DE/LB Peter Gray (University of Texas at San Antonio) and LB Jett Johnson (Mississippi State University) made their early decisions back in December but Tupelo High School football brought their overall signing class total to seven with five more student-athletes on National Signing Day 2018 this morning.
- WR Sirmarcus Evans – Northeast Mississippi Community College
- DL Kerry McKenzie – Itawamba Community College
- OLB Jake Morris – Holmes Community College
- OL DJ Rudd – Itawamba Community College
- Kicker/Pitcher Josh Smith – East Mississippi Community College (football/baseball)
Evans (5′ 10′, 160 lbs) rushed 26 times for 247 yards… had 25 receptions for 529 yards and four TDs. He was also instrumental as Tupelo’s top punt returner for two seasons and chosen MAC 6A All-State 2nd Team punt returner.
On defense, McKenzie (6’3″, 200 lbs) concluded 2018 with 2.5 tackles per game and five sacks. He helped Tupelo finish with the 2nd best defense in 6A (11.58 PAPG).
Morris (5’10”, 180 lbs) was one of the most dynamic players in Tupelo’s secondary. Last season, Morris finished 62 tackles (47 solo), four sacks, and one interception. He was also selected to the Div. 1-6A LB 1st Team.
Rudd (5’11”, 240 lbs) played a pivotal role in helping anchor the Wave’s offensive line. He and his fellow linemen helped THS gain a total of 540 yards (416 rushing, 124 passing) in a win at Brandon High School last September. Tupelo put up more points on offense (35.33 PPG) than any other 6A team in 2017. Rudd played in the 2017 North/South All-Star game and was also selected to the Div. 1-6A OL 1st Team.
Smith (5’11”, 150 lbs) finished his senior campaign with 73 kickoffs (43 touchbacks), 46 of 47 PATs, 9 of 11 FGs, and averaged 40.7 yards on each punt (inside the 20-yard line 15 times). Smith was also the North Offensive MVP in this year’s North/South All-Star game, MAC 6A All-State 1st Team punter, and Div. 1-6A Kicker of the Year. In addition to football at EMCC, Josh will also play baseball for the Lions.
With today’s signings, Tupelo head coach Trent Hammond has had 32 football players sign to play on the next level since arriving at Tupelo in 2013.
Peter Gray and Jett Johnson both played on Tupelo’s defensive side of the ball for two years, and both traveled to this year’s Mississippi-Alabama All-Star game in Hattiesburg last weekend. It was only right they both make college football decisions at the same time.
On the evening of the 2018 Early Signing Period day, OLB Peter Gray (The University of Texas at San Antonio) and LB Jett Johnson (Mississippi State University) made it official with their respective colleges.
Gray, a 6’4, 234 lb. outside linebacker, transferred to Tupelo High School from Texas during the summer of 2016. In 2017, he had 56 tackles (39 solo, 17 assisted), four interceptions, and three pick-6s. He capped off his season senior with back-to-back Division 1-6A titles, back-to-back 6A All-State selections, and a prestigious trip to MS-AL All-Star game. He’s also listed as a 2-star athlete and ranked 41st in Mississippi by 247Sports.com. Gray also helped Golden Wave baseball to their first state championship in 24 years last May.
Johnson, a 6’3, 230 lb. linebacker and touted as one of the best LBs in Mississippi, is a 3-star and ranked 18th in the state. In 2017, Jett finished with 146 tackles (90 solo, 56 assisted), three interceptions, and one pick-6. He was selected as the Daily Journal’s Defensive P.o.t.Y. in 2016, a 2-time 6A All-State athlete, the 2017 Co-P.o.t.Y in 6A, Mr. Football in 6A for 2017, a MS-AL All-Star selection, and the first Clarion-Ledger Dandy Dozen football candidate at THS since 2008. Johnson has also helped THS basketball reach back-to-back trips to the state tournament in Jackson.
With today’s signings, head coach Trent Hammond has had 27 football players sign to play on the next level since arriving at Tupelo in 2013.
One of the strongest and most successful programs at Tupelo High School sent three student-athletes to the next level Monday afternoon.
Zak Keith (Itawamba CC), Sebastian Rios (University of Mississippi), and Aryelle Waters (Hinds CC) officially inked with colleges.
As a team, Tupelo won their division last season but lost to Madison Central in 6A North Half last season.
Rios, who will graduate THS this month and enroll at Ole Miss next fall, won 6A boys singles as a junior last April.
South Sanders knew exactly what he wanted when Air Force approached him in the summer of 2016. Today, he made his college dreams come true as the Golden Wave’s first baseball player to ever ink with Falcon baseball.
3B/P South Sanders signed with Air Force Academy Wednesday morning at Tupelo High School. During division play last year, Sanders batted .360. He also helped guide the Golden Wave (26-10) to their first 6A state championship in 24 years.
The Falcons compete in the Mountain West Conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Last season, AF baseball team went 27-26.
It’s hard to think of Itawamba Community College men’s soccer and not think of Tupelo High School. Coach Harris Faucette has produced over a dozen signees in three years. Today was no different.
Harrison Daniels, Preston Mattox, Clayton O’Daniel, and Josh White all inked with Mike Sullivan’s team in Fulton.
Daniels, a defensive midfielder, finished last season with two goals and four assists. O’Daniel was an All-Area 1st Teamer last year with 16 goals and four assists as a center forward. Maddox was a goalkeeper in 22 contests in 2016-2017. White, a left back, started 17 games as a junior defender.
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Last week was a huge week for Tupelo golfer Michaela Bryan. Not many people win their school’s first Mississippi High School Sports Association girls’ golf state championship and make a college decision a few days later. When it was all said and done, Wallace State Community College was the perfect fit for the senior.
On Friday, Michaela Bryan made it official with Wallace State CC women’s golf.
During her high school campaign, Bryan racked up a plethora of accomplishments. As a freshman, she placed 3rd individually overall; as a sophomore and junior, her team placed 3rd in Class III; and as a senior, she was 2nd Team All-State, 2nd individual in Regionals, 3rd individual in Class III, and helped her program capture their first Class III state title.
Wallace State is located in Hanceville, Alabama, and participates in Division I of the Alabama Community College Conference and the National Junior College Athletic Association.
Tupelo High School continued its long-standing collegiate athletic tradition on Wednesday. Lady Wave soccer’s Lexi Pund and Golden Wave boys’ bowling’s Josh Turberville became the 14th and 15th senior student-athletes to continue their sports career on the college level.
Lexi Pund signed with the University of West Alabama women’s soccer program. The 5’6 center-forward/center-defender finished her senior year with a team-leading 22 goals. She was also chosen Defensive MVP, Offensive MVP, and Daily Journal All-Area Girls 1st Team in 2017 and 2nd Team in 2016. The West Alabama Lady Tigers, located in Livingston, finished last season 11-7-1 overall and 8-3-1 in the Division II Gulf South Conference.
Josh Turberville chose to bowl with the Martin Methodist men’s team. Turberville, a 3-time Mississippi High School Athletic Association Class II champion, is a 5-year letterman for THS and was named to the Clarion-Ledger All-State team three-straight seasons. In 2015, Turberville recorded the only perfect 300 score in MHSAA (boy or girl) history in the Class II Regionals at Depot Lanes in Philadeplia, Mississippi. The Division I Martin Methodist RedHawks compete in the Southern States Athletic Conference in Pulaski, Tennessee.
Tate Clayton and Jaylon Copeland made it official with their college of choice Friday morning. Clayton will be a preferred walk-on under Ben Howland at Mississippi State University in Starkville while Copeland will follow teammate Kylan Hamilton to Meridian Community College.
During his senior season, Clayton notched 7.2 PPG, 3.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and shot 43% from the three point line. Copeland saw action in every game as a junior and senior, and averaged almost ten PPG and five rebounds as a senior. He also made the Daily Journal All-Area 3rd Team in 2017.
As starters, both helped head coach Jeff Norwood and the Golden Wave basketball reach back-to-back trips to Jackson for the first time since the late 1990s.
Stephen Matthews and Ray Sandroni have been playing baseball since they could pick up a bat and ball. For the first time in 13 years this fall, they will be playing on different teams.
On Thursday, both signed with baseball programs on the college level. Matthews inked with Jones County Junior College while Sandroni decided to be a preferred walk-on at Itawamba Community College.
Matthews, a 5’9 175 lb shortstop, is currently batting .296 for the Tupelo Golden Wave. He has 14 RBIs, 16 hits, and one homerun in 19 games this season. Sandroni, a 5’8 180 lb catcher, is hitting .324 with 15 RBIs, 23 hits, and one homer. Both starters have helped Tupelo to a fifth-straight Division 2-6A title and the 24th crown in 27 years.
Both JCJC (Southern Division) and ICC (Northern Division) compete in the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior College conference.