Six Tigers sign letters of intentBy ROBBIE ROBERTSON,
The Newton Tigers had six players sign to play football at the next level last week.
Two of those players signed with four-year schools while four signed with junior colleges.
Twins Zachary and Zackariah Johnson signed with Northwest Mississippi Community College while Alex Hamilton signed with Pearl River and Sirvares Snow inked with Pearl River. Javarious Moore, The Newton County Appeal Player of the Year, signed with Mississippi Valley State while Aurelious Hardy signed with Alcorn State.
“From what I could tell, us and Philadelphia were the only 2A school in the state to have six players to sign,” Newton coach Ryan Smith said. “We try really hard to get our kids to the next level. Even in the offseason, I spend every day on the phone with coaches. I don’t feel like I am through with the seniors until signing day. We are working hard to promote those kids and help them find a place to play.”
Leading the way was Moore, who signed with Valley. Moore had 1,027 yards receiving on 40 catches and 16 touchdowns.
“He and Alex were on their way to Itawamba for a visit and the coach called them and told them not to come,” Smith said. “He had seven different offers but everybody had kind of pulled away from him. So, the day after Itawamba told him not to come, Valley called and brought him up for a visit. Before he got home that day, he had committed to Valley. I think it’s a great fit for him.”
Hardy signed as a preferred walk-on with Alcorn State despite several offers from junior colleges.
“He had several JUCOs that were interested,” Smith said. “He wasn’t quite tall enough to be a defensive end in the JUCOs. He’s a 4.7 40 kid that bench presses 225 pounds 15 times. He’s extremely athletic. He made a 20 on the ACT and has a high ceiling. He said he would like to be at Alcorn if football didn’t work out. So, he took the preferred walk-on and will get some academic help.”
Perhaps one of the most interesting signees from the class is Alex Hamilton, who transferred from Newton County for his senior year. Like Moore, Hamilton had an offer from Itawamba but lost it in the last week but ended up signing with Pearl River as a preferred walk-on.
“He had an offer from Itawamba and didn’t pull the trigger and lost the offer,” Smith said. “That left us scrambling before signing day. A lot of the JUCOs liked him but didn’t have the room. He was limited because it was so late so he signed as a preferred walk-on. He gets treated like a scholarship guy and will have an opportunity to be put on scholarship. At the next level, he’s a strong safety or defensive back type.”
Sirvares Snow continues a family tradition of playing junior college football, signing with Pearl River.
“He was an easy one, one of the most marketable kids in our program,” Smith said. “He’s a little undersized but will be the alpha dog where ever he goes. He committed to Pearl River but East Mississippi and Gulf Coast made it interesting late and laid out a very good opportunity for him. At the end of the day, he said ‘I want to be a man of my word and my word was I was going to Pearl River.’ You can’t beat that.”
The Johnson twins ended an interesting journey that ended with them signing at Northwest Mississippi Community College.
“The problem with them is they are Division 1 guys but they are the same players,” Smith said. “State likes them, Baylor liked them, several schools liked them. But in the end, it’s about fitting what they needed. Memphis and Southern Miss still like them. It’s just finding the right fit for them. I think a year of junior college will do them good. Northwest is one of the top programs in the country. They have the best junior college facilities in the country. I think it’s a good fit for them.”