From Picayune to Jackson State, Josh Littles follows his dreams

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Josh Littles discovered his love for football at a young age thanks to an unlikely source and that passion took him through a successful career with Picayune’s Maroon Tide to eventually become a Division 1 athlete for the Jackson State Tigers.

At 7-years-old, while getting a haircut his barber made an intriguing suggestion, “why not give the gridiron a chance?”

While Littles’ mom needed some convincing given the physicality of the sport, she eventually relented and he tried out for a local Pee-Wee team.

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Once introduced to the sport, Littles realized he had found a new passion that would soon win his mom over as well.

“(Mom) was scared because she thought I was too little, but my barber convinced me to try out.”

“In the beginning, once she saw the talent and that I had a love for the game, she was my number one supporter,” Littles said.

The more involved he got in the game the more Littles benefitted both on and off the field.

Littles said football not only helped him develop as an athlete, but also showed him the importance of maturing as a man.

“Football really teaches a lot of life lessons and it gave me a lot. My closest friends play football with me,” Littles said.

Football requires 11 athletes working in unison to a common goal in order to win a game. Being a part of that inspired the Picayune native.

He continued working and by his junior year Littles led the nation in rushing as part of the Picayune Maroon Tide football team.

As the performances on the field garnered more attention and more opportunities presented themselves a new reality began to appear for Littles.

“It made me feel good knowing I could contribute to the team.”

“It helped me realize I’m really good and that this might take me places I’ve never been before,” Littles said.

Littles eventually made the decision to go to Jackson State to advance his athletic career and said a big part of staying strong is maintaining the right mindset.

Now that everyone is on a level playing field when it comes to talent, Littles said he makes sure to stay in the right headspace.

“It’s all about staying humble because once you get to college everybody is on the same skill level.”

“It’s about what separates you from everybody else and for me it’s my work ethic,” Littles said.

The team had been preparing to start spring practices, which would include full contact drills, when the NCAA cancelled spring sports.

Finding out about the cancellation while on spring break was a rough way to learn the news, especially considering the lost opportunities that come from the cancellation of spring practice.

“It hurt because a couple weeks later we would be in spring ball.”

“We’d already been sized for pads and helmets, then this happens. That all got taken away from us,” Littles said.

There’s no way of knowing when practices will resume, but it’ll serve as just another obstacle for Littles to overcome as he continues playing the sport he loves.

Life is all about adapting and overcoming, which Littles said is the best piece of advice he can give to young athletes looking to pursue a college athletic career.

“Follow your dreams. Forever chase your dreams and don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do something. Anything is possible, you just have to work for it,” Littles said.