Alcorn State signs 17 players

Published 12:38 am Friday, February 6, 2009

LORMAN — There will be 17 new faces on the Alcorn State football team next year.

The university signed 17 high school athletes Wednesday on National Signing Day, and interim head coach Earnest Collins is excited for the future.

“This is a great group of kids,” Collins said in a statement released Wednesday. “They wanted to come to Alcorn and play.”

Email newsletter signup

Among those signed are receivers Sam Randall, of Wingfield High in Jackson, and Tavoris Doss, of Sheffield High in Memphis, Tenn.

“Those two guys in particular fit the need that we have for getting some speed on the team,” Collins said. “They both can run, and they’re pretty shifty. They’ll come in right away and make a big impact on the return teams. They can do something special when they get out in space.”

Four other Mississippians, defensive lineman Joel Clems, of Hattiesburg High, Armand Stevenson, a defensive back from Murrah High in Jackson, linebacker William Seliby, of Harrison Central in Saucier, and linebacker Robert Gainwell of Yazoo City High also signed Wednesday.

Collins said Seliby and Gainwell, along with Darryl Ward of Homestead (Fla.) High, will make a big impact on a Braves team that lost three guys off its linebacker corps this year.

Also on defense, the Braves signed defensive lineman Patrick Christian, of Whitehaven High in Memphis, Elijah Young, of Bowling Green (Ky.) High and Kevaughn Williams, of W.H. Adamson High in Dallas.

“On the defense we filled some holes. We needed to get some bigger bodies on the defensive line, and I feel like we did that,” Collins said. “Those kids are big bodies we can put up front. Christian is a kid with great potential, and we’re looking for some big things out of him from the outside.”

Bobby Tatum of Forney (Texas) High, and Matthew Haynes of Warren Central High in Indianapolis, Ind., signed in the offensive lineman position.

From Louisiana, tight end Terrance Green from St. James High School and wide receiver Larry Moore from Edna Karr High in New Orleans signed letters of intent.

Collins said he can’t yet tell how many freshmen will get to start next year.

“I don’t coach off seniority,” Collins said. “Whether you’re a freshman or a senior, I don’t care; the best guy is going to get on the field. We don’t earn our living off who’s been here the longest. We earn it off who is the best player in that position.

“You can never tell with a freshman how they’ll adjust to the speed of the game and the mental aspect.”

Defensive back Mark Nyainda and athlete Donté Parker both signed from Mansfield Timberview High near Dallas, and running back Arnold Walker, of Atlanta’s McNair High, round out the first signees.

Collins said he doesn’t rate his recruits against other teams, but he feels he has a good freshman class.

“I don’t know what those other teams did, I just know what we did,” he said. “For us, I think these kids were a great fit We’ll take these kids we have and try to get the best out of them that we can.”