SIX TIGERS CONTINUING FOOTBALL CAREERS ON THE NEXT LEVELJanuary 8, 2013
BOONEVILLE, Miss. – After posting almost 10 wins in the last two years, a handful of Northeast Mississippi Community College football players chose to play at the next level during the mid-year junior college signing period.
Punter Jonathan Harrison of Belmont, defensive end Lavon Hooks of Atlanta, Georgia, tight end Logan Stokes of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, running back Jay Jones of Horn Lake, linebacker Nick Thomason of Muscle Shoals, Alabama and offensive lineman Johnathan Braddock of Ripley each signed with a four-year school over the holiday break.
Harrison plans to become a Bear at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Arkansas while Hooks ended his recruitment by signing with the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) in Oxford.
Stokes makes it a pair of Southeastern Conference (SEC) signees off the 2012 Northeast Tiger football team when the Muscle Shoals, Alabama native inked with Louisiana State University in December.
Stokes’ former high school teammate – Thomason – also will be continuing his playing career at Louisiana Tech University.
Jones signed with the University of South Alabama while Braddock agreed to become a Lion at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana.
During the 2012 season, Northeast’s football team went 3-6 overall but posted a 3-1 mark on the road during the year after finishing 6-4 in 2011 season and advancing to the semifinals of the Mississippi Association of Community/Junior Colleges (MACJC) State football playoffs.
Jonathan Harrison - Central Ark (Punter, Belmont)
During his sophomore year at Northeast, Harrison led the nation most of the year and finished with a 41.48 yards per punt average while appearing in all nine games for the Tigers and was named an National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) first-team All-American. Harrison punted 48 times for the Tigers and pinned the opposition inside the 20-yard line 12 times – six more punts went for touchbacks. Harrison also forced six fair catches while amassing 1,991 yards on his 48 punts. Harrison led the nation in touchbacks on the year and his 12 punts inside the 20-yard line was fifth in the nation.
Harrison had seven games with punts over 47 yards including a 56-yard punt against Mississippi Delta Community College, 57-yard punts against Northwest Mississippi and Mississippi Gulf Coast community colleges.
Harrison's long on the year came when the sophomore blasted a 60-yard boot against Holmes Community College during the third week of the season.
Lavon Hooks – OM (DE, Atlanta, Ga.)
Hooks was honored as an National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) honorable mention selection after his second year in Booneville and was selected as the Most Valuable Defensive Lineman in the Mississippi Association of Community/Junior Colleges (MACJC). Hooks was tied for second in the Mississippi Association of Community/Junior Colleges (MACJC) and National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XXIII in sacks the 2012 season when the Atlanta native finished with 9.5 sacks for the Tigers.
On the year, Hooks tallied 51 tackles – 18 solo stops and 33 assists. Hooks' 6.4 tackles per game were second on the Tiger roster.
With his 9.5 sacks on the year, Hooks tallied 51 yards against the opposing offense and came away with three fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles for the Tigers.
Hooks' 20.5 tackles for loss on the year saw the Northeast sophomore finish second in the nation in the category.
In a November 28 story on JCGridiron.com entitled, "JUCO defensive tackle list is best ever," which featured the top defensive tackles across the country, Hooks was named the top defensive tackle in not only the Mississippi Association of Community/Junior Colleges (MACJC) but in the entire country.
Jay Jones - South Alabama (RB, Horn Lake)
Jones became the Tigers leading rusher for the 2012 season amassing 504 yards and three scores. Jones’ 500-plus yards on the season placed the Tiger sophomore in the top 50 nationally in rushing and the Horn Lake native was a dual offensive threat for the Tigers hauling in 11 catches for 150 yards and a touchdown. Jones opened the 2012 season with an 83-yard rushing performance against Copiah-Lincoln while also catching three passes for 23 yards but it was his week two performance that helped the transfer solidify himself in the Tiger offense. In a 30-21 win over the Jones County Bobcats, Jones carried the ball 29 times for a 157 yards. Jones also had a 126-yard performance against Holmes Community College and tallied his season-long rush against East Mississippi – a 51-yard scamper. Jones was an National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-Region XXIII second team selection.
Nick Thomason - LA Tech (LB, Muscle Shoals, Ala.)
Thomason was a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-Region XXIII selection and a Mississippi Association of Community/Junior Colleges (MACJC) All-State selection his sophomore year in Booneville and led the Tigers in total tackles with 61. The Muscle Shoals, Alabama native finished the year with 30 solo tackles against 31 assists while averaging over 10 tackles per game for the Tigers. Thomason also had one sack for six yards and had a fumble recovery on the season. Thomason's break-out game came in week three when the Tiger sophomore had 17 stops including 3.5 tackles for loss against Holmes.
Logan Stokes – LSU (TE, Muscle Shoals, Ala.)
Stokes transitioned his role from a pass-catching tight end into a blocking tight end for the Tiger offense and helped open up holes for a Tiger offense that rushed for almost 900 yards during the 2012 year. However, Stokes was also pivotal in the Tiger passing game hauling in 10 passes for 80 yards – including a season-long 17-yard pass against East Mississippi on October 11. Stokes averaged nearly 10 yards per game receiving from his tight end position. During the 2012 season, Stokes was selected as a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-Region XXIII Second Team selection and an Mississippi Association of Community/Junior Colleges (MACJC) All-State honoree.
Johnathan Braddock, OL, 6-4, 275 (Ripley)
Braddock will join former Delta State University head football coach Ron Roberts at Southeastern Louisiana as the Lions signed 11 players during the mid-year junior college signing period. Braddock clocked a pair of years in Booneville and helped lead the Tigers to almost 10 wins while manning the offensive line for Northeast. With Braddock on the offensive line, Northeast’s offense pieced together almost 900 yards of rushing while breaking the 1,000-yard plateau passing. Northeast averaged 235.1 yards per game while scoring 12 touchdowns with Braddock on the offensive line.