McCall’s Gultrey, Hinds’ Mixon make choices

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 9, 2004

[2/9/04]Robert Gultrey swears his family didn’t steer his son, Brandon, toward accepting a scholarship offer from Grambling.

As Brandon sat in a house full of Grambling alumni clad in T-shirts bearing the school logo, and a pair of stuffed tigers on the dining room table, it was hard to deny there was some influence, though.

Brandon Gultrey, the McCall quarterback who threw for 2,218 yards and 22 touchdowns last season while earning the Vicksburg Post Area Offensive Player of the Year award, has signed to play football for Grambling.

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He follows several family members to the Southwestern Athletic Conference school, some of whom served as ambassadors.

“I know they have an amazing academic program, and family members attended too, so they led me to it and it was right up my alley,” Brandon Gultrey said.

Gultrey’s decision wasn’t all about family. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound left-hander was also looking for an opportunity to play football. Despite being one of the top passers in Louisiana last season, few schools recruited him.

Grambling was one of the handful that did, and landed its third McCall player in two seasons. Offensive lineman Larry Reynolds and running back Justin Williams signed there last year.

“I really didn’t know where I was going to go or who was going to give me a chance,” Gultrey said. “When Doug Williams and Grambling gave me an opportunity, I took the chance and ran with it.”

Whether he’ll get to run with the football is still up in the air. Gultrey said Grambling’s coaches weren’t sure whether he would play quarterback or another position. Gultrey would rather play quarterback, but was willing to do whatever it takes to get on the field.

“I’m very athletic, so it really doesn’t matter,” said Gultrey, who also plays for McCall’s top-ranked basketball team. “I’m used to quarterback, so I would love to play that position because I’ve been playing it so long. Adjusting to another position will take a little time, but not as much as other people would take. It really doesn’t matter to me. I’ll play where I can to get on the field.”

While Gultrey is going to Grambling, Von Mixon is not.

The former Vicksburg High and Hinds Community College wide receiver had hoped to sign with the school, but was unable to land a scholarship. He signed with Division II Arkansas-Monticello instead, and was happy to go to a team with a pass-happy offense.

The Boll Weevils threw for 3,777 yards last season and passed on nearly 60 percent of their offensive plays. They finished with a 4-7 record and in seventh place in the 12-team Gulf South Conference.

“I’m going to get some passes,” Mixon said, adding that he was disappointed not to get an offer from Grambling. That school had wanted him, but had no scholarship money available. “(Grambling) was the school that I wanted to go to. Somebody wanted me, though, and they’re going to get the full Von. They’re not going to get a half Von just because they weren’t my first choice.”

Mixon plans to finish his football career at Arkansas-Monticello, but not his education. He said he’ll spend three semesters at UAM before transferring to Mississippi State to finish up his work toward a geology degree.

On the football field, though, he certainly won’t be just passing time. The 5-foot-7, 170-pounder has had to work extra hard for everything he’s earned on the gridiron, and doesn’t expect anything to come easy now.

“I know they’re not going to give me anything. It’s a blessing for me to get a chance to play somewhere,” said Mixon, who wasn’t recruited out of high school.

“I’m going to let the saga continue. I came from nothing, and I’m still playing football.”