By Robert Wilson
TUPELO HIGH ALUMNUS JETT JOHNSON LEADS MSU IN TACKLES IN FIRST YEAR TO START AT LINEBACKER
Redshirt junior linebacker Jett Johnson had five career tackles, had played in only seven games, and never started at Mississippi State before this season. Now, the 6-foot-2, 235-pound Johnson has not only started every game for the Bulldogs, he is leading the team with 29 tackles.
The Tupelo High alumnus won a starting job and has excelled at his linebacker position, with a career-high nine tackles in the upset victory over then-No. 23 North Carolina State and followed that up with eight tackles each against Memphis and LSU.
“The NFL is full of Jett Johnsons,” Leach said following Jett’s performance against North Carolina State. “Guys that aren’t the biggest or the fastest but are great football players. That’s kind of what he is, and it starts with being the same guy every play. It becomes something you can rely on, something you can game plan around, something that you can expect every time.”
“I’ve waited my turn here,” Johnson said. “This was my dream school, so I knew this was where I wanted to be and when I came in, we had some really good linebackers. I’ve trusted the process and worked hard every day, kind of a blue-collar mentality. I’m thankful that (MSU defensive coordinator) coach (Zach Arnett) has trusted me and put me in bigger roles this season so I’m trying to make the best of my opportunity.”
Johnson, ranked the No. 21 overall prospect in Mississippi by 247 Sports as senior at Tupelo, had an outstanding career with 447 tackles, an average of 11.7 per game, 33 for loss, 10.5 sacks and eight interceptions. He was named the Class 6A Mr. Football as a senior, the first defensive player to ever win the award. As a sophomore, he led Class 6A with 155 tackles. He helped Mississippi to a 42-7 victory over Alabama in the 2017 Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game.
MSU, 2-2, visits No. 15 Texas A&M, 3-1, Saturday at 6 p.m. on SEC Network.
ST. ALOYSIUS ALUMNUS AND OLE MISS OFFENSIVE LINEMAN BEN BROWN IS NAMED SEMIFINALIST FOR CAMPBELL TROPHY
St. Aloysius High alumnus and Ole Miss senior Ben Brown not only helps anchor the offensive line of the nation’s No. 1 offense in total, but he was also named a semifinalist to the Campbell Trophy by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame this week.
The award recognizes an individual as the absolute best in the country for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary leadership
The 6-foot-5, 315-pound Brown, a preseason All-SEC selection, has started 37 games in his career. Ole Miss ranks No. 1 in the country with 635.3 yards and 52.7 points per game.
He graduated in December 2020 with a degree in exercise science and currently holds a 3.64 GPA. Brown is pursuing his master’s in health promotion in hopes of becoming a physical therapist. He has volunteered for several community service events including Reading with the Rebels and the Adopt-A-Basket program. Brown has been named to the Dean’s Honor Roll three times and the Chancellor’s Honor Roll four times during his four years at Ole Miss.
The NFF will announce 12-14 finalists on Oct. 27, and each of them will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Presented by Fidelity Investments. One of the finalists will be named the winner of the 32nd Campbell Trophy during the 63rd NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 7 and have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000.
Brown was a MaxPreps Small School All-American second team selection as a senior at St. Al. He was ranked as the No. 1 offensive tackle in Mississippi by Scout. Brown started at offensive and defensive tackle every game as a senior.
No. 12 Ole Miss, 3-0, visits No. 1 Alabama, 4-0, Saturday at 2:30 p.m. on CBS.
HORN LAKE ALUMNUS NAKOBE DEAN COULD PLAY ROLE IN DECIDING WINNER OF NO. 2 GEORGIA AND NO. 8 ARKANSAS
A Mississippian – Horn Lake alumnus and Georgia senior inside linebacker Nakobe Dean (No. 17) – could make a big play to help the Bulldogs with their Top 10 SEC showdown with No. 8 Arkansas.
The 6-foot, 225-pound Dean will be making his 15th consecutive start Saturday against Arkansas (11 a.m. on ESPN). He started all 10 games last season and was in more plays (76 percent) of any linebacker on the team. Dean has started all four games this season and has 14 tackles and six quarterback pressures. He had five tackles and two sacks in Georgia’s win over then No. 3 Clemson in the season opener.
Dean was named the 2018 High School Butkus Award winner as the nation’s top linebacker. He was an Under Armour All-American, USA Today first team All-American and the Mississippi Gatorade Football Player of the Year. Dean was rated the No. 14 player and No. 1 inside linebacker in the country by 247 Sports. He led Horn Lake to a 15-0 record and the Class 6A state title as a senior.