Bulldogs use late phone call to land Jones

Starkville's Kameron Jones puts on an MSU cap announcing he was becoming a Bulldog.
Staff Writer

Signing day at Starkville High School has become the event of the year at the school as the Yellowjackets are turning out as much talent as any school in the state.

The latest edition of signing day was no different in Chris Jones’ first year on campus as he helped put seven players in college football for next season.

The biggest surprise of the day happened much later than the original presentation. All-State offensive tackle Kameron Jones was set to sign with the University of Louisiana, but a phone call before the announcements changed all of that.

“I thought it was going to be ULL, but Mississippi State sent me an offer and I just couldn’t turn it down,” Jones said. “The recruiting process is really crazy, but State sent the offer and showed the interest and I couldn’t hold my excitement.”

Kameron Jones joins teammate and wide receiver Cameron Gardner as players heading to hometown MSU next season. Gardner signed with the Bulldogs in the early signing period back in December with little hype and did not take part in the events on Wednesday.

Before the Kameron Jones news broke, a plethora of talented players announced their intentions.

At the top of the list was All-Area wide receiver Cameron Hines, who signed with Jackson State. Hines exploded onto the scene his senior year when he was Starkville’s go-to pass catcher hauling in 70 passes for 917 yards and 12 touchdowns.

With offers from several junior colleges to consider, Jackson State was a place he felt was most comfortable to him.

“It’s family and all love there,” Hines said of JSU. “It’s all about brotherhood. My mom and my family always told me what God has for me is for me. I was patient and look where He got me now. I’m blessed.”
Also signing with a four-year school was linebacker Darius Brooks, who got a scholarship to attend Belhaven College.

Starting center Jordan Boatman came a long way over the last year to get into the position he found himself in on Wednesday. His hard work to earn the starting spot in the middle and also earned him a chance to play for Holmes Community College next season.

It was a huge day for the SHS secondary with three players getting scholarships to junior colleges. Safety/linebacker D’Angelo Scales finished the year as one of the top tacklers at safety with his 88 stops and 22 tackles for loss. The hits behind the line of scrimmage tied for the most on the team. He chose Coahoma Community College.

A duo of best friends will be playing together two more years at Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

Dynamic defenders Natrone Brooks and Jalen Ware locked down opposing defenses this season for a total of 144 tackles, 25 tackles for loss, 25 pass deflections and four interceptions. Brooks had a commitment to Memphis earlier in the process but decided to open things up and take a chance on a two-year career at JUCO with better offers later.

His opportunity to play with his friend on the next level was also a plus.

“It’s a good school and program that fits me well,” Brooks said. “I think it’ll give me another opportunity to get recruited again and will be great to play with Jalen again. Being there with a teammate that’s been with me since pee wee will be great.”

As the day came to a close, coach Jones couldn’t help but be thrilled with how things turned out. There’s sure to be more talented players continuing their careers as the years roll on in Starkville, but Jones was happy to see his first group get some love on the next level.

“The mark of being a good program is seeing kids go to college,” coach Jones said. “We’ll finish with eight or nine kids signed so I’m excited to see what they do in the future in football and college. It’s going to be great for them.”