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Local prep players take next step

February 6, 2013

Most high school football players went to bed Tuesday night knowing for sure where the next stop would be to continue their high school football careers.

There were some who slept on it.

As National Signing Day takes place across the nation, there are several local schools taking part.

Starkville High School has eight football players taking their talents to the next level.

Along with Gabe Myles going to Mississippi State expected to be the biggest signing, the Yellowjackets also have Jacoby Smith heading to Alcorn State, Kentrell Spencer and Raphael McClain going to Northwest Community College, Jimmy Saulberry joining East Central Community College, Johnny Smith attending Northeast Community College, and Preston Baker and Juwon Johnson inking with East Mississippi Community College. Stanley Higgins will be making a decision between East Mississippi Community College and Pearl River Community College possibly this morning.

"Those played for State championships two out of three year in their high school career and that's incredible," Starkville High School football coach Jamie Mitchell said. "That makes since I've been here the 22nd player to move on different places."

For example, SHS has Chris Prater at Louisiana-Lafayette, Quez Johnson at Florida Atlantic, Martavious Foster at Colorado State, Eric Rogers at Delta State and D.J. Jordan at UT-Martin.

"We've got kids all over the place playing, which I think is outstanding," Mitchell said. "We will add to all of that (today)."

Any commitments were made prior to today's signing day were verbal and could change before they put their names on the scholarship papers.

West Oktibbeha

Von Smith and Tiberias Lampkin of the Timberwolves will make official later this morning their decisions to play for East Mississippi Community College and Coahoma Community College, respectively.

It has been a long journey for the pair, but one that West Oktibbeha coach Adam Lowrey is glad he got to witness it.

“Both athletes did whatever I asked of them,” Lowrey said.  “Von made sure everybody did it the right way. He was a coach on field. He was unselfish in everything he did. Lampkin is a hard worker and 100 percent dedicated to football.”

East Webster

Austin Cunningham is the lone Wolverine signing today.

With his days at East Webster complete, the defensive end will be spending the next few years playing for the Millsaps Majors.

As Cunningham prepares to embark on the next step in life, his coach spoke on the growth he has witnessed during the senior’s career with the Wolverines.

“Austin is a very smart student,” East Webster coach Doug Wilson said. “He played middle linebacker last year and moved to defensive end for his senior year and still has a lot of potential to grow as he continues in his career.”


The Indians have four players who will ink national letter of intents this morning.

Included in the group are Alex Faust who will reveal his decision between Millsaps and Belhaven, followed by Trent Furr and Lenny Taylor who plan to sign with Co-lin and Northwest Community Colleges. respectively. Ackerman fans will have to wait until today to see where Quinton Lane will spend his college days as the senior is holding his decision until signing time.

It's not hard to see the progress of the group since beginning its playing days with the Indians.

During their 7th and 8th seasons combined, Ackerman picked up one win, but that all changed as they entered the later years. During the junior campaign, the squad posted 10 wins, while this past season, the Indians picked up nine victories.

“These players have come a long way and stuck with it,” Ackerman head coach Adam Dillinger said. “They kept working hard through high school and continued applying themselves the entire way.”


The Eagles have known that star wide receiver and defensive back Derrick Jones will spend his days with the Ole Miss Rebels, but the fans will have to wait until early this morning to see where running back Lazerick Davis is taking his talents.

On the eve of signing day, Jones and Davis’ coach Junior Graham talked about just how much the pair have meant to Eupora.

“Derrick and Lazerick have been consistent,” Graham said. “They did everything we ever asked of them. We are going to miss these guys, because they do a lot behind the scenes that helped this program grow.”

(Editor's Note: Starkville Daily News sports editor Danny P. Smith contributed to this story.)

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