February 4, 2010 8:56:00 AM
STARKVILLE -- The Itawamba Community College football program landed two Starkville High Yellow Jackets on National Signing Day, as wideouts Perez Young and Justin Rogers signed to become members of new coach Jon Williams'' first recruiting class.
Both players didn''t have gaudy receiving statistics this season as the SHS offense fought through injuries before rebounding to make the playoffs and finish 4-8.
But both players have experience in a spread system and playing a variety of roles. Young played a key factor in the Yellow Jackets'' ground game as a blocker on the edge, while Rogers was an all-around player hailed by his coach as the team''s lifeline.
"Without Justin, I don''t think we would have made it to the playoffs," SHS coach Bill Lee said. "He''s the first player I''ve been associated with that plays so many positions. From running back, to wideout, punt returner, safety, corner, quarterback -- he did it all. You just very seldom get an athlete like that. Sometimes (playing multiple positions) can take away from your ultimate goal, but I''m glad ICC could see the potential."
After being featuring in multiple ways and starting every game this season, it''s uncertain whether Rogers will remain at wide receiver or play in another spot at ICC.
Rogers believes he will spend most of his time at wideout, but said the coaching staff hinted at the possibility of him playing defense.
Rogers and Young are part of a 38-player class, which includes three signees who had Football Bowl Subdivision offers.
Williams'' first recruiting class is critical in to revitalize a program that went 2-7 last season and missed the state playoffs for the first time in five years.
"I really do like the class we signed today," Williams said. "We were blessed with a lot of terrific talent inside our district."
Williams took over for former ICC coach and current Starkville Academy coach Jeff Terrill in mid-December, and Rogers and Young said the current ICC coach received good reviews from current Indians players.
"The players talked about how they didn''t get along with the old coach and how they''re happy to get a new coach," Young said. "They felt like we could make some real good progress this year."
Young admitted he didn''t expect to pick up an offer after not having the senior season he expected.
"I thought I''d have to work really hard to get an offer from a school," Young said. "I didn''t know it would come as easily as it came to me. But I worked hard, I blocked, caught the ball when it was thrown to me, and did what I had to do to get to this level."
Young and Rogers are the last two college signees for Lee, who will retire at the end of the school year.
"I''m really happy for these kids. I know how exciting it is for them," Lee said. "Hopefully, we''ll be reading about them in two years when they''re playing at the D I level."
1. Erby makes big play despite hearing voice in his head HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
2. MSU's Johnson will have to veteran at tight end COLLEGE SPORTS