Video: D’Iberville’s Jacquelle Green and Jacques Turner sign National Letters of Intent
Every big decision has to go through mama.
Both Jacquelle Green and Jacques Turner said they ultimately made up their decisions Tuesday night after talking to their mothers.
Due to coaching changes at Louisville and Southern Miss, both athletes began considering other options as Wednesday -- National Signing Day -- neared.
In the end, it was their mothers who convinced them to sign with Texas-San Antonio and Southern Miss respectively.
"She called me into her room and I thought, 'I know what this was about,'" Green said Wednesday, sporting a UTSA visor. "We started talked about it and at the end, (the decision) ended up being the University of Texas-San Antonio."
Green said his visit last weekend to San Antonio ended up sealing his decision.
"When I went to UTSA, it wasn't what I expected," he said. "The visit brightened it up for me and made me feel at home. I love the city, the academic program, everything."
Green played a number of positions at D'Iberville, starting at quarterback this season more out of necessity. At UTSA, Green expects to play at safety.
"I think I'll be the incredible safety I was during my sophomore year," he said, referencing his injury-plagued junior campaign. "I believe I'm back to where I'm supposed to be. ... If I have to come down and hit, I'm going to hit. If the ball is in the air, it's mine."
Sticking with USM
Turner committed to USM in October, but with his recruiter, Pete Golding, joining UTSA's staff and Todd Monken leaving Hattiesburg for the NFL, the talented defensive end began to consider the Roadrunners.
In the end, Turner said he felt most comfortable with Southern Miss.
"I decided last night after talking with mom about it. It was the hardest decision I've ever made," Turner said, a gold Southern Miss hat pulled tightly over his dreads. "Both programs have a lot to offer, but going to Southern Miss is just being at home and being around good guys."
Turner said he was 50-50 heading into Tuesday night.
"UTSA has everything to offer for me and they promised me early playing time right off the bat so that was a big decision for me," he said. "... When it comes down to deciding between two schools it's probably the hardest thing you can do because you don't know what's going to happen in the future. You just have to go with your heart."
Coming off of a couple difficult seasons, Turner said Southern Miss wasn't a real threat for his signature early in the process.
"In the beginning of my recruitment, I didn't think they were going to be successful and go 9-5 so they weren't a big part in it," he said. "But as I started to get recruited by them and talked to the coaches, it kind of drew me in."
Southern Miss hired Jay Hopson over the weekend, and Turner said his conversations with both Hopson and those who have played for the new USM coach made him feel more at ease with his decision.
"Everybody said positive things about him," Turner said. "He's a high intensity guy and is going to go after it. That's what I like about him."
Oatis signs with UTSA
Green wasn't the only Coast kid to sign with the Roadrunners.
West Harrison's Josh Oatis made history on Wednesday when he became the first Hurricane to sign with a Division I program. The 6-foot-5, 290-pound lineman had been recruited heavily by the state's junior colleges, but when Frank Wilson was hired at UTSA and brought with him former Southern Miss assistant Pete Golding, Oatis said the Roadrunners came calling.
"It's pretty special," Oatis said. "It was a dream. They're telling me I'll play left tackle.
"The new coaches are happy and experienced people."
While Oatis is the first, he said he hopes he's not the last 'Cane to go D1. He said he hopes part of his high school legacy will be drawing attention to WHHS and attracting recruiters to the new school.
The SWAC landed four Coast standouts on Friday. Gulfport safety Deon Cole and tight end Adarius Craft signed with JSU, as did Harrison Central lineman Charles Moffett. Gautier quarterback LeCharles Pringle remained firm with Alcorn State despite the recent coaching change and signed with the Braves. Cole also double-signed with Gulf Coast.
"I think (Craft and Cole) will both do well," Gulfport coach Eddie Pierce said. "I'm proud of all four of them."
Cole, who also signed with MGCCC, had been recruited by Jackson State for a while, but Craft was glad to receive a late offer from the Tigers.
"I was talking to them during the season, but they offered me two weeks ago," Craft said "I went for a visit last weekend and really enjoyed it. I thought it was the best fit for me and my family."
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Craft said he expects to fill a variety of roles at Jackson State, working in the slot, at receiver and in the backfield.
"As a kid, anybody who plays sports wants to play Division I," Craft said. "I'm glad to be fulfilling a dream everybody wishes they could."
Moffett is a big kid at 6-foot-5, 280 pounds who could step in right away and add immediate size and depth along JSU's line.
"I saw how they put most of their money into their engineering program and I want to be an electrical engineer. It's a great opportunity and then they offered me a full ride," Moffett said. "I had to take it."
Jones County Junior College also recruited Moffett, but he said new coach Tony Hughes did a good job of selling him on JSU's program.
"He talked about building up Jackson State and I felt like it was a great opportunity," Moffett said. "You don't get a chance to do that every day."
Below is a full list of Coast student athletes who signed on Wednesday.
Biloxi: Hannah Heustess (Meridian, soccer), Olivia Holley (Pearl River, baseball), Chase Lott (Gulf Coast, baseball), Alexis McDaniel (Xavier University, cross country), Dylan Menhennett (Gulf Coast, baseball), Elijah Nelson (Hinds, baseball), Tray Payne (Belhaven, football) and Carlie Vice (Delta State, softball).
Christian Collegiate Academy: Devan Roberts (Lyon College, football) and Micah Williams (University of Northwestern-St. Paul, football).
D'Iberville: Jacquelle Green (UT-San Antonio, football), Jacques Turner (Southern Miss, football) , Ty Peters (Gulf Coast, football), Barry Leonardi, (Gulf Coast, football) and Izayiah Jacob (Belhaven, football).
Gautier: LeCharles Pringle (Alcorn State, football) and Alex Battiste (Gulf Coast, football)
George County: Brandon Walley (Gulf Coast, football) and Kelijah Bradley (Gulf Coast, football).
Gulfport: Deon Cole (Jackson State/Gulf Coast, football), Alton Conerly (Copiah-Lincoln, football), Stephon Cooper (Gulf Coast, football) and Adarius Craft (Jackson State, football).
Hancock: Aaron Feazelle (Missisisppi College, football) and Caroline Grafe (Pearl River, soccer).
Harrison Central: Jordon Beaton (Jones, football), Charles Moffett (Jackson State, football), Michael Boyce (Jones, football) and Devon White (Northwest, football).
Long Beach: Kevin Wayne (Belhaven, football), Jason Trombley (Mississippi College, football) and Mario Clark (Gulf Coast, football).
Moss Point: Jamal Daniels (Coahoma, football).
Ocean Springs: Tate Pepper (Jones County, baseball), Tori Gumm (Gulf Coast, softball), Madison York (East Central, softball), Isaiah Toler (Copiah Lincoln, football), Landon Twiggs (Jacksonville University, lacrosse), Rylee Foster (Pearl River, soccer), Karsen Gildea (Pearl River, soccer), Mary Rieger (Pearl River, soccer), Steven Gallagher (William Carey, soccer), P.J. Irwin (William Carey, soccer), Dylan Langdale (Huntingdon College, lacrosse), Allen Wilkerson (Spring Hill College, bowling), Mikel Brown (University of St. Mary's, football and track and field) and Deonta Burchfield (Holmes, football).
Pascagoula: Jordan Mims (Pearl River, football), Jakwaize Walker (Pearl River, Griffin Sublett (Copiah-Lincoln, football) and Ahmad Hyde (Holmes, football).
Pearl River Central: Dalton Howe (Delta State, football), David Salser (Pearl River, football), Josh Neumann (Pearl River, football).
Poplarville: Tyler Fricke (Pearl River, football), Sye Blossman (Pearl River, football).
Resurrection: Paul Blackwell (Gulf Coast, football).
St. Martin: Tyler Polk (East Mississippi, football), Jimon Dixon (Jones, football), Ricky Hunt (Gulf Coast, football), Trey Freeman (Holmes, football) and Kaleb Clark (Jones, football).
Stone: Tavarus Breland (Gulf Coast, football).
Vancleave: Cal Bakker (Jones, football) and Taylor Crabtree (East Mississippi, football)
West Harrison: Josh Oatis (Texas-San Antonio, football).