Pearl River’s Seth Smith builds cornerstone class

POPLARVILLE, Miss. — The Pearl River fieldhouse was full of energy and excitement Wednesday as Pearl River football coach Seth Smith and his assistants watched signatures from their first signing class roll in.


The new Wildcat head man believes PRCC checked a lot of boxes with his first signing class.

“I’m super excited. This is our first class and anytime there’s a first it’s a foundational class,” Smith said. “This is the group that will help lay the slab for future Wildcats for years to come.”


Smith expects the incoming class to blend perfectly with PRCC’s returners.

“We feel like it’s a well-balanced class. First of all, I’ve been extremely impressed with their attitude and ability level of our returners,” Smith said. “With the core guys we have here now, combined with the guys we’re signing, we’re excited. We feel like we’re filling needs and will have depth in August.

“If you have depth, you can create competition. If you can create competition you have a chance to have a really good football team.”


The class includes: Biloxi defensive back Dajour Brown, Faith Academy (Ala.) offensive lineman Lucas Hall, Pearl defensive back Jeremiah Gill, Oak Grove receivers Liam Breithaupt, Tavion Smith and Eric Robinson, Oak Grove running back Nick Milsaps, Oak Grove linebacker Joey Griffith, Oak Grove offensive lineman Caleb Fortenberry, East Central athlete Will Young, East Central offensive linemen Donavan Shields and Dakota Graham, Poplarville defensive end Chandler Norris, Greene County defensive end Joshua Bolton, Laurel linebacker Khylin Dixon, Biloxi defensive lineman Tank Robinson, Columbia safety Teshonne Franklin, Picayune defensive lineman Elijah Jenkins, Chalmette (La.) defensive lineman Sean Herbert, Purvis offensive lineman Austin Swartz, Hancock receiver Jordan Foushee, Taylorsville safety Chanton McCray, Magee receiver Josh Sanders, Petal defensive lineman Coldan Carter, Escambia County (Ala.) defensive lineman Jamarius Lewis, Hattiesburg running back Rhyen Brisco and Hattiesburg offensive lineman Jaylin Williams.


Forrest County AHS defensive end Gage Glover graduated high school early and is already enrolled at Pearl River.


The bulk of PRCC’s class hails from the Wildcats’ immediate district, which was part of Smith’s strategy.


“That was one thing when we took the job as a staff, for us to win we feel like we have to get the best kids from this district,” Smith said. “That’s how they did it years ago and we feel like if we can win our district we have a chance to win football games.”


2020 SIGNING CLASS

DE Gage Glover (6-2, 245; Forrest County Agricultural High School): Played defensive line in high school … Had 54 tackles and 5.5 sacks his senior year … Coached in high school by Brad Calcote.

“Gage was our first signee for a reason. He’s a young man who’s a program starter,” Smith said. “He’s a great young man and an even better football player. His attitude and effort have been infectious since he started in January. He will make an immediate impact on our defense. We’re glad he’s a wildcat because he fits what it means to be a wildcat.

“We call him Thor for a reason.”

CB Dajour Brown (5-11, 175 pounds; Biloxi High School): Played cornerback in high school … Had 43 tackles and two interceptions his senior year … Coached in high school by Katlan French.

“Dajour is very athletic. He played receiver as junior and DB as senior,” Smith said. “He’s a kid I think Coach Ta’Ron Sims will be able to be multiple with on the back end because he’s very athletic.”

OT Lucas Hall (6-foot-4, 315 pounds; Faith Academy, Mobile; Ala.): Played offensive line in high school … Helped anchor an offense that averaged 229 rushing yards per game … Coached in high school by Jack French.

“Lucas is a big O-lineman from Alabama. He played on an undefeated high school team for coach Jack French. He’s another kid we feel like can come in and add depth immediately,” Smith said. “Size wise he’s a D-1 guy so hopefully we can develop him and help him achieve that dream.”

CB Jeremiah Gill (6-1, 190; Pearl High School): Played defensive back in high school … Had 34 tackles and two interceptions his senior year … Coached in high school by Justin Hunter.

“Jeremiah is a kid who played at Pearl. Those kids know how to win and are well coached,” Smith said. “He’s another one who will come in and add depth. And he’ll hit you. He’s physical, so he fits everything it takes to be a Wildcat.”

WR Liam Breithaupt (5-10, 170; Oak Grove High School): Played wide receiver in high school … Caught 21 passes for 340 yards and three touchdowns his senior year while helping lead Oak Grove to the 6A State Championship game … Coached in high school by Drew Causey.

“He’s a slot guy who can return punts and kicks,” Smith said. “Liam comes from a winning program and understands what it takes to be successful. He’s a great kid who we hope can come in and help us right away."

RB Nick Milsap (5-10, 195; Oak Grove High School): Played running back in high school … Ran for over 2,100 yards and 15 touchdowns on 402 carries his Senior year while helping lead Oak Grove to the 6A State Championship game … Was named to the Mississippi Association of Coaches 6A All-State second team … Coached in high school by Drew Causey.

“Nick is a tough, physical runner,” Smith said. “He’s a selfless kid who’s not afraid to block if he needs to. He’s talented but his mindset also fits who we are as a team. He’s tough.”

ILB Joey Griffith (6-0, 235; Oak Grove High School): Played linebacker in high school …Accumulated over 200 tackles in three seasons … Helped lead Oak Grove to the 6A State Championship game … Coached in high school by Drew Causey.

“He has a ton of experience as a two- or three-year starter. Joey led his team in tackles back to back years,” Smith said. “Linebacker is a position we need kids to come in now and hopefully he’s one of those.”

WR Tavion Smith (6-4, 195; Oak Grove High School): Played wide receiver in high school … Caught 96 passes for over 1,600 yards and 19 touchdowns his senior year while helping lead Oak Grove to the 6A State Championship game… Was named to the Mississippi Association of Coaches 6A All-State second team … Coached in high school by Drew Causey.

“Tavion is a long, rangy, playmaker,” Smith said. “He’s a guy who we think is a steal. He’s a D-1 football player. We’re excited about getting him.”

QB/ATH Will Young (5-11, 205; East Central High School): Played quarterback in high school …Threw for 374 yards and seven touchdowns … Ran for 1,038 yards and 22 touchdowns on 172 carries … Selected to the Sun Herald All-South Mississippi Honorable Mention team … Coached in high school by Seth Smith.

“Will’s versatile. Will is our Taysom Hill,” Smith said. “He’s a kid I probably handicapped in HS, but we’ll bring him here and unleash his athletic ability. He can play quarterback, H-back, running back. We expect him to be Coach Michael King’s Swiss Army Knife.”

OL Donavan Shields (6-foot-3, 245 pounds; East Central High School): Played tight end in high school … Helped anchor an offense that averaged 386 rushing yards per game … Coached in high school by Seth Smith.

“He’s a big rangy guy who can play guard or tackle. Donavan played tight end in high school,” Smith said. “He has great feet and is extremely physical. He should come in and help us immediately.”

OT Caleb Fortenberry (6-foot-3, 265 pounds; Oak Grove High School): Played offensive line in high school … Helped anchor an offense that averaged 211 passing yards per game and 177 rushing yards per game … Helped lead Oak Grove to the 6A State Championship game his senior year … Coached in high school by Drew Causey.

“Caleb is a guy who comes from a winning program,” Smith said. “A lot of the same concepts in high school will mesh with what we are teaching. He’s a guy who can come in, add some weight and added depth to the OL.”

OG Dakota Graham (6-foot-3, 281 pounds; East Central High School): Played offensive line in high school … Helped anchor an offense that averaged 386 rushing yards per game … Coached in high school by Seth Smith.

“Dakota is a tough East Central kid,” Smith said. “He knows the culture he’s fixing to come to because he’s lived it. Just like these other linemen, he’ll add depth immediately.”

DE Chandler Norris (6-2, 275; Poplarville High School): Played defensive line in high school … Had 91 tackles his senior year … Helped lead Poplarville to the 4A State Championship game … Coached in high school by Jay Beech.

“Chandler is a hard-nosed Poplarville kid,” Smith said. “He’ll come in and add depth at the DL immediately. He’s played in three state championship games so he obviously knows what it takes to be successful."

WR Eric Robinson (5-10, 170; Oak Grove High School): Played wide receiver in high school … Caught 39 passes for 415 yards and five touchdowns his senior year while helping lead Oak Grove to the 6A State Championship game … Coached in high school by Drew Causey.

“Speed. Speed. Speed. We expect Eric to come in and be a playmaker,” Smith said.

DE Joshua Bolton (6-4, 233; Greene County High School): Played defensive end in high school … Had 54 tackles his senior year … Coached in high school by Michael King.

“Joshua is a physical defensive end from Greene County,” Smith said. “He’s long and rangy. He’s a young man we feel if he can put some weight on, he can leave here and play D-I somewhere.”

LB Khylin Dixon (6-2, 200; Laurel High School): Played linebacker in high school … Recorded 101 tackles in his senior year … Was named to the Mississippi Association of Coaches 5A All-State first team … Coached in high school by Ryan Earnest.

“Khylin makes plays all over the field,” Smith said. “He’s sideline to sideline. He’s a big kid but he can run. There’s no doubt he’ll come in and help us immediately.”

DL Tank Robinson (5-9, 230; Biloxi High School): Played defensive line high school … Had 53 tackles his senior year … Coached in high school by Katlan French.

“Tank is strong, hard to move with great feet for a lineman,” Smith said. “He moves well laterally and is a high-effort guy.”

S Teshonne Franklin (6-0, 183; Columbia High School): Played defensive back in high school … Had 6 interceptions and led his team in tackles his senior year … Coached in high school by Chip Bilderback.

“If you’re a physical football player, we want you and Teshonne is a physical player,” Smith said. “He comes from Coach Chip Bilderback’s program so he knows what it takes to be successful.”

DT Elijiah Jenkins (5-11, 240; Picayune Memorial High School): Played defensive line in high school … Had 59 tackles his senior year … Helped lead Picayune to the 5A State Championship game … Was named to the Mississippi Association of Coaches 5A All-State second team … Selected to the Sun Herald All-South Mississippi first team … Coached in high school by Dodd Lee.

“Elijah has an enthusiasm about him that’s infectious,” Smith said. “From Day 1, he will add immediate energy to our defense, and that energy will add effort which makes everyone better. We’re excited about adding the ‘Gravedigger’ to our team.”

DE Sean Herbert (6-3, 250; Chalmette High School; Chalmette; La.): Played defensive line in high school … Had 52 tackles and six sacks his senior year … Coached in high school by Jason Tucker.

“He’s a big, big man,” Smith said. “He will come in and help us from Day 1 add depth to the defensive line. He’s another out of state guy who we think fills a need immediately on the D-line.”

OG Austin Swartz (6 -3, 257; Purvis High School): Played offensive line in high school … Helped anchor an offense that averaged 188 rushing yards per game … Coached in high school by Brad Hankins.

“Austin is a physical offensive lineman. He played offensive line and defensive line in high school. He’ll play offensive line here. He’s another guy who fits our culture. He’s going to play hard. He just has a motor. He’s very athletic for a big guy as well.

“Offensive line is a position where we needed depth immediately and he‘ll add depth.”

WR Jordan Foushee (6-2, 205; Hancock High School): Played tight end in high school … Caught 11 passes for 184 yards and one touchdown his senior year … Coached in high school by Neil Lollar.

“Jordan is a versatile Wildcat. He played running back, H-back and receiver at Hancock,” Smith said. “He’s a young man who can help fill a void at several positions. He’s just a football player.”

S Chanton McCray (6-2, 185; Taylorsville High School): Played linebacker in high school … Had 90 tackles his senior year while helping lead Taylorsville to the 2A state championship game … Was named to the Mississippi Association of Coaches 2A All-State first team … Coached in high school by Mitchell Evans.

“Chanton is a hard-hitting safety, he’s long and rangy,” Smith said. “In today’s game we feel like length is important. He’ll give us some much needed length on the back end to help solidify the secondary. He also comes from a championship program.”

WR Josh Sanders (5-3, 145; Magee High School): Played receiver and safety in high school … Caught 59 passes for 941 yards and eight touchdowns his senior year … Coached in high school by Teddy Dyess.

“Josh is very fast. He’s just a playmaker,” Smith said. “You put the ball in his hands and good things can happen.”

DL Coldan Carter (6-0, 250; Petal High School): Played defensive line in high school … Had 77 tackles and four sacks his senior year … Coached in high school by Marcus Boyles.

“Motor, motor, motor. Coldan is what you want in a football player. From snap until whistle you’re getting 110 percent from this young man,” Smith said. “We feel like he’ll come in and fit exactly what we’re asking our kids to do, which is play hard."

DE Jamarius Lewis (6-4, 241; Escambia County High School; Atmore; Ala.): Played defensive line and tight end in high school … Coached in high school by Scott Mason.

“He’s a freak. He’s still raw but has tons of ability,” Smith said. “We think he can be an incredible speed rusher. 6-3, 250. Won the 200-meter regional. And he just has a great attitude. He lights up a room when he walks in.

“We feel like we’re getting a steal with him.”

WR/RB Rhyen Brisco (5-10, 160; Hattiesburg High School): Caught 45 passes for 684 yards and six touchdowns … Ran for 842 yards and 10 touchdowns on 91 carries … Was selected to play in the Bernard Blackwell All-Star game … Coached in high school by Tony Vance.

“Explosive, explosive, explosive,” Smith said. “This young man is a playmaker. Rhyen is our version of the Cheetah. You can put him all over the field. We just have to find ways to put the ball in his hands. He can score from all over the field.”

OT Jaylin Williams (6-foot-2, 265 pounds; Hattiesburg High School): Played offensive tackle in high school … Helped anchor an offense that averaged 200 rush yards per game … Coached by Tony Vance.

“Big, strong, physical. Jaylin is like a big bulldozer,” Smith said. “He’s the kind of lineman we want. He’s a kid we feel like will come in and help us Day 1.”


FOOTBALL TRYOUTS

The Wildcats will host tryouts inside Dobie Holden Stadium at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 20.

Registration is $20. Participants are asked to bring cleats, an updated physical and to fill out a waiver, which is located on PRCCAthletics.com.


For the latest on Pearl River Community College athletics, follow us on Twitter (@PRCCAthletics) and Facebook (PRCCAthletics).

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