Purvis' Bolton, Johnson sign to play at the next level


PURVIS – A Purvis offensive lineman-running back combination signed National Letters of Intent to play football in college Wednesday. Running back Jon Bolton and offensive lineman Ramble Johnson – two members of the PineBeltSPORTS All-Area team – put pen to paper, signing to play at Alcorn State and Northwest Community College, respectively.

“They’re both four-year players,” Purvis coach Perry Wheat said. “We brought them up as freshman and they’ve contributed every year. The last couple of years they’ve been a big part of our program and started both years every game. They’re also good leaders for our team.”

The two join receiver C.J. Bolar, who signed with Vanderbilt in December, as Purvis players who linked with a college program this season. Bolar graduated in December and enrolled at Vanderbilt in January.

Bolton rushed for 3,062 yards and 27 touchdowns during his career at Purvis. He had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons his junior and senior year, finishing off his stellar career with 1,532 yards and 19 scores as a senior.

“Coach Wheat, he taught how to be a man, he showed me the way and how I should play football,” Bolton said.

Bolton took a visit to Alcorn State last week, and he said he enjoyed the family atmosphere in Lorman. His commitment came immediately after the trip, too.

“It’s a blessing,” Bolton said. “I give all my thanks to God, my coaches and family. They’re the ones who have been there for me throughout this whole journey.”

Lumberton receiver Donnell Buckner also signed with Alcorn State Wednesday, and even though Bolton said the two don’t know each other, the two will get to know each other soon as part of the Braves’ program.

The Braves went 7-5 last season and advanced to the SWAC Championship Game against Grambling State in December.

Johnson inked with Northwest because of his relationship with the coaches, specifically his position coach.

“I like their O-Line coach, coach (Jim) Jones, he’s a really good guy,” Johnson said. “He told me a lot about how he can help me. He said I was a lot like he was. Not really big yet, but he said he can get me there and I believe him.”

Johnson played center for the Tornadoes, and he blocked for Bolton since their freshman season.

“I love it,” Johnson said about blocking for Bolton. “I love that guy. I wish he could have signed with me, but he’s going to a good school and I’m happy for him.”

The Rangers’ program has seen tremendous success of the past couple of seasons. They went 8-3 overall in 2017 and played East Mississippi for the State Championship in November. Northwest beat the Lions in the first meeting, but fell in double overtime when the two met again. Northwest has won four NJCAA National Championships in its history.

However, the success of the program didn’t play a huge role for Johnson. He was looking for the best fit for him and what could get him to the next level.

“Not as much as most people think,” he said about if the program’s success had any factor in his decision. “What I look for is a good coach and a good program, because I don’t plan on being there too long. I plan on going bigger and better.”