Braves rake in good class

Published 12:02 am Thursday, February 7, 2008

LORMAN — First-year Alcorn State head football coach Ernest Jones didn’t have a lot of time to assemble his first recruiting class, but according to him, it was plenty of time to assemble a quality class.

Alcorn hosted a signing day function Wednesday afternoon on National Signing Day, the first day high school football players could sign with a college.

Jones told the crowd of Braves supporters that he was very pleased with his first class, which would help get Alcorn back to the top of the SWAC.

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“It’s a new day around here,” Jones said. “The bar has been raised. We will raise the bar to graduating student athletes and raise the bar in competing for SWAC championships.”

The Braves signed a class of 22 players on National Signing Day, including two from Jefferson County High School whom Jones thinks will play a big role in getting Alcorn State back to the top of the SWAC.

Jefferson County quarterback Percy Turner and linebacker Shavikia Gaines signed with the Braves on Wednesday, receiving much praise from Jones.

“(Turner) reminds me of Steve McNair when he was here,” Jones told the crowd. “He makes plays. He can both throw and run out of the pocket. If something breaks down he can make something happen with his feet. He will be the next quarterback here at Alcorn.”

Jones said Gaines was like “a man playing with boys” in high school.

“I really like him a lot,” Jones told the crowd. “He can run and hit. That’s what we like in our linebackers. He will run down the ball carrier and then lay a big hit.”

Jones said after the function that getting Turner and Gaines was a top priority.

“Percy Turner is a dynamic athlete who knows what to do with the ball,” Jones said. “He is exactly what we need and he was right outside our gates. There was no way we were going to let him get away.”

Jones told the crowd that although his first recruiting class is a good one, he does not expect them to come in right away and make a huge difference.

“I believe in the men we have on campus now,” Jones said. “They’ve given me everything I was looking for. We can win the SWAC championship with the men we have on campus now. The guys we signed today are for the future.”