• John Macon Gillespie

The 2018 SES Mr. Elite Race is Down to Four

Now the race for the 2018 SES Mr. Elite award presented by SERVPRO of Mississippi has drawn down to just four candidates. While each player presents their own, unique and strong resume to the table, only player can take the award home. But before we name a winner on December 5th, here's what makes each our finalists ELITE:

Jarod Conner | QB | Hattiesburg

Over the last two seasons Conner has proven to be the alpha of a program full of those type of players. He's the signal caller and leader of a team that is seeking to reach their second straight appearance in the 5A state championship game.

But what really makes Conner elite is his consistency, despite defenses knowing that the Tigers offense runs though him. Want proof? In each of the last two seasons he's thrown for more than 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns, and ran for more than 1,400 yards and 25 scores.

However, his production pales in comparison to his 27-1 record as Hattiesburg's QB1 in 2017 and 2018 combined. He led the Tigers to a perfect 14-0 mark before falling in the state title. This season the Tigers are again unblemished in their pursuit of a 5A championship.

Nakobe Dean | LB | Horn Lake

The unique skill set that put Dean on the field as a freshman is the same one(with significant polishing and developing) that has drawn the eye of top-level college football programs from around the country. During his career he has amassed 353 total tackles, 51.5 tackles for loss, 16 sacks, six interceptions and five forced fumbles.

Just as the Horn Lake program has come along and blossomed under head coach Brad Boyette, so has Dean. He has become the leader of a defense that opposing coaches have often lauded as one of the state's best in some time following their crack against the Eagles.

Last season he posted an eye-popping 147 tackles, to go with 25 tackles for loss and nine sacks. And his team also had a breakout season, beating division foe South Panola for the first time since the 70s and earning the #2 season in region 1-6A. This season Dean has again been brilliant with 90 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, five sacks and three interceptions. Meanwhile, Horn Lake cruised to a division title and was considered perhaps the state's top team for much of the 2018 season.

Javeious Purvis | ATH | Pelahatchie

There's not much on the gridiron that Purvis can't do. Not only has he played quarterback for the Chiefs the passed three seasons, but he's also played a pivotal role on the defensive side of the ball, especially in 2018.

For three straight seasons Purvis has surpassed the 1,000-yard mark through the air and on the ground, respectively. And each year he has shown improvement, as well. As a sophomore he passed for 1,015 yards and 7 touchdowns, while rushing for another 1,068 and 15 scores. Last year he threw for 1,624 and 19 TDs, and ran for another 1,728 and 20 touchdowns. As a senior this fall he tallied 1,967 yards and 21 touchdowns through the air, to go with 1,341 yards and 23 TDs on the ground. Plus, this season on the defensive side he was in on 73 total tackles, plus 13 tackles for loss, four sacks, three interceptions(one returned for TD) and three forced fumbles.

What makes Purvis is elite is that he is athletically gifted and versatile, but he also has a great understanding for the game combined with a grind-it-out work ethic that breeds constant improvement. Considering his completion percentage climbed significant and he only three one pick in 2018, Purvis could continue developing as a quarterback on the next level or star at any number of skill spots on offense or defense.

KJ Jefferson | QB | North Panola

Yet another quarterback on the list, but Jefferson, however, might have the best chance of the bunch to stick at the position on the next level. He's owned the starting quarterback job at North Panola since his freshman season. While he's always had many of the tools it takes to be a good leader and signal caller, others he has polished along the way.

As a freshman and sophomore he completed under 50% of his passes and right at 50%, respectively. However, he's connected on well over 60% of his passes in each of the two previous seasons. On top of that, he's placed in the top five in the state in passing yardage in each of the last two seasons, as well. While also providing more than enough of a running threat. All in all, Jefferson has totaled 9,109 passing yards and 113 passing touchdowns, plus 2,886 rushing yards and 24 rushing scores in his career.

Additionally, and similar to our other three finalists, he has helped his program to be dominant during his time. He quarterbacked a 5-6 team his freshman season in 2015, but the previous three seasons have each seen the Cougars reach the 10-win plateau and as well as an increase in wins from the previous season.

#MrElite #Hattiesburg #HornLake #Pelahatchie #NorthPanola #JohnLukeMcCord

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