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No. 5 GMC Ready To Make Run At NJCAA Title In 2014
No. 5 GMC Ready To Make Run At NJCAA Title In 2014
MILLEGEVILLE, Ga. – It was an impressive drive by the Georgia Military College (GMC) football team in 2013 as the Bulldogs went undefeated in the regular season and came within a victory of a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) championship.
GMC will make another run at a national title in 2014 and the nation’s preseason No. 5-ranked Bulldogs will turn to two of the best offensive players in the NJCAA to bring experience to an otherwise young but talented team.
GMC brings back two offensive starters and seven lettermen overall while the defense will have four starters returning and eight lettermen back on the 2014 squad.
“This will be the youngest team we have fielded since I arrived at Georgia Military College in 1997,” said Bulldogs head coach Bert Williams, who enters his 18th year overall with the program and 15th year as head coach. “But we may well have the best skill group on the team that we have had in my years as well. We have some exciting players who make things happen, so it should be an exciting year.”
GMC (11-1) posted an undefeated record in an 11-game regular-season record last year, but dropped a 52-35 decision in the national title game to East Mississippi Community College in the NJCAA Mississippi Bowl.
It was the third championship game for GMC in 14 years under Williams as a head coach, who brought home the school’s first-ever national title in 2001 and also played for the big trophy in 2002.
But in order to get back to that lofty position of playing for the national championship, Williams and his staff will look to returning running back Jovon Robinson (Memphis, Tenn.) and wide receiver Zyrecus Letman (Lincolnton, Ga.) to spearhead an offense that averaged 45.3 points per game in 2013.
Robinson rushed for 2,387 yards on 272 attempts and 34 touchdowns last season while Letman recorded 21 receptions for 294 yards and five TDs. Robinson also had five catches for 39 yards.
Those numbers landed Robinson as the 2013 NJCAA National Offensive Player-of-the-Year while Letman was tabbed as Rivals top junior college receiver.
“Offensively, we have two of the top rated offensive players in the country returning in running back Jovon Robinson and wide receiver Zyrecus Letman,” said Williams. “These two players are part of a small but very good group of sophomores from last year’s championship run returning.”
GMC will also bring back Emanuel Byrd (Albany, Ga.), who will be an impact player at several positions – including quarterback, running back and tight end.
Byrd was 16 of 35 passing for 229 yards, three TDs and one interception last season. He also rushed for 116 yards on 36 carries and one TD.
But the Bulldogs will be successful if they get contributions from a lot of players and positions, including freshman quarterback Tyler Herman (Lawrenceville, Ga.) after an impressive fall camp.
“We have probably the best overall group of skill on offense we have had in my tenure here at GMC,” said Williams. “Running backs Jordan Brown (Charlotte, N.C.) and Jourdan Johnson (Goose Creek, S.C.); wide receivers Alexander “Budda” Jackson (Tampa, Fla.), Landy Capetillo (Montgomery, Ala.), Julian Williams (Suwanee, Ga.), Quez Nesbitt (Greer, S.C.) and others have had impressive camps.
“Up front, we are big and athletic with sophomores Chase Nixon (Cape Coral, Fla.) and Sam Baptiste (Waycross, Ga.) providing leadership for a young group of talented offensive linemen. Freshmen Akeem Cooperwood (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Omar Staley (Irmo, S.C.) have been impressive and Jalen Fareed (Decatur, Ga.) has shown some promise at the center position.”
Defensively, GMC held eight of 12 opponents under 20 points during the 2013 season and returns some of that key experience this season.
Blake Robbins (North Augusta, S.C.) and Devante Covington (Rockingham, N.C.) are back at defensive end along with linebacker Dezmin Reed (Decatur, Ga.), plus Corey Neely (Rock Hill, S.C.), Dontae Beckham (Milledgeville, Ga.) and Taylor Payne (Milledgeville, Ga.) all started games last season in the GMC secondary and played a lot of snaps for the Bulldogs.
Covington finished with 20 tackles and Robbins had 19 total tackles, including 10 of those for minus yardage along with four sacks. Meanwhile, Beckham had 42 tackles to go along with Reed and Neely each finishing with 35 tackles and Payne with 31.
“Defensively, we return two talented defensive ends in Blake Robbins and Devante Covington and a very good linebacker in Dezmin Reed,” said Williams. “We also have a good bit of experience on the back end in our safety positions. We plan to build around these guys with some really good young guys at all positions.
Reed recently committed to Appalachian State’s 2015 recruiting class.
GMC also has some solid freshmen coming in to work with the lone returning cornerback, Jeremy Boykin.
Jaquavious Mackey (Rock Hill, S.C.), Trejon Monley (Laurinburg, N.C.), Kwon Williams (Greenville, S.C.), Devontae Freeman (Griffin, Ga.) and Jarnor Jones (Ellenwood, Ga.) have all looked good in preseason practice for the Bulldogs.
Freshmen defensive ends Kalan Ritchie (Goose Creek, S.C.) and Michael Parrish (Norman Park, Ga.) have been impressive in preseason camp along with newcomers Brenton Wimberly (Albany, Ga.) and Cannon Thomas (Brunswick, Ga.) at linebacker.
“The key for us in all phases will be how soon we can gel as a unit and execute together,” said Williams. “When we get to the point we can do that consistently, we will be a team that is hard to beat.”
The 2014 schedule will be tough for GMC as the Bulldogs have just four home games in a 10-game regular season and make road trips to Texas, West Virginia, Illinois, New York, Arkansas and perhaps Virginia in the season finale.
GMC will also face four teams ranked in the NJCAA Top 20 – including No. 7 ASA (N.Y.), No. 8 Navarro (Texas), No. 13 Tyler Junior College (Texas) and No. 14 Nassau Community College (N.Y.).
Only the Tyler JC game is a home contest on October 11 at Davenport Field.
GMC gets the 2014 season started at No. 8 Navarro on August 23 in Corsicana, Texas, with kickoff set at 2 p.m. ET.
The Bulldogs will open the home schedule on September 6 when Kilgore College (Texas) comes to Davenport Field for a 1 p.m. ET kickoff.
Contact: Steve Argo
Assistant Athletics Director
Georgia Military College
201 E. Greene St.
Milledgeville, GA 31061