By Tony Tsoukalas / Sports Writer
The Meridian Star
East Central Community College head coach Ken Karcher will be the first one to
tell you, the Warriors have some ground to make up in the MACJC. Karcher, who was hired by ECCC on Jan. 25, knew it would be tough to put together a signing class by Wednesday’s National Signing Day.
However, Wednesday Karcher and the ECCC coaching staff appeared to take a
step in the right direction, signing 16 players to the to the Warriors 2013 class.
“The credit goes really to the three men, Blake Frazier, Kyle Watson and Webb
Hamilton,” Karcher said. “They did a great job of keeping things together with not
having a head coach for so long. We tried to get as many good kids as we could. Time
will tell, but they did a very nice job of keeping this thing together.”
While he has not had the full amount of time to scout each of ECCC’s 16 signees,
Karcher said he was pleasantly surprised with the class the Warriors have put together.
Of the 16 members signees, four area athletes make up the 2013 class. Defensive
lineman Demetre McCleon (Newton County), offensive lineman Jon Parker (Union), defensive back Anthony Triplett (Philadelphia) and defensive lineman Anthony McGee (Quitman) will all be playing for the Warriors next season.
Perhaps the biggest get of the day for the Warriors was Triplett, who had
11 interceptions and two fumble recoveries for Philadelphia last season. Often
overshadowed by Clarion Ledger Dandy Dozen teammate Montreal Jordan, Triplett
was the driving force of the Tornadoes defense the past two seasons, leading the team in interceptions in both his junior and senior season.
“Based on what coaches have told me and the little bit of film I have seen on him,
he is a very exciting player,” Karcher said. “He is a player that can come in and help us
right away and have a nice future. We are expecting big things from him.”
While the signing of Triplett was a pleasant surprise to some Warrior fans,
Karcher said he expects ECCC to go toe-to-toe with some of the bigger programs in the
MACJC and contend each year for the state’s best athletes each year.
“We are well aware that we have our work cut out for us,” Karcher said. “But the
staff we have assembled here is a staff that has been around the block a little bit, and we do a good job of evaluating and selling what we believe in, which is building a whole person.”
One area of need the Warriors have not address yet is at the quarterback position.
With the departure of Colton Kane, ECCC is left without a quarterback on its roster.
Karcher said he and his staff are still hard at work trying to put together the rest of ECCC’s class and hinted he expects fans to be pleased with who the Warriors find at
“We are still looking for quarterbacks,” Karcher said. “I think we will have that
answered shortly, and I think you will be quite surprised.”
ECCC has struggled to keep up with rival East Mississippi Community College in recent years, much in part to EMCC’s upgraded facilities. Karcher said ECCC has plans to upgrade its facilities in the future. In the meantime, he expects to compete with the state’s top schools and change the culture of the program at ECCC.
“There will be new facilities at East Central,” Karcher said. “That is one of the
things Dr. (Billy) Stewart and I have talked about. You are going to see things change
here. But I hope that East Central is not only known for having good facilities down the road. I think there are going to be special things that happen here that the eye may not always see, but the heart of human beings will be changed.”
East Central CC signing list
Player High School Hometown
Andy Morris (OL, 6’2, 250) Amite School Liberty
Virzil Tillman (RB, 6’0, 190) Laurel Laurel
Demetre McCleon (DL, 5’10, 250) Newton County Decatur
Chris Washington (WR, 6’5, 205) Lake Lake
Todd Dupre’ (OL, 6’3, 280) Simpson Academy Mendenhall
Jon Parker (OL, 6’, 300) Union Union
Anthony Triplett (CB, 5’9, 170) Philadelphia Philadelphia
Jimmy Saulsberry (WR, 6’1, 180) Starkville Starkville
Edward Delee (OL, 6’5”, 290) Centreville Aca. Clinton, La.
Thomas McCool (LB, 6’, 200) Neshoba Central Philadelphia
Xavier Woodard (DL, 6’, 335) Jim Hill Jackson
Isaiah Williams (LB, 6’4”, 215) Jim Hill Jackson
Sheppard Jones (DB, 6’, 180) Lanier Jackson
Anthony McGee (DE, 6’2, 235) Quitman Quitman
Brody Martin (OL, 6’2”, 230) Marshall Academy Red Banks
Xavier Telfort (DL, 6’, 280) Northwest Rankin Brandon