Former Warren Central star Malik Sims signs with Alcorn State

Published 7:07 pm Wednesday, December 20, 2023

This time last year, Malik Sims was out of football and trying to figure out what his next move would be. He got an opportunity with Mississippi Delta Community College and parlayed that into something even better.

Sims, a former Warren Central star, signed with Alcorn State on Wednesday. After sitting out the entire 2022 season, he said he was glad to have another chance to continue his career at the Division I level.

“I’m blessed that they gave me another opportunity to go play ball for me and my son,” said Sims, who plays linebacker. “Now I’m fixing to show them why they gave me an opportunity to play for them.”

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Sims was the 2019 Vicksburg Post Defensive Player of the Year for Warren County. During his senior season at Warren Central — his third as a starter — he racked up 82 tackles.

He originally signed with Hinds Community College and had 26 total tackles and a sack in 2021. Offers from Miles College and Mississippi Valley State fell through, however, and he wound up sitting out the 2022 season.

“In 2022 I didn’t play football and I was hurt that I didn’t, because I’ve been playing this game since I was 12 years old. Not playing football is like taking money away from me,” Sims said with a laugh. “But I kept working and working until the next year to get where I’m at now. I wasn’t going to give up. I was hurt, I was sad, but I was still working my tail off until I get to where I wanted to go.”

Sims’ second chance came at Mississippi Delta. Head coach Tavares Johnson, who coached at Vicksburg High from 2012-13, was familiar with Sims and recruited him to go there. Sims still had one year of junior college eligibility remaining so he jumped on it.

In addition to his parents, Michael and Annie Sims, and other family members who provided support, Sims thanked his coaches at Mississippi Delta for giving him a football lifeline.

“I was supposed to go to Valley and it didn’t work out. I had another year of eligibility left and Mississippi Delta said come on down,” Sims said. “Since I’ve been at Mississippi Delta, my head coach (Tavares) Johnson and my linebackers coach Willie Collins both treated me like I was their son and I really appreciate them for that. They got me to the next level, too. I want to thank them for that.”

Sims rewarded their trust with an outstanding season in 2023. He had 40 tackles, one forced fumble and one interception to earn honorable mention all-conference honors from the Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference.

A quad injury cut his season short after only six games, but he did enough to earn another second chance at Alcorn State.
Cedric Thomas, who was promoted from defensive coordinator to head coach on Tuesday, had been recruiting Sims and sealed the deal on signing day.

Sims will have two years of college eligibility left — he redshirted in 2020 and every player from that season was granted

an extra year because of the COVID-19 pandemic — and is determined to make the most of them.
“They liked my film and coach Cedric Thomas was the coach at Mississippi Delta before I got there. I was still looking for a home and Coach Thomas called and told me he liked my film and wanted to give me an opportunity to come play for him. I said, ‘Thank you,’” Sims said. “They gave me another opportunity and I’m glad they did.”

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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