On Wednesday during the NCAA’s National Signing Day, the hard work showed as 28 high school and junior/community college standouts signed with the school for the 2013 season.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Cooley said. “There hasn’t been a lot of sleep, but it’s been a lot of fun. The staff has done a great job. We thought we did a really good job. I want to commend Coach (Lanier) Goethie. He did an unbelievable job as our recruiting coordinator with the organization of all of our visits. Everybody in Cleveland has been real helpful. Luckily, we were able to get some quality young men to join the family at Delta State.”
Two of the players – Jared Hunt and Trace Bray – are Cleveland High School standouts. Bray played fullback and linebacker at Cleveland High, while Hunt played linebacker. The two were instrumental in Cleveland posting an 18-8 record over the past two years with two trips to the 4A State Playoffs.
“Those two young men came over, and I met their families,” Cooley said. “Fine young men. They represent Cleveland the right way. We’re always going to recruit at home first, and we’re excited to have those two on our team.”
Cooley said he is optimistic about the potential of the overall recruits coming to DSU.
“I just tried to go out and fine the best players we could in a week,” Cooley said. “Obviously, some of them were guys were recruiting before I got here, and I wanted to keep that going. A couple of guys had already committed, and we wanted to hold those commitments. I thought we did a real good job.”
Out of the 28 players on the list, 16 of them are from Mississippi. DSU had 15 junior college transfers and all of those were from Mississippi JUCOs.
“They have ties to Delta State even though they didn’t come out of high school,” Cooley said about the transfers. “We’re still going to always see us recruit the Mississippi Junior Colleges. It’s an unbelievable league.”
The rest of the recruiting class consists of: R.J. Hulse (Foley, Ala., OL, Foley High School,), Kenterrius Gray (Pinson, Ala., RB, Clay-Chalkville High School,), David Evans (Hueytown, Ala., CB, Hueytown High School), Darius Holder (Lumberton, Miss., WR, Pearl River CC), Brandon Avant (Maben, Miss, OL, Northeast Mississippi CC,), Jadarius Hicks (Jackson, Miss, LB, Hind CC), Anton Thornton (Gauiter, Miss, RB, Mississippi Gulf Coast CC), Michael Gibbs (Brandon, Miss, OL, Hinds CC), Cortez Hibbler (Sardis, Miss, OL, Northeast Mississippi CC), Tyler Garner (Birmingham, Ala., OL, Minor High School), Earl Andrews (Farmerville, La., WR/DB, Farmerville High School), Cody Conkle (Petal, Miss, OL, Petal High School), Jeff Linzy (Pensacola, Fla., Escambia High School), T.J. Myers (Pensacola, Fla., WR/CB, Escambia High School), Vance Grayson (Gonazles, La., CB, East Ascension High School), Ryan Self (Clarksdale, Miss, LB, Coahoma CC), James Johnson (Brandon, Miss, FB, Mississippi State University), Dennis Robertson (Gulport, Miss, QB, Holmes CC), Brian Walker (Cairo, Ga., DB, Northeast Mississippi CC), Bre’Nard Williams (Omega, Ga., LB, Clark Atlanta University), Landry Tullo (Hoover, Ala., LB, Hoover High School), Jordan Martin (Florence, Miss., OL, Southwest Mississippi CC), Dekoven Ware (Albany, Ga., LB, Coahoma CC), Ricky Hunt (Sardis, Miss, WR, East Central CC), Deon Fairly (Taylorsville, Miss., DB, Jones JC) and Martez Nixon (Taylorsville, Miss, WR, Jones JC).