Lemons finds home with Mississippi College

Published 11:28 am Monday, October 29, 2012

CLINTON — After a season missed because of a detour in Arkansas, former Vicksburg High standout Les Lemons is back on the football field and making a difference.

Lemons is Mississippi College’s second-leading receiver and its top return man. He came to the NCAA Division III school after sitting out last season when it became evident that a playing opportunity at Arkansas-Montcello would not pan out.

Lemons said he was glad he could resume his career so close to Vicksburg, where he starred for three seasons under coach Alonzo Stevens.

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“For me, it was all about getting on the field,” Lemons said. “It wasn’t anything bad with the other school (UAM). But it was my decision to come here. I wanted to be closer to home.”

Lemons has fit right in with the Choctaws. He became a starter as a slot receiver, a position he did well at in two seasons at Hinds Community College. After his stint at Hinds was done, he signed with Arkansas-Monticello, which is a Division II school formerly in the Gulf South Conference. He didn’t stay long and decided to sit out the 2011 season.

Mississippi College coach Norman Joseph is glad Lemons came home and chose to play for his Choctaws.

“He’s been great for us and very versatile,” Joseph said. “He came here in August and right from the start, we saw he was a playmaker. In fact, we’ve been able to run him on some reverses and he even threw a pass for 35 yards. That’s in addition to being one of our best receivers and top kickoff return guy.”

Mississippi College has struggled to a 2-5 record, but Lemons has put up good numbers with 30 receptions for 361 yards and two touchdowns, ranking second on the team. He also has returned 10 kicks for 203 yards, along 25 yards on punt returns and five rushing yards. Lemons’ 506 yards leads the Choctaws in all-purpose yardage.

Joseph said the Choctaws needed Lemons’ versatility because of a rash of injuries.

“We need more like him,” Joseph said. “We’ve had a rash of injuries that have just depleted us.”

Lemons said he’s glad to help out.

“I’ve done pretty good this season,” he said. “I still have a lot of things I can work on.”

Lemons hopes the improvements will be at full throttle for his senior season in 2013. It will be a historic one for MC, likely the school’s last as in Division III.

“Mississippi College has made application to the NCAA to move to Division II status,” Joseph said. “It is a two-year process. We will still be Division III next fall, but we hope by 2014, we’ll back at Division II and back in the Gulf South Conference.”

The GSC is actively helping MC with its application process. The league lost nine Arkansas-based schools in 2010, leaving only six football-playing schools.

“We have easy access for them and we play football,” Joseph said of the GSC’s desire for Mississippi College to rejoin its league.

The move won’t affect Lemons but he is happy the school is moving up in competition.

“I just want to come back and have a good senior year,” he said.