Signing day: Prep stars make college decisions

Published 1:00 am Thursday, February 7, 2013

NATCHEZ — Two Natchez High Bulldogs turned into Tigers Wednesday morning when they signed their letters of intent to play football at Jackson State University.

All-Metro Player of the Year Derrian Johnson, and First-Team All-Metro defensive back Kris Weatherspoon weighed the options of a few different offers before each deciding on JSU.

“I could see myself getting the opportunity to play ball for possibly four years and not red shirt,” Johnson said. “I am glad to get (the process) over with. I didn’t have as many offers as I expected, but I am grateful for the ones I do have. Now I have to get myself prepared, start workouts and get more responsible.”

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Johnson’s mother, Shawnette Cheatham, is a JSU alum, and Johnson said she is very excited about him attending her alma mater.

Both of Weatherspoon’s parents also attended Jackson State, and he said that played a factor in his decision to head to Jackson over offers from Grambling State, Northwestern State, Tennessee-Martin and Alcorn State.

“(My parents) really wanted me to go to their school,” Weatherspoon said. “It’s a good school with a nice campus.”

Weatherspoon said he hopes to work on getting stronger before trying to earn a spot on Jackson State’s depth chart next fall.

Johnson and Weatherspoon will follow in the footsteps of record-breaking wide receiver, and Natchez High alumnus, Rico Richardson, who had a monster career at JSU.

Natchez coach Lance Reed said the Bulldogs have a good relationship with JSU.

“It’s always good for our guys to have the opportunity to go to the next level and further their education,” Reed said. “When we have players go (to a school) and do well, often times they will come back to look for more guys. We have a good relationship, and we are proud of the guys that have been there before and are definitely proud of the guys going now.”

Adams County Christian School

Rebels offensive lineman Garrett Keating signed a letter of intent with Copiah-Lincoln Community College Wednesday afternoon.

Keating said signing to play college football was pretty special, since earning a scholarship was something he’s been working toward for a while.

“I’ve been dreaming about going to college and playing football ever since I was a little kid,” Keating said.

With the Wolfpack winning a Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges state title, Keating said he’s excited to be joining a winning program in Wesson.

“I think it’s the coaches,” Keating said of why Co-Lin was successful last season. “They know a lot and make it a strong program.”

Cathedral High School

Green Wave athlete Khalil Brice may have sustained a torn meniscus on his right knee this past season, but that didn’t scare a couple of colleges off from recruiting him.

Brice signed with Southwest Community College over Alcorn State University, and he said he’s looking forward to getting back on the field after missing most of last season.

“It’s a place where I can go back and get my legs under me, and just get a feel with my leg again,” Brice said.

Brice will play linebacker for Southwest, and he said he was thankful to the school’s coaching staff for sticking with him despite the injury.

“They gave me a chance,” Brice said. “It feels good knowing I can play again.”

Ferriday High School

Two Trojans inked with Louisiana College Wednesday, as running back Jarvis Brooks and offensive lineman Lee Quinn both signed letters of intent.

The chance to play together was a plus for both players, and Brooks said it would be nice to have at least one high school teammate with which to continue his career.

“We both play offense, so we’re going to spend a lot of time together,” Brooks said.

Quinn said he and Brooks would be able to push each other.

“Bringing a teammate with you and knowing how they play is a great feeling,” Quinn said.