Starkville High School football coach Chris Jones stands with (from left) Natrone Brooke and Jalen Ware (Copiah-Lincoln Community College), D’Angelo Scales (Coahoma), Cameron Hines (Jackson State), Jordan Boatman (Holmes), and Darius Brooks (Belhaven) Photo by: Brett Hudson/Dispatch Staff Buy this photo.
February 8, 2018 10:05:26 AM
STARKVILLE -- When the Starkville High School football team sputtered on offense in the middle of a run to the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A State championship game, it leaned on its defense, especially its secondary.
On Wednesday, half of that secondary finalized opportunities to play football at Copiah-Lincoln Community College.
The signings of defensive backs Natrone Brooks and Jalen Ware were two of seven on the day for the Class 6A runner-up Yellow Jackets.
"One of the things I talk about is to make sure kids use the game of football to get a college education, and we have some guys that accomplished that goal," Starkville coach Chris Jones said.
Brooks, a former Memphis commit, intercepted two passes while leading the team with 13 passes defended. Ware also had two interceptions and defended 12 passes.
"I was really looking forward to going to them, but I didn't want to go there alone," Ware said. "When he made his (decision) it helped me make mine, too. We had been talking about it -- or I had -- and I finally got in his head about it."
Said Brooks, "It feels good to know I'm going with a teammate, going down there and keeping the same communication going on. We already have the chemistry and the bond together, and we know how to play together."
Offensive lineman Jordan Boatman (Holmes C.C.) and safety D'Angelo Scales (Coahoma C.C.) also will play in the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC). Jones applauded Scales' effort in switching to safety for his senior season. Scales finished the season with 88 tackles, 22 for a loss, three sacks, and four passes defended.
"I just want to thank God because through the man above we can do all things," Scales said.
Boatman found an immediate match in Holmes CC.
"I visited Thursday and they offered me the same day," he said.
Darius Brooks found the same fit in Belhaven.
"It was a beautiful campus. The coaches were well rounded," he said. "The basic religion status was unbelievable. The classroom ratio is suited for my needs, especially the professors talking to me about the classes."
Wide receiver Cameron Hines capped a standout senior season that saw him lead the team with 70 catches for 912 yards and 12 touchdowns by signing with Jackson State.
"The first day they called me I knew that's where I wanted to go," Hines said. "I've been talking to coach Jones since then and I knew I wanted to go there."
The selection of Jackson State was a big deal: Hines' mother selected a blue blazer for the signing event and his aunt made him a custom bow tie, with the square JSU logo on the left side of the knot and a tiger logo on the right side.
Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter @Brett_Hudson
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