Area alums made impact in 2018 college football

Published 8:58 pm Thursday, December 13, 2018

With the college football bowl season kicking off on Saturday, there is no better time to review the performances of area alums who played on the collegiate level this season.

Brookhaven High

The largest school in the area has the most alums playing collegiately, as eight former Panthers were on college football rosters in 2018.

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BHS alum and current Tulane nose tackle Jeffery Johnson will suit up for the Green Wave on Saturday in the AutoNation Cure Bowl in Orlando, Florida. The game begins at 12:30 p.m. and will be televised on CBS Sports Network.

It’s just the 12th bowl bid in the 125-year history of Tulane Football. The Green Wave went 4-1 over their final five games to become bowl eligible. The 6-foot-2, 320-pound freshman Johnson played in 12 games and made 30 tackles, with one coming for a loss. Johnson and his teammates face Louisiana-Lafayette in their bowl game. 

Alcorn State will also be playing on television Saturday in a bowl game, as the SWAC champion Braves take on North Carolina A&T in the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl. BHS alum Wanya Morris is a junior and member of the Alcorn team that plays at 11:00 a.m. on ABC.

Alcorn finished 9-3 and 6-1 in the SWAC to set up their meeting against the MEAC champions from North Carolina. The 6-foot-2, 290-pound Morris signed with Alcorn last year after previously playing at Southwest Mississippi Community College.

Southwest Mississippi had another strong BHS contingent this past season, as Panther alums Michael Stallings, Dedric Smith, and Dahauntre Hill suited up for the Bears in 2018. The 6-foot-2, 260-pound Stallings and the 6-foot-3, 362-pound Hill saw time on the defensive line, and the 6-foot-2, 273-pound Smith was an offensive lineman. All three were freshmen this season.

Southern Mississippi became bowl eligible with a season-ending win over UTEP, but the Eagles were not picked for a bowl game in 2018. BHS alum Trace Clopton was a force in the middle of the USM offensive line as a true freshman. Clopton was recently named to the C-USA All-Freshman team after appearing in 10 games with seven starts. Clopton was one of nine true freshmen in the entire nation to start as an offensive lineman in the opening week of the season.

Defensive back and BHS alum J.J. Jones also saw time as a true freshman for Southern Miss in 2018. A defensive back, Jones played in six games, made one tackle and broke up a pass. With a defensive backfield that was full of upperclassmen, expect Jones to see his role grow as a sophomore.

The No. 18 Mississippi State Bulldogs are Tampa bound as they take on the Iowa Hawkeyes on Jan. 1 in the Outback Bowl. The game kicks at 11 a.m. and will be televised on ABC. Former Panther Leo Lewis finished sixth on the team in tackles as a junior. A linebacker, Lewis made 45 stops for the 8-4 Bulldogs.


Wesson alum Farrod Green also had a big season as a junior for Mississippi State. Green caught 10 passes for 74 yards and has built a reputation as one of the most physical run-blocking tight ends in the SEC.

Former Wesson quarterback Dell Thigpen had some nice moments as a freshman for Copiah-Lincoln Community College as a wide receiver. Thigpen rushed two times for 54 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown run on a sweep against East Central.

Lawrence County

Jackson State suited up two former Lawrence County Cougars in sophomore running back Quitten Brown and freshman wide receiver Kendarius Feazell. Brown rushed 66 times for 247 yards and scored two touchdowns. His best game was against Mississippi Valley State when he ran five times for 59 yards.

Big Corbin Lewis was a member of the Pearl River Wildcats in 2018. The former Cougar is a 6-foot-7, 290-pound sophomore offensive lineman.

The award for playing football farthest away from your hometown goes to Lawrence County alum Charl’Tez Nunnery. A quarterback, Nunnery is a sophomore at Division III Lakeland University in Plymouth, Wisconsin. Nunnery played in eight games for the Muskies and went 50-of-122 for 869 yards and nine touchdowns. He also rushed 95 times for 408 yards and three scores.

Loyd Star

Former Hornet Patrick Price redshirted this season at Coahoma Community College. The move wasn’t that surprising after Price suffered a major leg injury late in his senior season. Expect the All-Area alum to see time in the Tiger backfield in 2019.

West Lincoln

Former Bear Chase Owen was a freshman this season for the Hinds Eagles. A 6-foot-2, 235-pound tight end, Owen suited up for a Hinds team that finished 4-5 in 2018.

Story by Cliff Furr