Local players set to help Bulldogs
By By Marty Stamper / EMG sports assistant
Aug. 6, 2003
STARKVILLE Five members of the 2003 Mississippi State football team played at area high schools. All five are young Bulldogs, with sophomore Willie Evans being the oldest of the quintet.
The remaining four are incoming freshmen.
Evans, a 6-foot-2, 263-pound defensive lineman from Wayne County High School, made his mark as a freshman last fall.
As a true freshman in 2002, Evans played in all 12 games, starting on the defensive front four times. He had 38 total tackles, including five for losses. He was also credited with causing one fumble.
Evans actually began his MSU career at fullback where he had one carry for two yards in a 51-13 rout of Jacksonville State in the season's second week.
Evans was moved from fullback to nose guard during game-week preparations for State's fourth game of the season, a 31-13 loss at LSU.
His best all-around game was against Alabama as Evans had six tackles, one of which was a quarterback sack. He was also credited with causing a fumble against the Crimson Tide.
Evans followed that with an eight-tackle outing against Tennessee the following week.
At Wayne County, Evans was a first-team all-state selection by The Clarion-Ledger. He helped lead the War Eagles to a 9-3 record as a senior by making 88 tackles, nine sacks, and recovering three fumbles. He also had 41 carries for 275 yards and two touchdowns and caught two passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns.
Evans was a member of the National Honor Society at Wayne County.
Incoming freshmen from area schools include offensive lineman Brian Anderson (6-5, 295) from Patrician Academy in Butler, Ala.; quarterback Omarr Conner (6-0, 205) and wide receiver Joey Sanders (6-2, 190) from Noxubee County High School, and quarterback Tyler Threadgill (5-11, 175) from Philadelphia High School.
Freshman signee Akeem Lofton from Wayne County didn't meet NCAA standards and will be playing for Jones County Junior College the next two seasons. Lofton led the War Eagles to the 2002 Class 5A state championship.