BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - George County’s McKinnley Jackson said he was making it short, sweet and simple.
“For the next three to four years, I’ll be attending....Texas A&M!” Jackson announced to a crowd of people inside George County High School’s cafeteria Wednesday morning.
His choice caught everyone by surprise, as the four-star defensive tackle decided to take his talents to College Station, Texas to continue his football career.
“I thought about what Texas A&M could do for me outside of football," Jackson said of his decision. "They had the best program, best alumni, networking and just building my brand at Texas A&M.”
Although Alabama was a close second, building his own brand with the Aggies ultimately won Mississippi’s top prospect over, and he has a chance to see early playing time as a freshman.
“They played a lot of young guys last year, I think 15 true freshmen," Jackson told WLOX. "Last year, they were like the number one team in rush stopping and they’re on the come up. They’ve still got some ground work to work on, but they’re on the come up right now. I’m all Aggies.”
Jackson wasn’t the only Rebel to put pen to paper. In the afternoon, three soccer signees took the stage. Belle Miller signed with East Central, while teammate Kylie Dailey joined the Lady Wildcats at Pearl River, and Brody Loftin kept the MACJC train rolling with Copiah-Lincoln.
“What I’m most looking forward to is getting better and just going at the next level I guess,” Miller said.
“I just think that this day is just symbolizing and wrapping up all those four years and if you can put all those four years into a day, I feel like this would be that day,” Loftin said.
National Signing Day on the coast officially began bright and early over in Bay St. Louis when St. Stanislaus tight end, Lee Negrotto, made his pledge to Nicholls State. Negrotto has learned an important lesson that’s kept him motivated up until now.
“To do the good things even when no one is watching because it always pays off in the end. Ever since freshman year watching Miles and all of them sign, it’s kind of been the dream to sit here and do it myself. It’s just a blessing,” Negrotto said.
Over in St. Martin, a pair of Yellow Jackets will now become rivals. Quarterback Patrick Greer signed his national letter of intent for a rebuild at Pearl River, while running back Jay McGee looks to be an asset in the back field for the national junior college champs at Gulf Coast.
“I feel like Coach Smith is going to do a good job of bringing the river back to what it used to be and he’s a really energetic guy and I really like that," Greer said. "I feel like it’s the right move.”
“Made me feel like family, I came up there it felt like family," McGee said. "They treated me like family, they told me this is the place to be and after they won a national title I knew that was the place to be.”
After leading Pass Christian to their first-ever playoff win and throwing for over 3000 yards, Dustin Allison added more competition to Pearl River’s quarterback room in 2020.
“I mean it’s exciting to be able to play at the next level," Allison said. "Not too many people can say they do that. Just to be able to go up there and compete, it’s going to be fun.”
Lastly,Biloxi had a lineup of five as Anthony Crouse, Dajour Brown, and Tank Robinson join Allison and other coast standouts in Poplarville at Pearl River. Jervin Smith and Markell Smith sign to PRCC’s rival Jones in Ellisville.
“I can go to JUCO and develop myself so I can be more prepared for D1 so I can be ready in time,” Jervin told WLOX. “That’s all it is, ain’t nothing but temporary, that’s all it is.”
An emotional time for Markell Smith, who’s father died prior to his signing day, but knows he would be proud of his son.
“This is my father, he past away three years ago. This was one of me and his dreams, for me to go to the next level and play because I know he’s still up there watching,” said Smith. “He would be very proud, him and my grandmother, very proud of me. I know they’re watching down on me seeing every move that I make and I know everything I’m going to do will be for him.”