SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Bright and early at Gulfport High, the Admirals officially inked four football players to the next level. Tres Ladner, Isaiah Washington, and Jalen Ephraim all signed with Southwest, while Jacob Stevenson made his pledge to East Central.
“It means a lot, as a kid always growing up waiting on this moment, always thinking about it,” Stevenson said. “My teammates, we all played football since middle school, its just big seeing all of us move on to the next level.
“I’ve been playing football here for a long time, and to get an opportunity to play at the next level is very exciting,” Ladner said.
Over at St. Patrick, the Fighting Irish celebrated a record-setting class, with four students signing NLIs - the most in school history.
“I feel prideful about that, knowing that this is my year’s doing well for the school, and helping St. Patrick expand and grow,” Morgan Owen - a Worcester Polytechnic Institute football signee - said.
“It’s really meaningful,” Jackson Kostmayer (Pearl River) said. “We’re a great program here, and we’re trying to lead on to our younger players to play better.”
The Harrison Central football team enjoyed a big season that included a playoff victory, and three players off to play college ball - including Jacobi Moore, who will join D’Iberville alum Jaden Walley in the wide receiver room at Mississippi State - and might have his eyes set on Walley’s freshman receiving record.
“I texted him and told him I’m coming to break his record. And we can do better things together, as a duo,” Moore said. “I’ve been hitting the weight room really hard, and working on my footwork to get better, so when I get to college I can have all the pieces.”
Biloxi celebrated over a half-dozen signees, including not one, but two Indians set to play for West Point.
“It’s been a dream for all of us to make it to the next level, and we got here together,” Marcus Dickey (West Point) said. “It means a lot.”
“It’s not really my teammate, it’s my brother Marcus, we’re going up there together,” Chance Keith (West Point) said. “I feel like it’s going to make it a whole lot easier, more comfortable. We’re going to get stuff done.”
Two of D’Iberville’s four signees on Wednesday are keeping it close to home, as Ken Irving and Dwight Williams will take their talents to Pearl River. On top of the proximity, the duo was impressed with the coaching staff - starting with head man Seth Smith.
“He’s really pumped up. He’s a hype man,” Williams said. “I already know he’s going to be on me, but he’s going to keep me up and make sure that I’m up and running.”
“Coach Sims, he’s a great coach and great recruiter,” Irving said. “My friends and family love PRCC too. I just want to go there and do something special, turn the program around.”
Resurrection will send three stars to the next level - Will Clemons, Sage Neron, and Sam Williams - who will play just 40 miles away at Division-One South Alabama.
“I don’t know anybody who would want to turn down a D-1 opportunity. Of course, I didn’t,” Williams said. “I wanted to be close to home as well. It’s just a great feeling.”
Signing day ended over at Pascagoula, where two South State runner-up Panthers will be teammates again as Gulf Coast Bulldogs.
“It’s very special,” Antonio Sanford said. “I hope we get a dorm together so he can end up with me, so I can be with somebody I’m comfortable with.”
“He’s a great teammate, I love him to death,” Warren Garry. “He’s always a guy I can call on. Going to college with him makes it easier.”
In a pandemic world, not every signing day can be in front of a school crowd. Such was the case for Gabrielle Ivey of Ocean Springs, who signed her letter of intent to swim for Division One Marshall, from her swim club. The multi-state-record holder will be a member of the Thundering Herd come the fall.