Haughton’s Josh Cooper ambled through door at the school’s field house on Wednesday afternoon ducking to keep from knocking his head on the top of the door frame.
Clad in Nickelodeon green shorts and a white dress shirt, the 6-foot-7, 355-pound Cooper is an imposing figure and that’s why Mississippi State wanted the services of the blind side blocker with a penchant for pancaking opponents.
He was part of a four-member Haughton signing class that included Josh Lister heading to Navarro College, along with Darren Hicks and T’Marquiese Winnfield to Southwestern College.
“We believe this is the largest signing class in the history of our school,” said Haughton football coach and athletic director Jason Brotherton. “I’ve been watching Cooper since he was about 8 years old seeing him get bigger and bigger. We have the fastest guy in the area (Lister), the biggest guy (Cooper), the hardest worker (Winnfield) and the guy with the biggest heart (Hicks).”
It was a big signing day for the area with at least 40 northwest Louisiana student-athletes getting chances to play at the next level. Only three, Cooper, Minden’s Zi’kerrion Baker (Ole Miss) and Plain Dealing’s Keldrick Carper, an early signee with Texas A&M, are headed to Power Five schools.
Green Oaks had one of the largest signing classes in the area with eight of coach Curtis Evan’s players moving on. Included are Marcel Smith and Chris McNeal (Fond Du Lac Community College), Ahmad Mason (DeAnza College), Felton Caldwell and Antonio Little (Langston University), Joshua Holden (McMurry University), Ze’Lanz French (Southwestern University) and Tre’Veon Williams (Hutchinson Community College).
Woodlawn had four signees with Times All-City quarterback Josh Mosley signing with Garden City Community College, Corey Bell picking UAPB and the Burnham brothers, Montrell and Vontrell, going to Wayland Baptist.
Despite a down year for Byrd football, the Jackets had Zach Ward (Army), Mark Johnson (Arkansas Tech) and Shimorye Hampton (Ouachita Baptist) all sign. Byrd had two soccer signees in Maddy Talbot (SFA) and Angel Abrego (Lees-McRae College).
North Webster’s Rico Gonzalez opted for Ouachita Baptist, the same location for Evangel quarterback Connor Curry. The Eagles also had Ethan Harvey sign with West Point Military Academy.
North DeSoto bone-crunching running back Delmonte Hall inked with Southeastern Louisiana in a morning ceremony that also included Deon Thomas opting for Louisiana College.
Airline ended up with four athletes moving to the next level with D’Kameron White choosing Northestern State, which also picked up Parkway’s Nick So’oto and Johnathan Jones. The Vikings saw Bryson Vance sign with Ouachita Baptist, while Josh James and Andrew Brewster picked ETBU.
Benton standout receiver John Westmoreland signed with Southern Arkansas, while Logansport defensive lineman Langston Murray chose New Mexico. In addition to Baker, Minden is sending Darien Mitchell and Cam Morgan to Arkansas-Monticello.
Southwood’s Emmanuel Bass will grayshirt at Grambling, while Ellis Brossie signed with Avila College in Kansas City. Bossier had a signee in Keimun Daniels going to William Penn University, while Loyola had Myles Mitchell join the Ouachita Baptist fold and Ryan Raburn ink with Delta State.
Haynesville’s Jarius Knowles signed with Mississippi College, while Mansfield’s Nijul Canada and Terry Brown chose to play football at Louisiana College.