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Natchez High players named All-State

NATCHEZ — After being picked to play in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Classic earlier this year, Natchez High offensive and defensive lineman Justin Hamilton can add another accolade to his list.

On Thursday he was named to the MHSAA Class 6A All-State first team.

Hamilton was the only Natchez High player to make the first team, although senior linebacker Raymond Williams was selected to the second team.

Natchez High coach Lance Reed said Hamilton is deserving of all the accolades he has received.

“Justin has had unlimited potential from day one,” Reed said. “He has been a kid who really developed and matured into a premier lineman in our state this year. He has really developed into a big, agile lineman who can really utilize his skills to make plays.”

Reed said Hamilton has a skill set that makes for an ideal lineman.

“He is big, strong and fast,” Reed said. “We have asked a lot out of him playing both sides of the ball. He barely left the field. On the next level, he’ll have the opportunity to focus on one side of the ball and show what he can do.”

According to Scout.com, Hamilton has received interest from Louisiana-Lafayette, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Southeast Louisiana and Southern Miss.

Reed said Hamilton could play either side of the ball in college, which is a testament to his talent.

“It depends on what style of lineman a team is looking for,” Reed said. “Justin can move well enough where he can play either the offensive line or defensive line. That just shows the kind of talent he has.”

Hamilton is in Mobile, Ala., this week for the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game, which is at noon on Saturday.

Reed, who will be attending the game with his coaching staff, said he has been communicating with Hamilton through text messages this week.

“He has really been pleased with the setup and he’s looked forward to the competition and showing what he can really do on that stage. He has really enjoyed himself so far.”

While Williams isn’t playing in the all-star game on Saturday, he was also honored as a second team All-Class 6A selection, a selection that was well-deserved, Reed said.

“Raymond not only had a great year, but a great career at Natchez High,” Reed said. “He is a kid who is a tremendously hard worker. I personally coached him at his position of linebacker and he’s a pleasure to work with.”

Reed said Williams was a player that everyone on the team looked up to.

“He developed into a great role model on our team and a hard-nosed player. He’s a guy that walks into the weight room and goes at it nonstop. He battled back from a torn ACL last season. He worked hard to get back and get prepared for his senior year, and he did it.”

In addition to the two All-State players, Natchez also had numerous players selected to the All-Region 3-6A team.

Quarterback Javon Washington was named most valuable offensive player while Kevin Bailey was named outstanding running back and Hamilton named outstanding offensive lineman.

Williams, defensive lineman Raheem Frank, defensive back Detrique Sims, defensive back Levester Shepherd, wide receiver Damion Williams and wide receiver Trevon Chatman were named to the All-Region first team.

Defensive back Joe Perry, linebacker Cornelius Redden, defensive back Brian Isaac, defensive back Jeremy Davis and offensive lineman Levarious Dorsey were named to the second team, and defensive lineman Chris Curtis, defensive lineman Xavier Green and wide receiver Scott Turner were named honorable mention.

Reed said it was an honor for that many of his players to be given postseason awards.

“We are a 6A school sitting in over here by ourselves in Southwest Mississippi,” Reed said. “Every opportunity we have to give our kids recognition, we welcome that. Our kids do deserve the attention they seldom get.”