Moultrie Observer

Local Sports

February 5, 2014

6 Packers, 1 former Packer sign letters of intent

MOULTRIE — Six members of the 2013 Colquitt County football team and a member of 2011 team signed letters of intent on Wednesday.

At a signing ceremony at the high school media center, Linebacker C.J. Johnson signed with South Alabama; Todd Boyd and Gabe Mobley signed with Georgia State; Jamiyus Pittman honored his commitment to Central Florida; Mike Parrish is heading to Georgia Military College; and Tim Sanders signed with Valdosta State.

Former Packer and Georgia Bulldog Ty Flournoy-Smith, who played last season at Georgia Military, signed his letter of intent in Milledgeville to play the next two seasons at the University of Alabama.

Packers coach Rush Propst said two or three Packers could also sign over the next few days.

“These young men have done what they are supposed to do athletically and academically,” Propst said.

To be academically eligible, players must have scored at least a 17 on ACT and have a 2.5 grade point average in their core subjects.

Propst said the parents of the players who received scholarship money should be especially proud.

“That’s money in your pocket,” he told them. “That’s money you don’t have to borrow from the bank.”

And Propst, who has one child at Troy and another at Valdosta State, can sympathize.

“I know what you parents are going through,” he said.

Johnson transferred from Coffee High and played his senior season for the Packers and was a key component in the team’s outstanding defense.

The defensive coordinator at South Alabama is Travis Pearson, who held the same position at Colquitt County in 2011 and 2012 before leaving to coach the Jaguars linebackers.

“South Alabama is an up-and-coming program,” Propst said. “They were 6-6 last year and will be the team to beat in the Sunbelt Conference next year.”

Johnson had 80 total tackles last season, including two for loss, and one sack. He also had two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown.

Boyd is coming off a season marked by an injury that forced him to miss crucial time.

Still, he managed to catch 35 pass for 493 yards and two touchdowns.

He also had an outstanding junior season in which he caught 47 passes for 853 and six touchdowns.

The Panthers are members of the Sunbelt Conference and play their games in the Georgia Dome.

“That’s a program that is on the upswing,” Propst said. “They are doing a good job of recruiting rural south Alabama and south Georgia.”

Boyd said Georgia State got in touch with him last spring. And even though the injury took away from his production during his senior season, the Panthers program honored its commitment to him.

Boyd said he hoped to play slot receiver at Georgia State.

An All-State selection, Mobley played tackle, guard and center for the Packers and prefers to play inside.

Propst said he thinks the Georgia State staff will use the 6-foot-3, 280-pounder at center.

“He’s an intelligent young man,” Propst said of the youngest of the three football-playing Mobley brothers. “He’s got a 26 on the ACT. He can make all the calls, understand the snap cadence.

“And he’s a tough, hard-nosed kid. I think Georgia State got a steal.”

Pittman committed to Ole Miss early on, but after he suffered a fractured tibia against Carver of Columbus and missed a good bit of the season, the Rebels wanted him to take a gray shirt.

Central Florida made a bid and Propst thinks his preseason all-state defensive tackle made a wise decision to cast his lot with the Knights.

“He’ll be happy there,” Propst said of Pittman. “He’ll play in some big-time environments in some big time games.”

Under head coach George O’Leary, UCF went 12-1 last year, losing only to South Carolina in a game it had a chance to win.

Propst said Pittman also had offers from Missouri, Nebraska, Mississippi State, Miami and Georgia Tech.

“Central Florida stayed with him even when he was hurt,” Packers defensive tackle coach Greg Tillery said. “And now they’re getting a class act kid.”

Tillery credited the Vereen Rehabilitation Center in getting Pittman ready to return as soon as possible from his injury.

Parrish, who held down the other defensive tackle position next to Pittman  the last two seasons, grabbed an 11th-hour offer from Georgia Military. He also had been offered by Northeast Oklahoma State.

He was credited with 157 tackles, including 13 for loss. He also had three sacks.

Propst said that Parrish wants to play at the Division I level and he believes that with two seasons at GMC, he will be able to do just that.

“If he does what he is supposed to do for Georgia Military, by 2015, he should be ready,” Propst said.

Parrish was a second-team All-Region selection, but Propst said was an injustice.

“He had a solid year,” he said of the 300-pounder. “He should have been first-team All-Region.”

He would get no disagreement from Tillery.

“Really, he had as good a season as any player I’ve coached,” Tillery said. “Both of those guys (Pittman and Parrish) are great kids. I’ve never had to worry about them.

“It’s been a pleasure coaching them.”

Sanders also got a late offer, this one from Valdosta State, and he accepted to become the latest in a long line of Packers who have gone on to play at one of the top Division II programs in the country.

His season got off to a disappointing start when he was hurt on the opening kickoff of the scrimmage against Norcross.

When he finally got back in the lineup, he suffered a high ankle sprain.

But he played well in the playoffs and it was video of his performance in the Packers second-round victory over North Cobb that especially impressed the Blazers staff.

Sanders played in both the offensive and defensive backfields.

On defense, he had 45 tackles and an interception.

On offense, often running out of the Packers “Wild Hawg” formation, he carried 36 times for 254 yards, a 7.1 average, and had a 51-yard touchdown run against North Cobb. He also caught 16 passes and finished his senior season with five touchdowns.

“We list (Sanders) as an athlete, but he's going to be a defensive back for us,”Valdosta State head coach David Dean said. “He's going to play corner for sure.”

Propst was especially pleased that Flournoy-Smith apparently has put the problems he had at Georgia behind him and impressed Alabama head coach Nick Saban enough to be offered a scholarship.

The former Packer tight end played at Georgia Military College last year after being expelled from Georgia after a pair of infractions.

He did well at Georgia Military, producing on the football field despite breaking his foot early in the season.

“When he visited at Alabama he was all business,” Propst said. “He convinced the coaches there that he’s changed. And they will make sure he’s doing what he is supposed to be doing.”

Propst said Flournoy-Smith made a video in which he promised that he “would not let his community down again.”

Propst said Flournoy-Smith had offers from Ole Miss, West Virginia and Louisville and took a visit to Alabama despite not having an offer.

On Monday, Saban offered him a scholarship and he quickly accepted. He will have two years of eligibility.


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