By Myra Bean
Nationally recruited Darius “Tig” Barksdale of South Panola High School did not sign a national letter of intent but 12 other teammates inked.
The national day of signing for college football recruits began Wednesday. Despite earlier verbal commitments, Ole Miss did not pick up any player from South Panola.
“I have to get my grades up,” Barksdale said.
Barksdale had made a verbal commitment to sign with Ole Miss. Barksdale did receive scholarship offers from Ole Miss and Northwest. He was expected to make a decision on Thursday, but that decision had not been announced at press time.
On Wednesday, Barksdale also found out he was selected as the Old Spice Red Zone Player of the Year. A full page congratulatory announcement appeared in the USA Today yesterday.
The University of Southern Mississippi and Mississippi Valley State had the biggest haul from South Panola with four players each signing. Signing with Southern are Quin Sanford, Terrance Pope, Jemarcus Hardrick and Bud Barksdale. Taking the Mississippi Valley Route are Cameron Wagner, Jonathan Wilson, Joshua Shipp and Cordarrius McMurry.
Signing from North Panola High School were Templeton Hardy, who signed to play with Mississippi State and Bruce Wilbourn, another Southern Mississippi signee.
Alcorn signed Michael Johnson of North Delta posthumously.
Four other players signed with different junior colleges. David Baker and Mario Nash signed with Northeast Community College in Booneville. Jarred Draper signed with Itawamba Community College in Fulton. Deshun Sandridge signed with Northwest Community College in Senatobia.
Sanford and Barksdale had also originally verbally committed to Ole Miss, but when the coaching staff changes occurred, they changed their minds citing coach Tony Hughes at Southern as a reason.
South Panola head football coach Lance Pogue said he was proud of the decision the seniors made
“This is a great opportunity for them,” Pogue said. “This is a great senior class. They have a lot of ability and obviously a lot of colleges thought they have ability. They are going in different directions. I am extremely proud of them and know they have a bright future.”
Pogue knows that some of them had some hard decisions to make.
“Anytime you have numerous people interested in you, have to make a decision in your heart what’s best for you,” he said. “There’s a lot of tugging and pulling and back and forth. It looks to me like they have all made quality decisions. I think they will all do well.”