Four NHS players ink with colleges
Published 12:08 am Thursday, February 2, 2012
NATCHEZ — Four Natchez High School Bulldogs will soon move on to become Boll Weevils and Wolves as they each signed their letters of intent to play college football next fall.
Natchez’s Xavier Green and Devonte Jackson both signed letters of intent to play their college ball at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. Bulldogs’ wide receiver Cody Tucker and running back Larry Chatman signed to play their respective positions at Copiah-Lincoln Community College.
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Green said Arkansas-Monticello felt like the right place for him when he visited, and he really liked the school’s facilities and campus.
“It felt like another home,” he said.
Green also liked the fact that the school has a successful nursing program, which is his intended field of study.
“They have a 98 percent graduation rate,” he said.
Green, who was accompanied by his parents Ametra and Clarence Green as well as his sister Brilexus and brother Devonte at his signing inside the Steckler Multipurpose building at Natchez High, said he plans on playing defensive end for the Boll Weevils next fall.
But Green said he is anxious about getting to campus for reasons outside of football as well.
“First of all (I’m excited about) being around a new environment, looking at new things, meeting new people and being away from home,” he said.
Natchez head coach Lance Reed said Green is a player that did things the right way at Natchez.
“He definitely has been a model player in our program,” Reed said. “He has been consistent in every aspect on and off the field. His character will take him a long way.”
Jackson will join Green at Arkansas-Monticello, and he said having a teammate on campus with him would help his transition.
“It will be very good,” he said. “Hopefully we can be roommates and keep our friendship going.”
Jackson will also study nursing at Arkansas-Monticello. He said his mother, Dorothy Jackson, is the inspiration behind his field of study.
“I just want to follow in my momma’s footsteps,” he said. “It’s good money, and I like taking care of people.”
Reed said Jackson brings versatility to Arkansas-Monticello, and he will be able to help the team in a variety of different ways.
Jackson will play cornerback for the Boll Weevils, and he said the program’s facilities, coaches and stadium attracted him to the university.
He said he is ready to start school and playing football. He said he is anxious about the first time he steps on to a collegiate practice field.
“It’s going to be intense,” he said.
Jackson’s mother, father, Lee Jackson III, and brother, Lee Jackson Jr. accompanied him at his signing.
Tucker said staying close to his family was a major factor in his decision to attend Co-Lin.
“I like the set up there, and it’s closer to home and my family,” Tucker said. “If there are family issues or in case they need me or I need them (I am close).”
Jackson said the teachers at Co-Lin made him feel comfortable academically.
“I’ve talked to a couple of teachers, and they told me they will do whatever they can to help you,” he said.
Tucker said he brings a solid, reliable player to boost the Wolves receiving corps.
“I can catch the ball,” he said. “If they throw me the ball I catch it. I’m not selfish, and I will work hard and be physical.”
Tucker’s mother, Connie Thomas, also added that he is pretty fast, and Reed agreed with that assessment.
“He’s extremely fast,” Reed said. “And speed is always an asset on the next level.”
Reed said he has enjoyed watching Tucker develop as a player and a student during his career at Natchez.
“He’s done things on and off the field, and he’s starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Reed said.
Tucker said he wants to study either business administration or nursing at Co-Lin.
Co-Lin also added a new running back to its backfield when Chatman signed to play for the Wolves.
“(Co-Lin) is a great school, and I would love to continue my football career there,” Chatman said before signing his letter of intent.
Reed said Chatman was one of the Bulldogs’ best runners this season, and he will be a player that brings great athleticism with him to Wesson.
“Larry came into our program with tremendous talent,” Reed said. “He had a great year last year, and if you factor in his hard work with his athleticism he has the ability to contribute.”
Chatman said he is real excited about continuing his football career, and he is already looking forward to football season.
“(My goal is) to become the starting running back,” he said.
Chatman signed his letter of intent with his aunts, Gretchen Stewart and Twyane Stewart, by his side.
Reed said it’s an honor for Natchez to have four players continue their football careers.
“It’s always a pleasure to have these guys move on,” he said. “We are proud of them, and are glad they get to continue their education.”