EMCC's Cunningham puts on Memphis cap

Everitt Cunningham, left, stands with his high school coach Chris Chambless of West Point.

Sports Editor

Everitt Cunningham was down to two choices.

Two caps remained on the table when he sat down to make the final decision on where he would spend the next two years playing college football.

After spending the day pondering what he wanted to do, Cunningham narrowed the selection down to Memphis and UAB.

The former player from West Point High School and East Mississippi Community College even paused briefly before making his announcement in the West Point field house on Wednesday night because he wanted to be sure.

Cunningham finally reached out for the Memphis hat and said he will become a Tiger.

"It was a big of a challenge," Cunningham said of the recruiting process. "I wouldn't say stressful, but it was a good stress to have. Some things don't work out like you want them to work out, but God has a different path for everybody."

The family environment at Memphis was something Cunningham said put the Tigers over the top.

"The coaches just want to be family down there," Cunningham said. "That's all I preach coming from high school and junior college is a brother environment."

Memphis had already gotten Rodrigues Clark and Jalil Clemons of Starkville and Maliek Stallings of Noxubee County to sign earlier in the day and Cunningham was icing on the cake.

Cunningham is happy to become part of the Mississippi pipeline to join the Tigers.

"If it's a Mississippi thing then it's a great thing because all Mississippi players are great," Cunningham said.

Cunningham was part of the NJCAA’s No. 1 team in scoring defense this past year at EMCC. The Lions allowed an average of only 11.2 points per game.

He had 13 sacks, which ranked among the nation’s top 10 that category, and also had 20.5 tackles for loss.

"I went down there with a chip on my shoulder," Cunningham said about his time at EMCC. "It helped me get the offers that I needed."

In the national championship game for EMCC, Cunningham was the game's Most Valuable Player. He scored the only touchdown for the Lions on an 11-yard fumble return in a 10-9 win over Garden City (KS) Community College.

West Point head coach Chris Chambless was proud to see what Cunningham has accomplished in junior college and now he has taken another step in his career.

"For high school coaches, signing days really swell us up with pride," Chambless said. "It's the culmination of all the hard work and determination and things we've been telling them all along."