By Josh Troy
Clarksdale High School’s football program has won three consecutive division championships, and athletes and coaches received a few of the top Region 3-4A honors following the 2022 season. Three senior Wildcats (10-2, 4-0) were rewarded for his or her achievements and officially committed to continuing their careers at the school level on National Signing Day last week. Cornerback Kelley Jones (6 feet, 4 ½ inches, 185 kilos) signed with Mississippi State University, defensive tackle Cameron Mackey (6-2, 280) signed with the University of Southern Mississippi, and rushing end and outdoors linebacker Torian Williams (6-4, 210) signed with Copiah-Lincoln Community College. Jones was named the Region 3-4A Player of the 12 months and a Co-Offensive Player of the 12 months, and Mackey was named a Co-Defensive Player of the 12 months.
Wildcats coach Johnny Maddox earned Region 3-4A Coach of the 12 months honors. Maddox accomplished his first season as the pinnacle coach after several years as an assistant. Along with winning the Region 3-4A championship, the Wildcats advanced to the second round of the playoffs under Maddox’s leadership.
Jones verbally committed to playing for Mississippi State throughout the summer of 2022. “I selected Mississippi State since it felt such as you’re being surrounded by the identical people as you,” he said. “Everybody acts the identical. There was something different about it. They showed an excessive amount of love.” When Bulldogs coach Mike Leach unexpectedly died in Dec. 2022, Jones appreciated how the remainder of the coaching staff handled things. “All of the coaches told us to jot down an article or something on how we feel about him,” Jones said. “I had seen him per week before. We were on the official visit. I talked to him and every little thing.” Leach made a positive impression when he met Jones. “That was my first time meeting him,” Jones said. “He was real smart. He was just telling me what I could do to make it to the NFL and be a greater player.”
Defensive coordinator Zach Arnett succeeded Leach because the Mississippi State coach. Jones officially signed to play for Arnett and the Bulldogs on National Signing Day. While Jones will likely be playing cornerback at Mississippi State, he also saw motion at safety for the Wildcats and was the starting quarterback as an upperclassman in highschool. He took over the quarterback position as a junior after Martez Williams went down with an injury. Jones finished his senior season with 29 touchdowns and 10 of them were on passing plays. He had 2,018 all-purpose yards in 2022 and scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery. Torian Williams forced the fumble.
Jones’ best game was a 45-0 win at Cleveland when he scored five touchdowns. 4 of the touchdowns were on rushing plays, and one was a pass. Although Jones had success on offense, he prefers playing defense. “Defense is fun, especially with loads of those that run around doing the identical thing you’re doing,” he said. Jones said he would play any position to assist his team. “If you should win, you’ve got to purchase into it,” he said. “In case you’re playing, you may do it like that. No excuses.”
Jones’ versatility helped him be chosen to play within the Bernard Blackwell All-Star Game in Gulfport, Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Game in Mobile, Ala., and Magnolia All-Star Game at East Central Community College. He was also named to the All-State team. Looking ahead, Jones felt playing cornerback at Mississippi State was the most effective fit for him. “I can guard, and I’m fast enough to protect. I’ve got height and speed,” he said. Jones has a goal to achieve 10 kilos of muscle and reach the 195-pound mark. “I need to get big,” he said. “I don’t want to achieve an excessive amount of weight, but I need to get greater though.”
Jones said Mississippi State’s offseason program is analogous to Clarksdale, but athletes need to do more work at the school level. “You do a complete lot more,” he said. “It’s greater than what you do in highschool. It’s so much.” Jones began playing football for the Clarksdale Bears at age 9 under coach Kelvin Stacker. He can be on the basketball team and may play any position on the court.“I grew up liking each (football and basketball), but I believe football’s got the sting,” Jones said. “There’s so much more that comes with it.”
Jones currently holds a 2.9 GPA but expects it to enhance to three.19 the subsequent time grades come out. He plans to major in either business or health science in college and understands the importance of academics. “You may’t just play football in case your grades are below average,” he said. “It might be like wasting your time if you’ve gotten bad grades.” Jones said a key to maintaining along with his studies is doing homework days prior to the games.
Mackey, who maintains a 3.4 GPA and is on the dignity roll, selected to attend the University of Southern Mississippi to place his education first. “It was Division 1, and I got to pondering it was more about my education,” he said. Mackey said he didn’t consider attending a junior college can be the most effective path for his education. He plans to major in sports management in college. “I need to be an agent or get into entrepreneurship,” he said.
Mackey followed a each day schedule during football season to take care of his give attention to education. “With me, since I get out at 2, it makes so much more time available,” he said. “I get out of faculty at 2 o’clock, and after 2, I’m going work out at about 2:15 until about 3:45. I head home, and I make it home by 4:30 and, from there, I get my protein in, I get my stretching in, and I lay down and call it an evening.”
Mackey’s routine helped him finish with 84 tackles, 12 tackles for losses, 4 sacks, eight quarterback hurries, and one forced fumble his senior season. He played within the Magnolia All-Star Game, Bernard Blackwell All-Star Game and earned All-State and All-Conference honors.
Mackey was each a defensive end and defensive tackle for the Wildcats. He will likely be a defensive tackle in college and felt that he was the higher fit due to his athletic ability. He currently weighs 280 kilos but hopes to achieve not less than 20 kilos of muscle in college. “At Southern Miss, I’m going to be a lean 300, lean 310 (kilos),” he said. Mackey said the Golden Eagles’ workout program would help him construct that muscle. “It’s more explosive and athletic,” he said. Aside from running track to remain in shape, Mackey only plays football. He began playing football for the Clarksdale Lumberjacks at age 5 under coach Tyrone Smith.
Williams will likely be playing rushing end and outdoors linebacker, two defensive positions, at Copiah-Lincoln Community. “I hate offense,” he said. “It comes right down to hitting folks (on defense).”Williams welcomes playing a couple of position. “I’m blissful they gave me something I could work with,” he said. “They know that I’m athletic enough for the drop back in coverage, to come back back down and tackle the quarterback and all that.”
Williams said considered one of the things he liked about Co-Lin when visiting the varsity was the country environment. He also believes going there might help him reach his goal of eventually playing Division 1 football. Williams is currently 210 kilos.“My coach told me they simply want me to get to 245, but I’m going to offer them 250,” he said. Williams said the workout program is different at Co-Lin than Clarksdale. At Co-Lin, he said he would start lifting weights which can be around 95 kilos, which is 45% of his current weight at 210 kilos. Eventually, he said he can be lifting weights which can be 90% of what he weighs.
Williams had 68 solo tackles as a senior for the Wildcats, 78 total tackles, 12 quarterback hurries, five pass deflections, and three sacks. His best game got here in a 20-14 homecoming win against district opponent Gentry when he had two pass deflections, three quarterback hurries, and not less than 10 tackles.
Williams began his football profession at Higgins Middle School playing for coach Anthony Chestnut, who can be an assistant for the highschool team. He throws the discus and shot put in track. He maintains a 3.0 GPA. “I come to high school,” he said. “After school, I’m going to the sphere house, lift weights, stay for track practice, go home, do my homework, eat, and do the identical thing over (the subsequent day).” Williams plans to major in engineering and physics in college. “I really need to have my very own engineering business,” said Williams, adding he hopes to live within the Jackson area.
Clarksdale Wildcats District 4A Region 3 honors:
Coach of The 12 months: Coach Johnny Maddox
Player of The 12 months: Kelley Jones
Offensive Player of the 12 months: Senior Kelley Jones
Co-Defensive Player of The 12 months: Senior Cameron Mackey
4A Region 3 All District Team:
1st Team OFFENSE :
OT- Junior James Lewis
OG- Sophomore Jason Liner
C- Patrick Johnson Jr
OG- Junior Kyron Williams
OT- London Butler
WR- Sophomore Keuntre Gardner
TE- Junior Cameron Pittman
2nd Team Offense:
RB- Senior Khamari Gamble
RB- Senior Ramon Hill
WR- Sophomore Tyrese Lewis
OG- Senior Fred Dumas
FB- Junior Markel Harper
RB- Sophomore Monrekus McGregory
K- Junior Fares Moggali
RB-Junior Kebian Gilmore
1st Team Defense:
DT – Senior Cimmion Ross
DE – Junior Kyle Coleman
LB – Junior Kebian Gilmore
LB – Senior Daniel Wilson
DB- Sophomore Monrekus McGregory
LB-Sophomore Jaquarrious Hearn
2nd Team Defense:
DE- Senior Torian Williams
DB – Junior Rico Lewis
DB – Sophomore Lemarcus Hicks
LB – Junior Standick Hodges
DE – Junior Monterious Haynes
DE- Senior Brice Willingham
LS – Sophomore Stoney Gooden
DB – Freshman Rhymes Chess
PHOTO CUTLINE: Clarksdale High School seniors Torian Williams, from left, Cameron Mackey, and Kelley Jones all committed to play college football on National Signing Day.