MACCC champion EMCC Lions send 21 football players to next level during early signing period

Published 3:39 pm Thursday, December 29, 2022

SCOOBA – The 2022 MACCC champion Lions of East Mississippi Community College had 21 football players sign national letters of intent with four-year universities during December’s early NCAA signing period for midyear junior college transfers.

With 13 defensive players and eight on offense headed to the next level, EMCC sent five defensive linemen, five defensive backs, four wide receivers, four offensive linemen, and three linebackers to the university ranks during the NCAA’s early signing period.

The breakdown of the 21 former EMCC Lions moving on to the university level included 10 players heading to NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) member institutions, six players signing with NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) schools, and five joining the NCAA Division II playing ranks.

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Leading the way for EMCC’s 10 FBS signees was NJCAA All-Region 23 and All-MACCC/North Division First Team defensive lineman Elijah Davis, who will return to his home state after signing with the University of South Carolina Gamecocks of the Southeastern Conference. The Wagener, South Carolina native is currently ranked second nationally among the 2023 ESPN Junior College 50 listing.

Venturing to universities affiliated with the Sun Belt Conference will be former Columbus High School and EMCC teammates Steven Cattledge Jr. and Ethan Conner (Troy University), Ole Miss bounce back Marc Britt II (ULM), Kason Boston (Appalachian State), Tulane bounce back Reggie Neely (South Alabama), and Laurence Sullivan Jr. (Coastal Carolina).

In addition, Mississippi State bounce-back linebacker Rodney Groce Jr. (UTSA/Conference USA), two-time All-MACCC/North Division defensive lineman Devonyal Lofton (Buffalo/Mid-American Conference), and wide receiver Duke Miller (New Mexico/Mountain West Conference) are also heading to FBS conference member schools.

Along with Troy signees Cattledge and Conner, EMCC also has two other sets of former Lion teammates staying together at the next level. Defensive backs Jamori Evans (Starkville HS) and Jadden Matthews (Moss Point) both signed with McNeese State of the Southland Conference, while offensive linemen Will Baggett (Sturgis/St. Martin HS) and Seth Russo (Bay St. Louis/Bay HS) will each attend Mississippi College.

Also moving on to play at the FCS level will be former EMCC offensive linemen Tre’Darious Griffin (Mississippi Valley State/SWAC) and Darrian King (Samford/Southern Conference), linebacker Jatarian Hudson (Eastern Illinois/Ohio Valley Conference), and defensive back Kendarius Smith (Nicholls State/Southland).

Rounding out the Lions’ 2022 sophomore class that also inked NLIs during December’s early signing period were defensive linemen Tevontae Bond (Arkansas-Monticello) and Ahmir Taylor (Delta State) as well as wide receiver Carl Robinson (Southwestern Oklahoma State), who will all continue their collegiate football careers at the NCAA Division II level.

Additionally, former EMCC wide receiver Josh Aka, one of 11 former Starkville High School Yellow Jackets on the Lions’ 2022 football roster, will join the Ole Miss Rebels as a preferred walk-on during the 2023 football season.






WILL BAGGETT (6-1, 295, OL, Sturgis, MS/St. Martin HS/Starkville HS) – Mississippi College

TEVONTAE BOND (6-2, 235, DL, Starkville, MS/Holmes CC/Starkville HS) – Arkansas-Monticello 

KASON BOSTON (6-5, 230, DL, Birmingham, AL/Jackson-Olin HS) – Appalachian State

MARC BRITT II (6-1, 185, WR, Carol City, FL/Ole Miss bounce back/Dade Christian School) – Louisiana-Monroe (ULM)

STEVEN CATTLEDGE JR. (6-3, 215, LB, Columbus [MS] HS) – Troy

ETHAN CONNER (6-4, 220, WR, Columbus [MS] HS) – Troy

ELIJAH DAVIS (6-4, 280, DL, Wagener, SC/Wagener-Salley HS) – South Carolina

JAMORI EVANS (5-11, 200, DB, Pheba, MS/Starkville HS) – McNeese State

TRE’DARIOUS GRIFFIN (6-2, 330, OL, Lambert, MS/Madison S. Palmer HS) – Mississippi Valley State

RODNEY GROCE JR. (6-2, 235, LB, Birmingham, AL/Miss. State bounce back/Pleasant Grove HS) – Texas-San Antonio (UTSA)

JATARIAN HUDSON (6-2, 215, LB, Philadelphia [MS] HS) – Eastern Illinois

DARRIAN KING (6-4, 305, OL, Oak Grove [MS] HS) – Samford

DEVONYAL LOFTON (6-2, 220, DL, Forest [MS] HS) – Buffalo

JADDEN MATTHEWS (5-11, 185, DB, Moss Point [MS] HS) – McNeese State

DUKE MILLER (6-1, 170, WR, Taylorsville [MS] HS) – New Mexico

REGGIE NEELY (6-0, 175, DB, Memphis, TN/Tulane bounce back/Briarcrest Christian School) – South Alabama

CARL ROBINSON (6-0, 185, WR, Sardis, MS/North Panola HS) – Southwestern Oklahoma State

SETH RUSSO (6-1, 310, OL, Bay St. Louis, MS/Bay HS) – Mississippi College

KENDARIUS SMITH (5-10, 180, DB, Meridian, MS/Fort Walton Beach [FL] HS/Meridian HS) – Nicholls State

LAURENCE SULLIVAN JR. (5-10, 185, DB, Vicksburg [MS] HS) – Coastal Carolina

AHMIR TAYLOR (6-2, 245, DL, Starkville [MS] HS) – Delta State

Additional note: Josh Aka, wide receiver from Starkville, indicates that he is planning to go to Ole Miss as a preferred walk-on.