Damon Stamps will walk on for Bulldogs
Published 10:02 am Thursday, February 6, 2014
Damon Stamps’ ultimate career success might not come on the football field, but it’s still enough of a passion that he’s not willing to give up the sport just yet.
Stamps, Warren Central’s All-State defensive end, has accepted an offer to be a preferred walk-on at Mississippi State. Stamps won’t have a scholarship at the Southeastern Conference school, but will have a guaranteed roster spot.
“It’s a big opportunity for me. I’m excited about it,” Stamps said.
Stamps was a key part of a stout Warren Central defense last season. He had 101⁄2 sacks, 67 total tackles, and was selected to the Class 6A All-State team.
He has even more impressive numbers in the classroom — a 3.5 GPA and a score of 22 on the ACT. He plans to major in computer engineering at Mississippi State.
Stamps’ plans outside of football made Mississippi State his college choice over several junior college scholarship options, he said.
“My parents and I decided it would be best to go on up there. I still feel like I have a lot I can do, and it wasn’t a hard decision for me,” he said, adding that he still wanted to play football enough to walk the hard road of a walk-on. “It’s going to be tough, but I’m going to handle the challenge. I’m anxious to find out how I do.”
Stamps was one of five Warren Central football players who either signed national letters of intent on Wednesday or accepted walk-on offers.
Offensive lineman Carl Sims signed with Holmes Community College and cornerback Devonatae Wilson signed with East Central Community College. Defensive lineman Andre Voss graduated early from WC and signed with Hinds Community College in December, and is already enrolled in school there.
Running back Aaron Stamps accepted a walk-on offer from Hinds, as did quarterback Carlisle Koestler.
Koestler had previously signed with Hinds’ baseball program and was thus ineligible to double-dip with a football scholarship. He plans to play both sports, however.
Another WC athlete, soccer player Curtis McClain, said he plans to sign with Meridian Community College later this week.
Sims, a 6-foot-1, 250-pound guard, was another big piece of the Vikings’ run to the Class 6A playoffs last season. He’s among the top powerlifters in the state, but also nimble enough to pull on running plays and block downfield.
He wasn’t sure if Holmes will use him as an offensive or defensive lineman — he had 64 total tackles and three sacks last season — and said he didn’t particularly care.
“As long as I get a shot,” he said with a smile.
Sims added that the entirety of Holmes’ program was its selling point.
“I like the academic program. I like what they’re trying to do with the football team and keep us close-knit as a family and a football team,” Sims said. “I like how the program is going and the schemes they’re running. It’s based on a speed-type offense. They want guards to pull a lot. I like playing with that intensity.”
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Wilson was second on the team with four interceptions and added 39 total tackles.
Like Sims, the total package offered by East Central was enough to convince him to sign on the dotted line.
“I think they have a great program. They have a cornerbacks coach that attended Alabama (Eric Gray). I like the facilities, I like the uniform, the school, everything about them,” Wilson said.