By JOEL COLEMAN
MABEN – East Mississippi Community College has seen success with a Poe before.
EMCC head football coach Buddy Stephens and company are hoping lightning can indeed strike twice.
West Oktibbeha's Josh Poe, a running back and linebacker for the Timberwolves, signed a letter of intent Wednesday to join the EMCC football program.
Poe is following in the footsteps of his brother, linebacker Gabe Poe, who played on the Lions' 2009 state championship team and most notably recorded 26 total tackles in the title game.
Despite his brother's previous accolades in Scooba, Josh Poe is looking to blaze his own trail when he heads to campus in the fall.
"I could say I'm following in my brother's footsteps, but I'm trying to set my own," said Josh Poe. "I'm going to try and come in and get a starting position. They're talking about redshirting me, but I'll just have to prove that I'm ready and able to play."
The primary reason for the uncertainty surrounding Poe's playing status is the injury he sustained in the third game of West Oktibbeha's 2010 season.
In the contest at East Oktibbeha, Poe broke his fibula and missed the final eight games of the year.
Instead of being on the field, Poe was relegated to simply sitting back and watching his senior year go by.
"It was hard," said Poe. "I remember back when we played Nanih Waiya. We should have won that game but some things didn't go our way. I just felt that if I could have been on the field with them, I could have made a difference. But I was on the sidelines, injured, and couldn't do anything.
"Some games I'd just go in the stands because I knew I couldn't do anything. It was tough to go through that."
While he played in just the first three games, Poe provided the Lions with plenty of evidence that he is a difference-maker.
Poe ran for 63 yards and two touchdowns and caught 16 passes for 212 yards and three more scores.
Defensively, Poe recorded 14 tackles, two sacks, intercepted a pass and recovered two fumbles.
"For EMCC to sign a young man that only played three games, that's the proof that it's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog," said West Oktibbeha head coach Adam Lowrey. "What Josh didn't get in size and in height, he has in overwhelming heart and desire. You can want something all day long, but he has the tools also to get it done."
Poe proved in his last full season, the 2009 campaign, that he has the ability to impact a game from multiple spots.
In his junior season at West Oktibbeha, Poe ran for 391 yards and five touchdowns, and tallied 159 receiving yards.
On the other side of the ball, Poe notched 73 tackles and six sacks while intercepting a pass and recovering two fumbles.
Poe was also a factor on special teams, racking up 111 punt return yards and 110 kickoff return yards.
With his versatility, Poe signed with EMCC as an athlete. Still, Lowrey has a gut feeling he knows where Poe will wind up.
"It's to be determined, and he has the grit, running ability and set of great hands to play running back, but defensively he's a truck," said Lowrey. "I'm not trying to predict the future, but he's going to play outside linebacker."
Poe says where he plays doesn't matter. Whether it's at linebacker, safety, running back or somewhere else, he's just ready to get on the field after his long layoff.
"I would prefer catching touchdowns or running touchdowns, but I don't mind laying out a blow or two on defense," said Poe. "I guess I can say I'm kind of cocky. I've got my own swagger. I feel nobody can stop me, no matter where I play at."