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Parten leads local signees

By By Jeff Byrd, Marty Stamper, Shawn Wansley & Austin Bishop/staff writers
Feb. 7, 2002
It's good to be wanted. The University of Southern Mississippi had West Lauderdale defensive linemen Jared Parten near the top of its list from the start of last football season.
On Wednesday, Parten held to his commitment with coach Jeff Bower's program by signing a National Letter of Intent at the West Lauderdale School library.
Parten was one of several area high school players who signed with four-year schools on National Signing Day on Wednesday.
Among the others who inked were Newton County kicker/punter David McConnell (6-3, 180) with Alcorn State University; Wayne County defensive back Quincy Leggins (6-2, 165) with the University of West Alabama; Wayne County offensive tackle Travis Cooley (6-3, 230) with USM; Wayne County fullback/defensive tackle Willie Evans (6-3, 255) with Mississippi State; Neshoba Central kicker/punter Scott Shurden (5-8, 160) with Mississippi State; and Noxubee County defensive back Vincent Dancy (6-1, 200) with Jackson State University.
Jeremy Ruffin of Meridian High School, who signed with Ole Miss last year, but was not eligible, signed with the Rebels on Wednesday and will be able to play next season.
West Lauderdale head coach Stan McCain said he was glad to see USM grab such a quality young man as Parten.
Parten, a 6-foot-3, 244-pounder, is slated to move into a defensive end spot, but could play anywhere along the front.
Getting bigger and stronger will be a key. Parten says he will need to add nearly 30 pounds before he can play.
Parten plans to become a coach and will major in physical education. He is academically qualified.
At Meridian High School, the Jackson State Tigers picked up a pair of Wildcat linemen. Demetric Dunn and Dominick Walker signed National Letters of Intent early Wednesday morning.
Dunn, a 6-foot-4, 270-pounder is academically qualified and could fit in the Tigers' plan on the offensive line.
Dunn is the son of Theresa Dunn and Benny Gowdy.
Walker, a 6-2, 250-pounder, said he is looking forward to going to Jackson State.