Jimmy Holiday of Madison Central signed with University of Tennessee (Photo by Chris Todd)

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Chance Lovertich of Mississippi Gulf Coast CC signed with South Alabama

Chance Lovertich’s dream of playing Division I football became a reality Wednesday when the former Jackson Prep and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College quarterback signed a national letter-of-intent with the University of South Alabama on the NCAA Early Signing Day.

         Lovertich was one of 10 Metro Jackson football players who signed Wednesday. 

         Lovertich, named a second team JUCO All-American his season, led Gulf Coast to a 12-0 record and the national junior college championship under Coach Jack Wright. He completed 64.5 percent of his passes for 2,794 yards and 24 touchdowns. The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Lovertich was 18-0 as a starting quarterback at Gulf Coast. He was 39-1 as a starting quarterback and won three state titles at Prep. He played for Coach Ricky Black at Prep.

         Lovertich was one of three players from Metro Jackson to sign with South Alabama Wednesday. One of his teammates at Gulf Coast, Terry High alumnus Jamie Sheriff, a defensive end, and Ridgeland High defensive back Yam Banks also signed with the Jaguars.

         “I visited South Alabama Friday and loved the campus and the coaches,” Lovertich said. “We are building a new stadium and new locker rooms. We were 3-9 last season, but we are headed in the right direction. It is a good fit for me. Also, three of my Gulf Coast teammates (defensive end) Jamie Sheriff (of Terry High), (offensive tackle) Hayden Burton (of Parklane Academy) and (defensive back) T.J. Ficklin (of Brandon High) will be joining me at South Alabama.”

         South Alabama head coach Steve Campbell has strong Mississippi ties. He was head coach at Southwest Mississippi CC (1997-98), Delta State (1999-2001) and Gulf Coast CC (2004-13) and an assistant at Mississippi State (2003). Campbell led Delta State to the Division II national championship in 2000 and Gulf Coast to the juco national championship in 2007.

“Chance is a natural born leader who players gravitate toward,” Campbell said. “He has led all of junior college the past two years in completion percentage and efficiency. With his leadership, decision making, accuracy, elusiveness, and ability to win, the sky is the limit for Chance.”

Will Rogers of Brandon HS and Javorrius Selmon of Provine HS signed with Mississippi State

         Brandon High quarterback Will Rogers and Provine High defensive back Javorrius Selmon signed with Mississippi State. Rogers, the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard All-Metro Player of the Year, completed 247 of 371 passes (66.7 percent) for 3,609 yards and 38 touchdowns with only three interceptions and led Brandon to a 9-5 record and to the second round of the Class 6A playoffs. The 6-2, 200-pound Rogers passed for 9,094 yards and 79 touchdowns in his career. 

         “I chose MSU because of the coaching staff and the fact that they play in the SEC West,” Rogers said. “I want to be a part of the best and I want to play against the best.”

         One thing I believe is that when the quarterback walks into the room, you shouldn’t have to ask if he’s the quarterback and Will composes himself that way,” MSU coach Joe Moorhead said. “You aren’t going to have to ask Will to come in and watch extra film. You aren’t going to have to ask him to come to the field and throw extra routes.”

The 5-10, 175-pound Selmon, a first team selection on the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard All-Metro Team, had 44 tackles, two interceptions, one punt blocked and one fumble recovery this season.

Jimmy Holiday of Madison Central signed with University of Tennessee

         Madison Central quarterback Jimmy Holiday signed with Tennessee after having a verbal commitment to Texas Christian University. The 6-1, 195-pound Holiday, a first team selection as an all-purpose player on the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard All-Metro Team, ran for 1,401 yards and 21 touchdowns and passed for 1,020 yards and nine TDs this season. Holiday committed to TCU in August, but he took an official visit to Tennessee in October and Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt visited Holiday on Dec. 4, according to The Clarion-Ledger. He is expected to enroll at Tennessee in January.

Ahmad Johnson of Pelahatchie signed with Louisiana-Lafayette

         Pelahatchie running back-linebacker Ahmad Johnson signed with Louisiana-Lafayette. The 6-1, 210-pound Johnson, named a Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard All-Metro first team running back, gained 2,586 yards and scored 48 touchdowns on offense and had 51 tackles, 12 for loss, three sacks, two interceptions and recovered one fumble on defense. Johnson led the Chiefs to a 10-3 record and the Class 2A playoffs. 

“Ahmad is a kid who overcame a lot throughout his career. His grandfather passed away when he was a junior and he struggled with some attitude issues when he was younger, but got those corrected,” Pelahatchie coach Sam Williams said. “He has been an extremely talented player from the minute he stepped on campus, but he always had a great player (J.P. Purvis, now at Mississippi State) ahead of him carrying the load. J.P. was always ahead of him and the guy doing the heavy lifting. Ahmad put the team on his shoulders this year and carried them. He has a great leader and always did anything that we asked of him. Ahmad’s future is extremely bright. I think he will continue to progress and have a great career at ULL no matter what position they decide to play him.”

Jamie Sheriff of Mississippi Gulf Coast CC signed with South Alabama

          The 6-2, 260-pound Sheriff was the leader of the Gulf Coast defense, causing havoc on the front line for opposing offenses. Sheriff was an All Mississippi JC second-team selection. He led the state with eight sacks and has 50 tackles, 12 for losses. Sheriff played in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game and played for J.J. Plummer at Terry High.

         “We look forward to adding that production on the defensive side of the ball,” Campbell said. “Be on the lookout for Jamie to be in the opponents backfield for years to come.”

Yam Banks of Ridgeland HS signed with South Alabama

         The 6-2, 200-pound Banks played wide receiver and defensive back for Ridgeland this year and helped the Titans to their first winning season since 2013. Banks was a second team selection on the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard All-Metro Team.

“We’re excited to get Yam on board and signed,” Campbell said. “Yam is a guy who can do it all. He excelled this year on defense with 52 tackles and four interceptions, three of which he returned for touchdowns.”

Peyton Dunn of Jackson Prep signed with University of Louisiana-Monroe

         Jackson Prep offensive tackle Peyton Dunn signed with University of Louisiana-Monroe. He is a three-year starter, one of Prep’s captains and was named Prep’s offensive MVP this year. He was a second team selection on the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard All-Metro Team. As a sophomore and junior, Dunn helped open holes for Jerriod Ealy, now a All-SEC freshman at Ole Miss, and this year for junior Matt Jones, who gained 1,504 yards and scored 30 touchdowns. 

         “Peyton Dunn is a massive offensive lineman at 6-7 and nearly 290 pounds,” ULM coach Matt Viator said. “He has athleticism and great feet. Peyton has a huge upside because he’ll only get bigger and stronger.”

Maljon Joor of Mississippi Gulf Coast CC signed with Florida International University

         Callaway High alumnus Maljon Joor, a sophomore offensive right tackle from Mississippi Gulf Coast CC, signed with Florida International University. The 6-6, 320-pound Joor was an All-Mississippi JC first-team selection. He graded out at 80 percent and had 54 knockdown blocks and was a big part of Gulf Coast winning the national championship. Joor played in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game and played for Patrick Austin at Callaway. 

         “Every recruiting class always has an area of importance and this year that was the offensive line,” FIU coach Butch Davis said. “We had four guys graduate last year who played an enormous amount of time for us and we needed to bring in players who would compete for starting jobs and help us build depth.”

Ayden McCollough of Northwest Rankin signed with Air Force Academy

         Northwest Rankin offensive lineman Ayden McCollough signed with the Air Force Academy. The 6-3, 281-pound McCollough was a first team selection on the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard All-Metro Team. McCollough led the Cougars’ offensive line that opened holes for P.J. Lindsey, who gained 1,014 yards this season. 

         “Ayden is the most mature player I have ever coached,” Northwest Rankin coach Toby Collum said. “He was a joy to coach and he will be missed on the field and in the locker room. Ayden has his life all planned out. He wants to be an orthopedic surgeon.” 

Don Ragsdale of Hinds CC signed with Southern Miss

Pisgah High alumnus Don Ragsdale, a running back from Hinds Community College, signed with Southern Miss. The 5-10, 205-pound Ragsdale gained 1,196 yards and scored 21 TDs in his two years at Hinds. He gained 8,095 yards and scored 93 TDs in his career at Pisgah. Ragsdale played for Coach Michael Granberry.