Signing Day

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 5, 2010

South Panola’s Nick Parker was all decked out in Ole Miss attire as he signed the national letter of intent to play with the Rebel football program. With him are (front, l to r) grandmother Esther Rayford, Parker, mother Stella Bryant; (back, l to r) Rico Doyle and Nita Taylor. The Panolian photo by Angie Ledbetter

Five Tigers sign to play

By Angie Ledbetter

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For the last several weeks, big time college football coaches could be seen around South Panola High School, recruiting players for their respective university, including the familiar faces of Houston Nutt, Bobby Petrino, Nick Saban and Larry Porter.

On Wednesday, the official signing day for recruits to sign a letter of intent to play football, five South Panola Tigers signed with Division 1, Division 2, Conference USA and community colleges.

Signing were Nick Parker, the University of Mississippi; Devin Clark, the University of Memphis;  Domonique Carothers, Delta State University; Montez Wallace and Justin Wright, Northwest Community College.

Tiger head coach Lance Pogue said it’s always a fun day every year but also bitter sweet.

“We hate to see them go but at the same time, we’re excited for them,” Pogue said. “When I came in, these guys were sophomores. We won 43 out of 45 games and two state championships and lost one in overtime. We’ve been full circle with them. I’m proud of them and know they’ll do well which ever direction they head.”

Pogue talked about Delta State recruiting Carothers.

“I’m excited to see Delta State come in,” he said. “They’re a great school and I’m very excited for Domonique. I think he was one of the best kept secrets in the state of Mississippi. What he did, especially toward the end of the year against Madison Central with 225 yards rushing in the North Half and then winning National Player of the week award, I think he has a great future.”

University of Memphis has also been scarce in landing South Panola players.

“I’m excited for Devin,” Pogue said. “Memphis is kind of new here and it’s a great opportunity for him. I know he is going to do well. I wouldn’t be shocked if he doesn’t play right away or possibly start.”

Pogue also reiterated from a couple of weeks ago on Parker at Ole Miss that it is a “great opportunity” for him.

“We have a couple of junior college guys, Montez and Justin and I’m excited for them. We’ll have a couple more junior college guys in the near future I feel like.”

Pogue said he looks forward to keeping up with these players throughout the years.

With a big smile on his face, Parker said he was excited and had not slept the night before.

“It was a lot of hard work,” Parker said. “I had to keep my grades up and do my part on the field. The coaches helped me also by preparing me for everything.”

Parker’s advice to the younger players is to work hard in the classroom and not worry about football because it will come to them.

Carothers calls signing day a “sad day.”

“I knew it was coming but at the same time, I’m glad because I worked hard to get here,” he said. “The coaching staff at South Panola did a great job of pushing the issue of trying to get everybody to a school and sign. I thank them for everything they did. They did a really good job of letting the coaches from different schools see us by sending out film etc. Delta State was a great environment, great head coach and coaching staff so I wanted to take that opportunity and make the most of it.”

According to Clark, getting to this day was a pretty tough challenge.

“I made it through it successful and I think I made the best decision for me by choosing the University of Memphis. It’s always been a dream for me to play college football. The coaching staff did their part and I did mine.”

Justin Wright said he is just glad he is signing and going to college.

“I’m happy,” he said. “It was very hard to get to this point but I put a lot of hard work in. The coaching staff prepared me well. I knew this day would come and I’m glad they helped get me here.”

Pogue said he expects a bigger signing class next year.