belhaven after his visit to the Jackson-based school, and he’s also thankful that National Signing Day finally arrived.
“I really loved the people over there ,and it’s a really nice campus, so I just decided that’s where I needed to be,” Gordy said. “It’s pretty exciting, with all my friends and family here, just realizing how much support I’ve had during this process.”
With Wednesday’s signings, the Raiders will have eight alumni playing college football this fall, and head football coach Mac Barnes said these three have shown where a strong work ethic can lead and that getting to play at the next level builds character for after football ends.
“None of them are very big, but they’re competitive, and they work hard,” Barnes said. “What we really want to do is to get them to that next level, and then from that next level get on out and be productive in life, and I think this helps them do that.”