MC’s Joseph finds return home fruitful|[2/2/06]

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 2, 2006

Vicksburg native and current Mississippi College coach Norman Joseph knows all about the football traditions in his hometown.

That’s why he was in Vicksburg on Wednesday, checking in with a handful of Choctaw committments at Porters Chapel Academy.

&#8220We’re looking for winning football players because I want to change the direction of our program at Mississippi College,” Joseph said. &#8220These kids at Porters Chapel have had success with 13 victories this past season. They’ve helped make Vicksburg an outstanding football area and we need to tap that because of the proximity to our school.”

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Reaffirming committments to the Clinton-based, NCAA Division III school were lineman Sidney Meacham, athlete Kenny Simms and linebacker Chris Mann. There was no official signing because as an NCAA Division III school, Mississippi College cannot offer athletic-based scholarships.

&#8220We’re not allowed to have signings by the NCAA, so we just go on verbal committments,” Joseph said. &#8220Once a kid decides he wants to play for us, we can put together a scholarship package based on his leadership, academic and financial status.

&#8220What we try to sell is the great environment for learning that we have at Mississippi College.”

Joseph is coming off his first season at MC after coming over from Louisiana College. The Choctaws finished 2-8.

&#8220We were in a situation where we had seven or eight freshmen starting for us in the last half of the season,” Joseph said. &#8220Three or four of those were on defense and in our conference, most of the teams had juniors and seniors. Those older players made plays that our freshmen did not.

&#8220We lost two games on the final play and lost two others in the last minute.”

Joseph wants to continue a youth movement by signing another large class.

&#8220We want to get more freshmen in and we think Vicksburg can be a hotbed for us. Our returning quarterback in Adam Shaffer is an example of what we accomplished last year.

&#8220He did not have a touchdown pass until game 5 but he finished the season with 20. That’s the type of solid progress we made.”