ELLISVILLE – Jones County Junior held its Football Media Day on Wednesday morning at Bobcat Stadium/Sim Cooley Field.
But the day had a senior college feel to it.
Four players from Division I programs, including three from Southeastern Conference schools, are on the JCJC roster this fall. Another player from out of state had verbally committed to a Big 12 school, but ended up at JCJC.
Head coach David Thornton is expecting big things out of these players.
“These are some guys that can definitely make a difference for us,” Thornton said. “We are excited to see what they can do.”
The Bobcats will have running back DeSherrious Flowers, wide receivers Carlos Burse and Kyle Oliver, and defensive end Markell Winters on the roster.
Flowers (6-1, 210) is a standout who went through spring practice with the University of Alabama. Oliver (6-4, 230) is a player who had signed with the University of Tennessee. Burse (6-3, 210) was at Vanderbilt University last fall, but transferred to JCJC and went through spring practice and summer workouts. Winters (6-3, 230) was at East Carolina University last fall before heading to JCJC.
Jaylon Lane (6-1, 175) was a highly regarded cornerback at Nacogdoches (Texas) High School and had committed to Oklahoma State University before signing with the Bobcats.
“DeSherrious is a guy we just got in here and is a talented player,” Thornton said. “Carlos came in here and had a really good spring and summer for us. We just added Kyle and we are excited about what he can do. Markell will be able to come in and help us and Jaylon is a great cornerback and had 38 Division I offers out of high school.”
Burse is out of Alpharetta, Georgia, while Oliver is from LaVergne, Tennessee, and Winters is from Tallahassee, Florida.
While the JCJC coaches are pleased with all of the out of state players, Flowers has been receiving the most notice.
The four-star player is from Vigor High School in Mobile, Alabama. He signed early with the Crimson Tide and went through spring practice with Alabama. He had two carries in the A-Day Spring Game, but was declared ineligible at the end of the spring semester.
He said he was pleased with his spring at Alabama and hopes to return in the future.
“I enjoyed my spring at Alabama,” he said. “It was a lot of hard work. I never felt like I could not do it. Every day I did everything they asked me to do. I had a couple of injuries, but I always fought my way through practice.
“It was not too hard, but it was everything I expected it to be. I love hard work and it helped me become a better player.
Flowers said he learned a great deal about the running back position from current Alabama stars Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake and associate head coach/running backs coach Burton Burns.
“Kenyan Drake and Derrick Henry are real good leaders and helped me with some of the plays,” Flowers said. “They helped me understand it, as did Coach Burns. There was a lot of film study, going over plays each day and having a lot of position meetings. It just helped me better myself.”
Now, Flowers finds himself playing in the MACJC. He said he would do his best to help the Bobcats be a successful team in 2015.
“My expectations are to come out and play hard and help the team win games,” he said. “I don’t really talk too much, but I always try to lead in the way that I play. I just want to work hard, be disciplined and help the team get better every day.
“I expect us to be at a high level. We have a lot of talent and we work very hard day in and day out. Our coaches are on us very hard in practice because they want the best for us.
“I feel like we can be a great team this year.”
Thornton said the addition of these players is a result of hard work by the coaching staff, led by recruiting coordinator Chip Bilderback.
“We have worked really hard at recruiting and we have a great group of out-of-state kids who are impact guys,” he said. “We are optimistic about the season and are excited to get started.”
Fans will have an opportunity to see the team at “Meet the Bobcats” at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 20 in downtown Ellisville, next to Community Bank.
JCJC opens the season at home at 7 p.m. on Aug. 29 against Northwest Mississippi. The game will air on www.jcjc.tv and WLAU-FM, 99.3