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Five area players to ride with USM

By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
Aug. 12, 2003
HATTIESBURG Southern Miss' football program will be jaunting across the country and just as quickly coming back, as the team attempts to raise its national recognition during the 2003 season.
Five area players will be along for the ride with the Golden Eagles, as the program looks to be a national player in college football and capture its first Conference USA title since 1999.
Bay Springs High School product Corey Hosey, Jim Hicks who graduated from Philadelphia High School, former Wayne County High School standout Travis Cooley, West Lauderdale High School product Jared Parten and former Clarkdale High School and East Mississippi Community College standout Jacob Matlock are all looking to be key contributors for the Golden Eagles this season.
The Golden Eagles will open their season traveling West to Berkeley, Calif., for a night game against California on Aug. 30.
Southern Miss will have to quickly load the plane to come back South to take on the University of Alabama at Birmingham the following Thursday in Birmingham, Ala.
The squad will wrap up its whirl-wind start to the season with home games against Conference USA foe Memphis on Sept. 13 and Big 12 powerhouse Nebraska on Sept. 25.
Hosey has already experienced a lot of traveling just inside the Southern Miss depth chart.
After spending two years caught in a log jam at safety, Hosey was asked to move back to receiver, the position he played when he first joined the Golden Eagles in 1999.
The 6-foot-4, 277-pound Hicks hasn't moved around like Hosey. The senior has been firmly entrenched in the middle of Southern Miss' offensive line for three years.
Hicks said he understands he will need to take a bigger role as a leader on a line that has two juniors, a sophomore and a freshman on top of its depth chart entering the season.
Cooley will be joining Hicks on the offensive line, as the unit's lone freshman.
The former War Eagle earned a starting spot on the line following spring practice, and he said being named a starter has been a big motivational tool in the first week of preseason practice.
Parten, who was voted most valuable defensive player in Region 5-3A in high school, will be looking to be an impact player at nose tackle.
The former Knight joined the Golden Eagles at mid-semester last year and participated in spring drills.
Parten joins a powerful defense led by C-USA preseason defensive player of the year Rod Davis.
Matlock returns for his second season handling the kickoff duties for Southern Miss.
The former Bulldog and Lion took over the kick-off duties for the Golden Eagles against Memphis (Sept. 14) last year and tallied 45 kickoffs, with 29 going 60 yards or more.
Matlock will also be vying for field goal and extra point duties this season with freshman Brad Langley.