Delta State University head football coach Todd Cooley was very emotional and fired up during Wednesday’s signing day press conference at the Hugh M. and Rebekah Arant Family Meeting Room in the Chadwick-Dickson Fieldhouse,
Cooley was pleased with the new incoming players, as 12 players inked their names on the dotted line to play football at Delta State University Wednesday. Those 12 joined 12 mid-year transfers to bring DSU’s recruiting class to 24. Four others players had committed to DSU but changed their minds before signing day.
Cooley, who has been DSU’s head coach since 2013, proudly pointed to the signee sheet and expressed his joy about the players coming to DSU.
“The reason I want these guys, they can play football, they got grades and they’ve got all of that, is they stuck to their commitment,” Cooley said.
“These guys have accepted the challenge of becoming better men here at Delta State University. That’s why I love them and that’s why I love this class.”
Cooley was disheartened about the four players that decided not to come to DSU.
“We had four guys in the last week and a half that decommitted from us,” Cooley said. “I don’t even know if that’s a real word — Me and Dana George talk about this everyday. I don’t even think that’s a real word. They decommitted from us. They were committed and then they decommitted. That’s our problem nowadays.
“We have parents, allowing kids to decommit. We have coaches allowing kids to decommit. I wasn’t raised that way. That’s not what we’re going to do in this football program. I want to thank them publicly for decommitting, because it was not going to work for us. I can promise you that. We talk about the first thing in our program is we want to be men first. Our definition of being a man at Delta State University is real simple — Do what you say you’re going to do when you’re going to do it. If you commit, commit. That’s the problem with what’s going on with recruiting and that’s why it’s getting hard.”
Cooley was proud of the hard work done by the coaching staff and everyone associated at the school for their help during recruiting season.
“I want to thank all of our coaches and appreciate all the hard work they did,” Cooley said. “They logged in a lot of hours, a lot of film study and a lot of time on the road. I want to thank their wives and their significant others for letting them be gone for a while. I want to thank our administration for giving us the means to try and go out and recruit the right way.”
Cooley said the players coming to DSU will be able to address some needs and compete for spots on the team.
“I think our coaching staff did a really good job of identifying good football players that we think can play at Delta State,” Cooley said. “If you look at our defensive line position and what’s coming back we’ve got a lot of defensive linemen. But, we feel like these defensive linemen can play so we’re going to add competition to our room so lets get them.
“At some point it came down to who is the best football player on the board. Who is the best football player we can get and that’s how it went. Anybody you’re seeing on this column over here that said mid-year transfers, they get to go through spring practice. They’re already going to understand our culture before the fall gets here.
“These freshmen over here… we still know that they can do it, because they have the ability to do it as we identify it. I’m excited about them. I think they’re going to all compete.”
Cooley added his staff isn’t through recruiting.
“We’re still looking, but I’m looking for guys that want to be at Delta State,” Cooley.
Signing Day Signees
Henry Austad — Quarterback, 6-1, 180, Clemont, Fla., Foundation Academy
Jordan Johnson — Offensive Lineman, 6-2, 295, Madison, Ala., James Clemens High School
Parker Burleson — Kicker/Punter, 5-11, 180, Mathiston, Miss., East Webster High School
Kaydon Berard — Defensive End, 6-1, 215, Denham Springs, La., Denham Springs High School
Kameron Bates — Nose Guard, 5-11, 280, Snellville, Ga., South Gwinnett High School
Derrick Billings — Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, 6-3, 230, South Gwinnett High School, Snellville, Ga.
Ervin Mincey — Defensive End, 6-1, 235, Lyons, Ga., Holmes CC, Toombs County High School
Tremell Withrow — Wide Receiver, 5-11, 175, Gretna, La., West Jefferson High School
Jaylen Green — Wide Receiver, 6-0, 175, Norcross, Ga., Norcross High School
Gabe Schweitzer — Offensive Line, 6-3, 280, Calera, Ala., Calera High School
Darrell McDowell — Athlete, 5-9, 180, Snellville, Ga., Shiloh High School
Fernando Diaz — Offensive Line, 6-2, 290, Enterprise, Ala., Enterprise High School
Jonathan Boyd — Safety, 6-2, 220, Atlanta, Ga. Parkview High School, Clemson University
Diondre Champaigne — Wide Receiver, 6-4, 190, North Charleston, S.C. Fort Dorchester High School, Georgia State
Gerkithis McCray — Wide Receiver, 6-1, 205, McComb, Miss., McComb High School, Southwest Miss. CC
Da’Bryan Magee — Wide Receiver, 5-9, 170, Tylertown, Miss., Tylertown High School, Southwest Miss. CC
Ladarion “Dee” Newsome — Outside Linebacker, 5-10, 193, Mendenhall, Miss., Mendenhall High School, Southwest Miss. CC
Tamos Stevenson — Linebackers, 5-11, 220, Goodman, Miss., Holmes County Central High School, Southwest, Miss. CC
Carson Flumm — Kicker, 5-10, 170, Crystal Springs, Miss., Copiah Academy High School, Hinds CC
John Tate — Long Snapper, 5-10, 190, Kosciusko, Miss., Kosciusko High School, Hinds CC
Jaylan Wilson — Wide Receiver, 6-0, 190, Bay St. Louis, Miss., Bay High School, Pearl River CC
Sirvares Snow — Defensive Back, 5-9, 175, Newton, Miss., Newton High School, Pearl River CC
Smithhart Jake — Quarterback, 5-10, 175, Pearl Miss., Pearl High School, Hinds CC
Deion Allen – Safety, 5-11, 180, Ridgeland, Miss., Ridgeland High School, Southwest Miss. CC