Juco spotlight: Itawamba C.C.


Jon Williams has proven throughout his career that he knows talent.

Just ask those that follow Mississippi State's football program. Fans there have seen defensive back Darius Slay take on a starring role in Starkville, Miss., after a stopover at Itawamba Community College in Fulton, Miss.

Williams also found offensive lineman Lamar Holmes when four-year schools ignored him. Holmes was selected in the third round of April's NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons.

Williams isn't surprised. He saw those players up close. Williams sees the same sort of potential in sophomore receiver Ronald "Ronnie" Carswell, who transferred to Itawamba from Alabama.

"Ronnie was a guy that redshirted at Alabama, so he's only spent one year of eligibility," Williams said. "He's a three-for-three (years of eligibility) guy.

"Probably what Ronnie will do is evaluate it at the end of the season and see if the offers that he has are offers that he wants to pursue. If that's the case, then he'll go and we encourage him to go. But he could stay and be a two-for-two guy for someone."

Schools are already showing strong interest in Carswell. Texas Tech visited recently. Nearby Ole Miss has expressed strong interest. So has Baylor, Texas A&M and Kentucky. Credit Carswell and Williams for getting the sophomore ready for a four-year college, on and off the field.

"He can go because his academics are inline to where he's going to graduate in December," Williams said.

Carswell, who is originally from Macon, Ga., has expressed interest in returning to the SEC to play football. Nearby Ole Miss could provide the opportunity Caldwell is looking for.

"I'm a fan of the SEC, so that's a pretty big opportunity," he said of the Rebels' interest.

Still, other schools will have a shot despite whatever the Rebels decide to do. Carwell has said he'd prefer to play in more of a big-city environment than Oxford, Miss. can offer.

One of Itawamba's best prospects doesn't have to worry about making another college decision. Deryck Gildon left Texas Christian last year due to academic shortcomings. The linebacker's grades have improved to the point where he will be able to re-enroll at TCU in January.

"The only one right now that is solid on where he is going to go is the linebacker from TCU," Williams said. "The others are undecided on what they're going to do."

Here are the other Itawamba players that already have or are expected to receive college interest:

• WR Jarvis Bentley - Bentley was a late qualifier with several scholarship offers. However, Massachusetts was the one school that held a scholarship for him. After enrolling at UMASS, the 6-4, 185-pound prospect decided to enroll at Itawamba to improve his stock. He is expected to be a BCS-level prospect.

• OL Tabarrius Coffey - Coffey has the size at 6-4 and 330 pounds. Development will be key to see where he ends up.

• OL Brandon Jones - This 6-foot-3, 285-pound lineman is expected to land at a mid-major college program.

• WR Sanford Seay - Seay could easily end up at a BCS-level school if he proves off-field-issues at Georgia are a thing of the past. He is expected to stay at Itawamba until December 2013.

• S Xavier Walker - Williams said he expects the 6-4, 210-pound safety from Duluth, Ga., to receive BCS-level interest.

• DE Cameron Wiggins - Williams said he expects this 6-2, 230-pound prospect to land at a mid-major school.