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Co-Lin rings in spring; prepares for 2013 season

WESSON – It’s a new beginning for the Co-Lin Community College Wolfpack. Minus 18 starters from the 2012 MACJC State Championship squad, Coach Glenn Davis and his coaching staff spent a fruitful spring trying to fill vacancies on offense and defense.

Co-Lin finished 9-3 last season, winning its first state championship since 1985 and playing the Fifth Annual Mississippi Bowl. Besides that outstanding group of sophomores, Davis must replace defensive coordinator Larry Williams who opted for a higher paying position at Hinds.

Davis said around 50 players participated in spring practice. Last year’s team members received their championship rings during a ceremony in early April.

A top priority will be replacing 2-year starter Chandler Rogers at quarterback. The All-Region standout from Brookhaven (Academy) passed for over 2,500 yards and signed with Arkansas State University.

“We had more offensive linemen than we have had in a long time,” said Davis. “We are further along than where we were last year.”

“Our tight ends are all back and they got a bunch of snaps this spring.”

Robert Hobson, a transfer from Northwest (Tupelo) quarterbacked the team during spring drills.

Quarterback signee Daniel Fitzwater, a highly-touted 6-foot-5 standout from Shreveport, La. arrives in June. Incoming freshman Zach Smith of Brookhaven is in the mix.

Fitzwater came over during spring break and watched some Co-Lin practices. Smith also spent some time at Co-Lin when he wasn’t playing baseball for Brookhaven.

“There will be some competition this summer,” when the players report for summer school and volunteer workouts.

The offensive line must replace 5 starters. Jack Johnson, David Adams, Ryan Proctor showed promise in the spring. “We are really counting on those guys,” said Davis. “We moved Xavier Dampeer from defense to offense. Those guys are good. We just have to find a center.”

Sophomore center Stone Underwood has signed with West Virginia.

Casey Gladden and Bubba Keene have experience at wide receiver. “Receiver-wise, Ross Hill has all the tools but he has to step up and be consistent,” said Davis.

He said receiver Trent Powell sustained another ankle injury, this time the second spring practice. Powell missed last season due to an early injury that required surgery.

“We have a good nucleus of kids back,” said Davis. “Some of the kids who we signed we are counting on them to give us some depth. Some of them will start.”

At running back, Van Lee played a lot last year, backing up Darius Guy. “We have had a couple guys come in who will push him,” said Davis.

Co-Lin must replace Nolan Long, a 2-year starter at punter and placekicker. They also need a long snapper to replace Tevin Tobias.

Defensive Outlook

On the defensive side of the football, Co-Lin led the MACJC in total defense last year. Eight of those starters graduated.

Reviewing the defensive linemen, Davis said Carroll Phillips and Anthony Cunningham are expected to anchor the trench. “Those two guys are the best,” said Davis. “The rest have to come on and get better.”

Two defensive ends, Terrell Hartsfield and Jerrell Jordan, both signed with Cincinnati.

At linebacker, Davis said Jordan Harris and Jamall Ellis “are steady.”

In the secondary, Greg Sims and Kalen Jackson return plenty of experience. Davis said , “We are counting on them heavily to play well next season.”

Co-Lin begins preseason practice in early August. The Wolfpack’s first game is Aug. 29, hosting the Northeast Tigers.