Copiah-Lincoln football reloads with 36-player signing class

Published 11:26 am Thursday, February 8, 2024

The Copiah-Lincoln CC football program is coming off one of the best seasons in school history after winning 10 games, playing for a state title and winning a bowl game in 2023. Much of the success experienced by the program can be attributed to strong recruiting classes in the two prior cycles.

The quality of the players brought in by Co-Lin during that time was further made evident when 21 alums signed to play football at the next level in December with four-year colleges and universities around the nation.

On Wednesday, CLCC coach Glenn Davis and his staff took the first steps in filling the shoes of those departed players by announcing a 36-man signee class, which was among the largest reported by Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference (MACCC) schools.

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“This is a good group that’s going to help us reset our roster after losing a bunch of sophomores that mattered last year,” said Davis. “We didn’t win every recruiting battle, but we won more than a few on some guys that we worked hard to get. We talk about being a blue-collar program and the team last year was a great example of what that looks like. Not every kid is going to fit in with how we go about our business here, but I think we found some great fits in this class for our program.”

Davis and his staff went to the Midsouth Association of Independent Schools (MAIS) to sign a trio of offensive linemen in Devan Drennan from Simpson Academy, Jack Boyd of East Rankin Academy and Edarius Green of Adams County Christian School. 

Boyd is massive, standing 6-foot-8 and weighing 340-pounds and Green is a transfer from East Mississippi Community College where he was part of the team this season as a freshman.

“Jack Boyd is a guy that committed to us early and he and our offensive line coach Jacob Fleming had a strong relationship, even when other schools came in and tried to recruit him,” said Daivs. “We’ve signed some big guys across the board on the offensive line with this group.”

Co-Lin pulled three other players out of the MAIS ranks in linebacker Lonnie Smith Jr. of Madison-St. Joe, tight end/long snapper Jackson Easton of Starkville Academy and athlete Jordan Berry of Adams County Christian School.

The Wolves return a quarterback with experience in Wesson product Will Loy, who started and won a game last season when the starter was injured. Co-Lin added another quarterback to the roster on Wednesday by signing Eli Viniard of Jefferson Davis County High School. Viniard signed with the program back in December as he was an early graduate from JDC.

The biggest haul from one school for Co-Lin on Wednesday came via Mendenhall High, where four Tigers signed to next play for the Wolves. That group includes defensive back Jay Ulmer, defensive lineman Fredrick Dampeer, linebacker Davin Chung and wide receiver Marcus Allen Jr.

“Those guys were a big part of Mendenhall making the state championship as juniors and they’ve been guys we identified and started recruiting a long time before today,” said Davis. 

As has often been the case in his over 20 years of coaching at Co-Lin, Davis and his staff were aggressive in recruiting the Mississippi Delta and the towns that lay on its reaches. From that area on Wednesday, Co-Lin inked defensive lineman Dykenyen Williams from North Panola, offensive lineman Londen Butler of Clarksdale High, offensive lineman Joseph Warren of Greenwood High, defensive back Tenerrean Jackson of Cleveland Central, tight end Kamron Pittman of Clarksdale High and offensive lineman Zailin Jones of Yazoo City.

“We’ve been blessed to pull lots of players out of that area over the years and all the ones that have come here have gone on to have successful careers after Co-Lin and I think that helps us in our recruiting,” said Davis.

The Wolves also pulled in a strong haul of players that prepped within a short drive of the campus in Wesson. Included in that group are Brandon High defensive back Jonathan Crain, Hazlehurst High defensive lineman Jaleel Jackson, Lawrence County athlete Kannon Cato, McComb High wide receiver Jamarion McCray, Tylertown High linebacker LeeTrelveon Holmes, Port Gibson defensive lineman RaKeem Davis and Natchez High wide receiver Ca’Ron Williams.

CLCC picked up two transfers that they recruited last year in Natchez High product Mike Williams and Hazlehurst High alum Doug Nelson. Williams, a wide receiver, was at Jackson State last season. Nelson, who’ll likely play defensive back at Co-Lin, is transferring from the University of Central Arkansas.

“Getting Mike and Doug to transfer in is big for us,” said Davis. “I’m proud of the job our coaches did in pulling guys from places like Hazlehurst and Natchez and all the other schools that are close to our campus. That’s a priority for us every year.”

The Co-Lin staff also got three players from the Mississippi Gulf Coast in Biloxi High defensive back Bryce Hooker, Harrison Central wide receiver Kieron Jones and Gulfport High athlete Gavin Brown. 

In the total signing class, 15 players are listed as being on the defensive side of the ball and that group includes linebacker Jermar McCarter of Starkville High and linebacker Owen Carter of Richton High.

Included in the 13 players listed on the offensive side was West Point tight end Que Tillman-Evans.

Additionally, the signing class was rounded out by four signees from outside the Magnolia State.

Beau Chene (La.) wide out Matthew Mayfield signed with Co-Lin after previously being committed to Mississippi State during his senior season. Also signing from the Louisiana high school ranks on Wednesday were Alexandria High defensive lineman Aayden Walker and St. James offensive lineman Jermaine “Big Baby” Mitchell. Mitchell stands 6-foot-8 and weighs 310-pounds. 

“Jermaine Mitchell had been committed to Holmes, but we were able to get him in on a visit recently and he committed to us two days later,” said Davis. “He’s part of that big group of offensive linemen that we’re excited about getting in.”

Wide receiver signee Jordan Richardson hails from Buchholz High in Gainesville, Florida and will hope to make an impact in a wide out group that lost its top eight pass catchers to graduation.

Co-Lin will hold football tryouts on Wednesday, Feb. 14 at 9:30 a.m. Check in will be held at Pitts Fieldhouse on the north side of Stone Stadium in Wesson. All participants must bring cleats, tennis shoes and shorts. There is a $20 tryout fee, and all participants must have a completed physical form.