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Three Wilkinson players sign with Division I schools

WOODVILLE — For Wilkinson County High School, National Signing Day 2011 was an historic one, as the school sent three football players to play Division I college football.

Defensive tackle James Maiden, wide receiver Devin Fosselman and offensive lineman Jonathan Scott each signed national letters of intent in the school’s gymnasium Wednesday morning.

Maiden and Fosselman signed with Mississippi State, while Scott signed with Alcorn State. Wilkinson County head football coach Elbert Lyles said three D-I signees on one day was the most in the school’s history.

“We haven’t had any SEC signees in the last 30 years, so this is great for the county and school district as well,” Lyles said.

“All of these young men are academically sound. They have the ACT scores and GPAs they need, so they’re definitely well qualified.”

All three of them picking Mississippi schools was also a positive, Lyles said.

“They want to stay close so their families won’t have to travel far to watch them play,” Lyles said. “This helps build the programs in the state of Mississippi.”

For Scott, the decision to choose Alcorn came early this week. And Scott said he wasn’t going to back down from the challenge of learning a new position on the offensive line once in Lorman.

“They offered me Monday morning, and I got to talk to (new head coach Melvin) Spears,” Scott said.

“He’s a real straight up guy and he got straight to the point. He was talking to me about my size and position. I play guard, and he asked me if I could snap the ball from the center position. I told him, ‘Yes sir.’”

Getting a decision over with was a great relief, Scott said.

“It feels like some pressure is off of me. I love Alcorn State,” Scott said. “Half of Wilkinson County goes to Alcorn, and I’m the only player signing with them, so I’ve got all the support and the backbone.”

Maiden, who committed to Mississippi State last fall, said finally getting the signing done was a great feeling, and he never wavered on his commitment to the Bulldogs.

“I means a lot to represent Wilkinson County,” Maiden said. “It’s always been me and Devin’s plan to play together, and it means a lot to play in the SEC.”

Fosselman said the family atmosphere in Starkville played a big role in his decision to sign with the Bulldogs. He also said he was grateful for the Bulldog coaches keeping his offer intact while he battled through an injury during his senior season at Wilkinson County.

“They stuck behind me, told me to get well and get in school,” Fosselman said.

Playing in the SEC is a dream come true, Fosselman said, and he’s glad he gets to share that dream with Maiden.

“He’s been my boy ever since we were in diapers,” Fosselman said. “It’s great to both have this opportunity.”

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