Bobcats sign 31 to football scholarships on NSD

By SHAWN WANSLEY,

ELLISVILLE – Jones County Junior College head coach Steve Buckley was very pleased with the haul the Bobcats made Wednesday on National Signing Day.

“This is my third signing day here and we were able to meet most every need on our board right now,” Buckley said in his office Thursday morning. “Obviously, there is some out-of-state room left that we will continue to recruit over the next three or four months. There are also a couple of Mississippi kids that have not signed that we are still actively recruiting.

“We signed 31 kids and I think it’s not only a great group athletically, but it’s a great group character-wise. Our staff did an incredible job of being persistent, doing our background research, getting on kids and closing the deal in the end.”

The Bobcats inked seven wide receivers, including Immanuel Jones (5-7, 160) of Amory, Johnquarise Patterson (6-1, 165) of Pearl, Jacory Rankin (5-10, 175) of Port Gibson, D’Kenyace Roberts (6-4, 190) of Amite County, twins Nataurean Watts (6-2, 180) and Natorian Watts (6-4, 185) of Petal and Gabriel Douglas (6-3, 200) of Denton Ryan High School in Dallas, Texas.

Patterson also signed with Mississippi State and Douglas was a longtime Texas Tech commit.

“Obviously, we had to sign seven receivers,” Buckley said. “We keep eight on our roster and only have one returning guy. We feel like we got a combination of length and speed and we got some slot guys who are short in stature, but are explosive athletes.”

The lone running back signee was Kalyn Grandberry (6-1, 185) of Raleigh Egypt High School in Memphis, Tennessee. Tight end signees were Kris Moncrief (6-2, 230) of Raleigh and Dontavious Porter (6-2, 235) of Heidelberg.

“At running back, we got the out-of-state kid and we went hard on some kids in-state, but they ended up making their grades and met NCAA eligibility and ended up signing DI,” Buckley said. “From a tight end standpoint, we really helped ourselves with two really good players.”

Offensive line signees include Logan Canerdy (6-3, 280) of Caledonia, Jordan Chapman (6-3, 265) of Greene County, Alexis Galle (6-1, 265) of Biloxi and Nick Rose (6-2, 275) of Hancock.

“In the offensive line, we still have two spots available,” Buckley said. “We have three returners and we signed four.”

The Bobcats inked two quarterbacks, including Brodie King (5-11, 175) of Biloxi and Fred Barnum (6-0, 185) of Warren Central. King is also listed as a wide receiver.

In the defensive line, JCJC signed ends Johnny Banks (6-3, 220) of Port Gibson and James Williams (6-5, 285) of Jackson Callaway and nose guard Qvaius Currie (6-0, 295) of Seminary.

Williams also signed with Ole Miss.

Linebacker signees are Nick Anderson (6-0, 228) of Vicksburg, Daylen Gill (6-1, 225) of Louisville and Raheem Shorter (5-11, 200) of Port Gibson.

Defensive back signees are Lakevias Daniel (6-0, 160) of Louisville, Roderick Hicks (6-0, 180) of Vicksburg, J.D. Rutherford (5-10, 175) of St. Stanislaus, Fred Smith (6-1, 170) of Simmons, Myron Stewart (6-0, 175) of Port Gibson, Derrick “DJ” Travis, Jr., (5-11, 165) of Poplarville and Enrique Whaley (6-0, 165) of Stone.

“Defensively, we have good numbers returning, but we helped ourselves with some speed from the front end to the back end,” Buckley said.

The Bobcats signed placekicker Cristofer Thompson (5-10, 175) of Adams County Christian Academy and punter Greg Hayden (5-7, 160) of Vicksburg.

“We lost our kicker and punter from last year, so we felt like we had to take one of each,” Buckley said.

Buckley, who has guided JCJC to a 14-5 record in two seasons as head coach and the MACJC South Division crown in 2017, praised his coaching staff for its work in the recruiting process.

“It was relentless,” he said. “That’s the word that keeps popping into my mind. It’s not about me. Our staff does the evaluations, makes the contacts and works their rears off, seeing kids weekly, getting kids on campus, building relationships, not only with the kids, but with their parents.

“I think our staff did a tremendous job through this whole process.”

Buckley said a tryout date will be announced soon and then the staff will work on setting a schedule for spring practice.

“The next phase after tryouts and we get our roster about 85 percent complete will be spring training,” he said. “It will be a limited spring training because of the number of kids here offensively. We were that way the first year and it worked out well for us. We will come up with a plan to do that again.”

Spring practice will likely begin sometime in mid-April.

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