Warren Central sends seven on to the college football ranks

Published 3:13 pm Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Warren Central’s senior class of football players wasn’t very big, literally or figuratively.

What they lacked in size, however, the Vikings more than made up for with determination, skill, and a boatload of college scholarships.

Five of the 12 seniors on Warren Central’s roster — as well as two team managers — signed with colleges on Wednesday, including three with four-year programs.

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Linebackers Julien Demby (South Alabama) and Ben McMullin (Louisiana Christian University), and offensive lineman Beau Davis (Mississippi College) signed with four-year schools. Defensive back Garrett Orgas (Pearl River Community College) and wide receiver Zack Evans (Mississippi Gulf Coast) are going the two-year route.

Managers Dillon Massey and Eric Lingle received scholarships from Copiah-Lincoln and Hinds Community College, respectively.

A sixth football senior, quarterback Ryan Nelson, in November signed to play baseball with East Central Community College.

“That’s awesome because we’ve talked about this ever since we were little freshmen and sophomores. Then Julien coming in our junior year and changing the whole perspective of our class, really putting a stamp on it,” McMullin said. “We may have not been the biggest class but we were certainly one to remember. You wouldn’t want to go through those fights with anybody else.”

Like most of his teammates, McMullin’s offer from Louisiana Christian University ­— formerly known as Louisiana College — came late in the recruiting cycle. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound linebacker had 38 total tackles this season, and credited his high school coaches for their work behind the scenes to help him get the offer.

“It was kind of a late thing. I got put on them by some of our coaches. They did an amazing job trying to get us places and it went from there,” McMullin said. “I visited, loved it, and it took off.”

McMullin also said that continuing on with his football career is a tribute to his father, Chad McMullin, who died last summer.

“I’m very blessed with this opportunity. I can say that I wanted to do this about a year ago, but I’d just be lying. I prayed about this a lot and I feel like this is what my dad would have wanted. This is what God led me to,” Ben McMullin said. “I don’t even think words could describe how happy he would be, honestly.”

Demby was Warren Central’s highest-profile recruit this cycle. The 2023 Vicksburg Post Defensive Player of the Year for Warren County was also an MHSAA Class 6A all-state selection and played in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game.

Demby started 24 games over two seasons for the Vikings, and said getting a chance to play at the Football Bowl Subdivision level was a reward for all of the work that went into it.

“I like to know that I am good enough to play on this level. It really makes me feel good to know that I put in the work in the offseason,” Demby said. “To see all of it come together puts a good feeling in my heart. It really does.”

Davis said he picked Mississippi College for its academics as much as — if not more than — its football program.

The Class 6A all-state center was a two-year starter for Warren Central, but is already eyeing his post-football life and MC was the best opportunity to get where he wants to go.

“Academics were probably the biggest part of where I was going to play. They have what I want to study, which is kinesiology and exercise science,” Davis said. “And of course they’ve got the new coaching staff coming in, with Coach (Mike) Kershaw from Rice. I love what he’s doing. I think we’re going to be really good next year. I’m really excited to be a part of something like that.”

Getting where they eventually want to go is also why Evans and Orgas opted to sign with two-year community colleges.

Orgas, a safety, had 89 total tackles and four interceptions last season, and was selected to play in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game. Signing with Pearl River, he said, will hopefully give him a chance to improve his growing set of skills and quickly advance to a four-year program.

“I decided to bet on myself. I feel like I have potential,” Orgas said. “I feel like I can go to a big-time school after two years of juco. I decided to take the risk and bet on myself.”

Orgas had offers from several junior colleges, but said Pearl River was the best fit for his skillset.

“I love their coaching staff, and I feel like what I’m going to be doing down there really fits me as a player,” he said.

Evans caught 53 passes for 1,020 yards and 11 touchdowns over the past two seasons, while also snagging five interceptions as a defensive back. He’ll bring that playmaking ability to Gulf Coast, which is one of the top junior college teams in the country.

“On top of being a good program, with the talent they’ve got coming in and the quarterback they’ve got going, I know they’re bringing in D-I caliber talent. They come in, get the exposure and get out,” Evans said.

Evans will join a long list of Warren County players who have recently signed with Mississippi Gulf Coast. His former teammates Trey Hall and Jack Wright went there in 2023, and on Wednesday Vicksburg High defensive lineman Demarcus Johnson and wide receiver Tyler Henderson also signed with the Bulldogs.

“We’ve been starting to call it the Gulf Coast Vikings,” Evans joked.

The Warren Central Vikings are doing pretty well, too. Led by these seniors, they won the MHSAA Region 2-6A championship in 2023 — the program’s first title since 2004.

While that chapter of their football careers is over, all of them were grateful to be able to turn the page and write another.

“It’s a blessing. I know what all it took to get to this point and how easily it can be taken away so I’ll never take it for granted,” Evans said. “It’s something I’ve always dreamed of since I started playing at the YMCA in third grade. For the moment to be here, I’m taking it all in.”

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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