Tigers tie for most All-Conference selections with 14 after historic season
Published 1:52 pm Thursday, December 10, 2020
JACKSON, Miss. – The Northeast Mississippi Community College football program was richly rewarded for its many successes on the field during a season like no other.
The Tigers had 12 different student-athletes claim 14 spots on the prestigious All-Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference (MACCC) lineup.
It was tied for the most all-conference selections this year alongside South Division champion Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. It was also the first time that Northeast produced double-digit All-MACCC picks in well more than a decade.
“I couldn’t be anymore excited for them because these guys went out there and sacrificed so much on a daily basis,” said Tigers head coach Greg Davis. “These kids were resilient and steadfast in their commitment. They went out and competed and they won.”
A pair of freshmen sensations in Andison Coby and John Ellis Murrah earned recognition twice from the MACCC. The duo swept the second-team special teams awards while Coby also secured first-team laurels at wide receiver.
Coby topped all Northeast wideouts in every major statistical category. He hauled in 24 catches for 422 yards, which translated into an average of 17.6 yards per reception, with seven touchdowns.
He reached the end zone in five consecutive games to begin the campaign. Coby had a season-high 111 yards with three scores in the Tigers’ week two win at Mississippi Delta Community College.
Coby, who hails from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was decorated for his role as a return specialist as well. He took a kickoff back 98 yards for a touchdown during Northeast’s heartbreaking overtime loss to Northwest Mississippi Community College.
Corinth’s Murrah handled all kicking duties for the Tigers throughout the 2020 campaign. He was 4 for 6 on his field goal attempts with a long of 32 yards at Mississippi Delta.
He was also perfect on 21 extra point tries to bring his scoring total to 33 points, which was second most on the squad behind only Coby’s 48 points. Murrah averaged 54.8 yards on 31 kickoffs.
Murrah was just as good if not better in punt formation. He had a season-long of 54 yards while 17 of his punts landed inside the 20-yard line and three others crossed the goal line for touchbacks.
Joining Coby on the All-MACCC first-team are offensive lineman Will Derico, defensive lineman Cedric Hillsman, defensive back Deantre Prince and linebacker Jamarcus Smith.
Hillsman was the only Northeast player to garner postseason honors from the league for a second consecutive year. He paced all linemen with 35 tackles, which was fourth most for the Tigers overall.
The Fort Valley, Ga., product also accumulated four tackles for loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles and one pass break up. He registered a career-high nine stops during Northeast’s road victory over Holmes Community College.
Hillsman had a phenomenal game against Itawamba Community College as well two weeks later. He notched seven takedowns plus a critical forced fumble that halted a drive by the Indians near the goal line.
Prince was solid for the Tigers after transferring from the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). He successfully defended five passes, which was most on the team, with three pass break ups and a pair of interceptions.
The four-star prospect from Charleston tallied 25 tackles, which matched the total from his freshman campaign with the Rebels. He set a new career-high with 11 unassisted takedowns versus Northwest.
He had picks in back-to-back outings against Coahoma Community College and Mississippi Delta. Both of his interceptions occurred in the end zone and resulted in touchbacks that thwarted potential scoring drives.
Smith became the first standout since Jamel Dennis from 2013-14 to lead Northeast in tackling for two straight seasons. He racked up 58 tackles as a sophomore after posting 89 stops one year ago.
He added a team-high of eight tackles for loss plus two sacks, two forced fumbles, one interception, and one pass break up. Smith contributed to the special teams unit as well with one blocked field goal.
Saltillo’s Smith had an impressive showing versus Northwest with 17 tackles, which was just one takedown shy of matching a career-high, three tackles for loss, one sack and a forced fumble.
Derico is one of four offensive linemen to collect All-MACCC accolades alongside fellow Montgomery, Ala., native J’Shun Bodiford, Brantley Prescott from Columbus and Winona’s Jakob Welch.
The trio of Bodiford, Prescott and Welch are all second-team honorees. All four were everyday starters for the Tigers with Bodiford at left tackle, Prescott at center, Welch at right guard and Derico at right tackle.
The tandem blocked for an offense that ranked inside the top five in the league in scoring, points per game, total offense, passing yards, passing touchdowns, first downs, third down conversions and fourth down conversions.
Rounding out the list of All-MACCC winners for the Tigers are second-team choices Stephon McGlaun on the defensive line, Dallas Payne at wide receiver and Tony Washington in the defensive backfield.
McGlaun nicely transitioned to the defensive side of the pigskin upon his arrival to the City of Hospitality after starring at quarterback during his prep career at Tupelo High School.
He improved tremendously during his sophomore campaign at Northeast. McGlaun tripled his tackling totals from one season ago with 18, including eight solo and 10 assisted takedowns.
McGlaun also had three tackles for loss this year plus a sack against Northwest. He had a career-best five stops during the Tigers’ season opening home triumph versus Holmes.
Payne was another key weapon that Northeast quarterbacks Kevin Hurley and JT Moore frequently utilized. He was second on the team behind only Coby with 23 catches for 314 yards with three touchdowns.
He had five or more receptions during three of the Tigers’ six contests. Payne saved perhaps his best performance for last with two crucial scores in the first half at rival Itawamba.
The Saint Stanislaus High School graduate had a season-best 70 yards against Coahoma. Payne had four catches of at least 30 yards throughout the campaign, including a 34-yard grab at Holmes.
Washington accounted for the most tackles among any of Northeast’s defensive backs with 27. He recorded a season-high seven stops, including one tackle for loss, during a homecoming victory over Coahoma.
The Horn Lake High School alumnus came away with three turnovers, which was tied for most for the Tigers along with Prince. He had an interception and a fumble recovery versus Coahoma.
Washington sealed Northeast’s second win in a row against Itawamba with a pick-six late in the third quarter. He was one of only 11 players in the Magnolia State, including his teammate Carter Bonds, to score a defensive touchdown this year.