Thursday, February 13, 2014
Six Indians sign scholarships
By BARRY BURLESON
Six Byhalia Indians were the center of attention at the school on National Signing Day with three of those going to Division I colleges.
Introduced to a cheering student body Wednesday morning of last week were Caleb Grant, Curtis Akins, Chris Rayford, Edwin Jones, Antonio Wilson and Marquise Rodgers.
“To have six players sign from what was considered a rebuilding year for us – that shows the time and effort the kids and coaching staff put in,” said head coach John Danley. “And having three going to D-I schools, that speaks volumes for our program.”
The Indians came on strong toward the end of this past season, stunning Corinth, the second-ranked team in Class 4A, in the first round of the playoffs. They were eliminated by Cleveland the next week.
Grant and Akins signed with the Memphis Tigers; Rayford with the Mississippi State Bulldogs; Jones with the East Mississippi Community College Lions; and Wilson and Rodgers with the Northeast Mississippi Community College Tigers.
Grant, a 6-4, 250-lb. defensive end, said being able to play for Memphis is “a dream come true.”
“It’s been my school since I was little,” he said. “This is special – a great blessing.”
Grant will be joined in Tiger country by his high school teammate, Akins, a 6-2, 220-lb. linebacker.
Rayford, a 6-0, 190-lb. cornerback, is excited about playing for his beloved Mississippi State and in the SEC.
“I’ve always been a State fan,” he said. “This wasn’t a difficult decision for me. It’s a great school.
“The Southeastern Conference is the toughest conference in college football. I look forward to it. I plan to keep working hard (at MSU).”
Jones, a 6-0, 275-lb. offensive lineman, will go to Scooba and suit up for the East Mississippi Lions, the defending National Junior College Athletic Association champions.
Wilson, a 6-4, 180-lb. wide receiver, and Rodgers, a 6-3, 230-lb. quarterback, will carry their teamwork and friendship to Booneville, playing for Northeast.
This year’s six-member signing class from Byhalia High School follows nine from the previous season.
“That’s a lot of talent,” Danley said.
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