• John Macon Gillespie

Williams Setting Higher Standards In 2017

Last fall the Tupelo football program completed just it’s fourth undefeated season in school history. In fact, the Wave would go on to win their first 12 games of the 2016 campaign before falling to bitter rival Madison Central in the 6A North half semifinals.

Much of the production came from underclassmen like sophomore tailback Jaquerrious “J-Rock” Williams, a recipient of the 2016 SES PrimeTime award. Returning talent on both sides of the ball suggests the Trent Hammond’s bunch should be in the hunt for a 6A title again this season.

“I was excited,” Williams told SES Mississippi. “Because we are a young team and we have a long way to go.”

“It means a lot to win the award, but I still have a lot to improve on to be better next year.”

Though last year’s run will be remembered for the spectacular defensive unit, the offense was dominant at times and consistently flashed signs of brilliance.

In addition to Williams being a force out of the backfield, sophomore specimen Stephon McGlaun also proved to be a playmaker at quarterback. Jordan Jernigan and Sirmarcus Evans, two uniquely talented pass catchers, should also be weapons this fall.

Don’t forget about Jett Johnson, Peter Gray and Tay Standifer returning to anchor a salty defensive unit.

“I’m going to set my standards higher this year. I feel like as a team we’ve all gotten stronger and faster, so we should be a great team,” Williams explained.

“I honestly just hope we win. It would mean a lot to me. That would be a great feeling.”

This offseason provides a giant opportunity for a team that is still young to build off of confidence gained during a special run. However, that doesn’t mean last season’s pain should be ignored.

Tupelo, it seems, is always battling Madison Central to get where it wants to go. Last November, the blankets seemed to have the Jags in their sights. But instead Jack Walker and crew invaded the Flood Zone and advanced on to face Clinton.

“I really think they wanted to play us more than we wanted to play them. They came out and played aggressively, and we couldn’t get anything started,” Williams said.

A learning experience like that can’t be underestimated in this year’s team. Not to mention the mental edge it can give a group of guys in the long, long offseason.

This spring Williams was at work with his teammates to get better. Last season the talented rising junior averaged 7.3 yards per carry and finished the season with 1,137 yards and 13 scores on the ground.

“I’m a downhill runner. I like to din a hole and hit it. Leonard Fournette is one of the running backs I watch,” He said. “I feel I have improved mostly on vision cuts.”

The best advice Williams said he’s ever gotten was to stay humble and use his talent. That might just be a good mindset for a team that will be looking to go about it’s business in an under the radar manner this fall.

#Tupelo #JohnLukeMcCord

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