Over the past few seasons Oxford High School has produced quite a few Division I football players.
The Yellow Jackets, who went 12-2 and reached the 6A semifinals this past season, grabbed the nation’s attention when highly-sought after linebacker Kwon Alexander (LSU) and Trae Elston (Ole Miss) signed live on ESPN.
The way things are going, it seems they could grab some of the spotlight again on national signing day.
Junior defensive lineman Trent Simpson received an offer from the SEC’s Mississippi State recently.
The 6-foot-5, 240-pounder had a standout season this past fall, with 52 tackles, including nine for loss, and seven sacks as he made his debut on The Star’s Class 4A-6A All-Calhoun County squad.
Should Simpson, the younger brother of Oxford pitcher Tucker Simpson, a University of Florida signee, sign with a BCS school in February, he’d be joining a growing list of Yellow Jackets’ defensive linemen at the next level.
Former Oxford standouts playing big-time college football include John Clark (Troy), Jared Morse (Vanderbilt) and Allan Carson (Tennessee). Alumni Dimitri Orr recently signed to Division II power house North Alabama after successful seasons at a pair of junior colleges.
The Yellow Jackets should once again be a nightmare for opposing offensive lines this fall. They’ll also have defensive lineman Ulrich Jones, one of the state’s top recruits.
• Garner to sign: Piedmont’s Sloan Garner has made his decision.
The 6-foot-7 senior will sign a basketball scholarship with Gadsden State Community College at a ceremony set for 2 p.m. today.
Garner, was selected to play in the North-South all-star game, following his junior season during which he and the Bulldogs advanced to Class 3A state Final 48 tournament. After the graduation of former teammate Jamaal Johnson, now playing football at Jacksonville State, Garner became Piedmont’s leading scorer.
He averaged a double-double at 19.7 points and 10.2 rebounds per game as a senior to lead the Bulldogs to 20-12 record, a Class 3A, Area 9 title and an appearance in the Northeast Regional tournament. He was a first-team selection to the Alabama Sports Writers Association all-state squad in football. He was second-team choice on the hardwood.
He was also selected to The Star’s Fab Five team, comprised of the best players in the paper’s coverage area regardless of classification.
“It was just a commitment thing,” said Garner, who gave the Cardinals a verbal pledge two weeks after basketball season ended.
“A few weeks ago, Shelton State called and offered me, but I figured since I’d been committed to Gadsden so long that’s what I should do.”
Garner said the offer from Shelton State was enticing given its proximity to the University of Alabama and its recent success, having gone 26-4 record this past season.
“It was really (Gadsden State) coach (Todd) Ginn,” Garner said. “I believe in him. We’re about to get this program on the right track and start winning ball games. He gets guys to play after Gadsden State. I believe in what he’s done and what he’s going to do.”
• Blasts from the past: Former Saks softball standout Cara Law, Now at Lindsey Williams College in Kentucky, was recently named Mid-South Conference Pitcher of the Year. The junior went 19-4 went 12 complete games and seven shutouts. She racked up 114 strikeouts while giving up 30 earned runs on 41 hits. Law was also named to the academic all-conference team.
Oxford alumnus Saxon Butler was named chosen as one of Collegiate Baseball’s Players of the Week. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Samford first baseman went 9-for-21 with three home runs, two doubles, a triple and 11 RBIs last week.
Nick Birdsong covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575. Follow him on Twitter @birds_word.