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UTM scores big on National Signing Day

By Bradley Stringfield
On February 6, 2013

In a recruiting class that is sure to add some excitement next season the UTM football team filled several voids left by departing seniors.

UTM landed 17 recruits on National Signing Day in addition to the seven early enrollees that were already on campus bringing their total to 24. One of the Skyhawks challenges for next season is replacing their record-setting quarterback David Carr. Head coach Jason Simpson brought in two quarterbacks to help create competition for the open spot, Khalid Hagens from Maplewood-Richmond Heights High School and Dylan Favre from Pearl River Community College. Favre is the nephew of Packers legend Brett Favre.

Along with losing their quarterback of the last three seasons the Skyhawks also lost four senior linebackers after this past season. Fortunately, with linebackers Dilouse Jackson, from Garden City Community College, and DJ Jordan, from East Mississippi Community College, two of those voids will be filled.

UTM also brought in James Cotton, from Belleville East High School, and 2012 Lauderdale County Defensive Player of the Year DJ Simmons, from Lauderdale County High School, to help fill their linebacker corp.

Replacing the productivity of wide receiver Quentin Simms will also be a huge task. Coach Simpson added two play makers in wide receivers Caylon Weather, from Germantown High School, and Will Whitley, from Memphis University School. Whitley caught 10 touchdowns his senior year while Weathers tallied nine for his career. However, explosive receiver Kevin Anderson, from Arizona State, will be the standout signee due to his speed. DeAdrian Terry, from Gulf Coast Community College, will also be in the mix for to be catches passes from the Skyahawks new quarterback.

The team also landed three running backs to the mix, Reuben Duckworth, from Jones County Community College, who led the state of Mississippi with 16 total touchdowns in his senior season. Also added were Donte Harrell, from Francis Howell High School, who rushed for 1,490 yards and scored 25 touchdowns his senior year.  The team also added Chauncey Ingram, from South Cobb High School.

"Chauncey is about as fast as anyone we've ever had here, " noted coach Simpson.

In addition to the rest of the offense recruits three offensive lineman were signed in this class: Kadarren Bond, from Madison County High School, Robert Burleigh, from South Side High School, and Alex Roberts, from Webster Groves High School.  Alex is the younger brother of current Skyhawk Jackson Roberts.

Leon Carlton, from Hoover High Shool, and Brian Isaac, from Copiah-Lincoln Junior College, were the early enrollees of this year's incoming class of defensive backs. The class is also made up of Devontay Barnett, from Jones County Community College, La'Quante Bone, from Madison County High School, and Justin Jackson, from Chattahoochee High School.

UTM also brought in athlete Tae Martin, from Siegel High School, who had 9.5 sacks as a senior. Also signed was kicker Mitch Mersman, from Dickson County High School, who tallied 41 touchbacks on 49 kickoff attempts. He also added eight field goals and 46 PAT's.  Defensive lineman Trey Warren, from Marietta High School, was also added to help improve the team's pass-rush.    

"We had to address some immediate needs and some needs for the future," Said coach Simpson.

"We won a lot of games last season, but we're only as good as the players that we get."

If this recruiting class is as advertised then coach Simpson will have a great group of talented young men heading into the 2013 season.

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