Prairie View running back Johntà Hebert. Southern wide receiver Willie Quinn. Alcorn State tight end Jordan Payne.

What do those three have in common besides being named All-Americans in various points of their respective careers? Here’s a hint: National Signing Day 2012.


Those three All-Americans signed letters on intent four years ago as high school standouts on the first Wednesday of February 2012.

On the heels of this year’s NSD, we want to look back at the Hebert-Quinn-Payne class and see how far the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s teams went as the 2012 signing matured into this year’s senior (and sometimes fourth-year junior) class.

First, let’s have some ground rules. The focus of this will be on players that signed on NSD and the schools’ announcements of those initial signings. Walk-ons and late signees of note will be mentioned in the individual team breakdowns.

The number of the 2012 signees still on the roster in 2015 was counted, using those initial NSD lists along with the 2015 rosters provided by the league’s 10 schools. Win-loss records were compiled, making note of any coaching changes.

So, no need to juice up your DeLorean to 1.21 gigawatts of electricity. Just sit back, read and ponder on who panned out and who washed out.

Alabama A&M

No. of NSD signees: 19

No. of 2012 NSD signees listed on 2015 roster: 7 (WR Rashad Anderson, DB Corey Cockrell, TE Jonathan Dorsey, DB Austin Jones, WR Tevin McKenzie, LB Embrel Vaughn, WR O’Darius Williams)

Win/Loss record of class (2012-2015): 18-28; 0.391 winning percentage

  • 2012: 7-4
  • 2013: 4-8 (head coach Anthony Jones fired after season; James Spady hired)
  • 2014: 4-8 (Spady’s first season as head coach)
  • 2015: 3-8

Quick Hits: Hopes of James Spady shaking things up for AAMU seem to have diminished in his two seasons in Normal.

McKenzie led the Bulldogs in receiving (23 catches, 361 yards, 2 TDs) last season while Williams contributed to the offense in the passing game (12-296-3). Vaughn was tied for second on the team in tackles.

Alabama State

No. of NSD signees: 21

No. of 2012 NSD signees listed on 2015 roster: 5 (LB Torrey Davis, OL Damian Love, DB Nicholas Martin, DB Bradley Street, OL Jylan Ware)

Win/Loss record of class (2012-2015): 28-18; 0.608 winning percentage; shared one Eastern Division title

  • 2012: 7-4 (shared East title with Jackson State)
  • 2013: 8-4
  • 2014: 7-5 (head coach Reggie Barlow fired after season; Brian Jenkins hired)
  • 2015: 6-5 (Jenkins’ first season as head coach)

Quick Hits: All-American linebacker Kourtney Berry walked on in 2012 and became the SWAC’s best defensive player almost overnight. Meanwhile, Damian Love earned a first-team All-SWAC slot last season for his work in the trenches.

Alcorn State

No. of NSD signees: 19

No. of 2012 NSD signees listed on 2015 roster: 6 (DE Dwayne King Jr., WR/TE Jordan Payne, OL Jeffery Reno Jr., OL Isaac Sampson, WR Jarvis Turner, DB Anthony Williams Jr.)

Win/Loss record of class (2012-2015): 32-17; 0.653 winning percentage; one Black College National Championship; two SWAC titles; two Eastern Division titles

  • 2012: 4-7 (Jay Hopson’s first year as head coach)
  • 2013: 9-3
  • 2014: 10-3 (Black College National Championship; SWAC champion; Eastern Division champion)
  • 2015: 9-4 (SWAC champion; Eastern Division champion)

Quick Hits: This group was assembled literally days before the Braves hired Jay Hopson to take over the program. Quarterback John Gibbs Jr. came on board shortly after NSD. This group formed the core of Alcorn’s resurgence, ultimately helping Hopson and offensive coordinator Willie Simmons get higher-paying jobs away from The Reservation.

Jordan Payne, originally recruited as a quarterback, became an All-American as a hybrid receiver-tight end in the Braves’ offense.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff

No. of NSD signees: 15

No. of 2012 NSD signees listed on 2015 roster: 3 (OL Trevon Reagan, WR Cody Swain, WR Willie Young)

Win/Loss record of class (2012-2015): 18-27; 0.400 winning percentage; one SWAC title; one Western Division title

  • 2012: 10-2 (SWAC champion; Western Division champion)
  • 2013: 2-9
  • 2014: 4-7
  • 2015: 2-9

Quick Hits: Eight wins in the three years after winning a SWAC title would doom just about any coach, except Golden Lions head coach Monte Coleman. However, Coleman signed a two-year extension with Athletic Director Lonza Hardy basically saying the struggle is real for any coach in Coleman’s position.

Grambling State

No. of NSD signees: 29

No. of 2012 NSD signees listed on 2015 roster: 12 (OL Dwight Bazile, TE Brandon Byrdsong, RB Ka’Jandre Domino, OL Centerio Ford, OL Trey Goins, WR Dominique Leake, DL DeVaughn Madise, OL Justin Miller, DB Tyler Olivier, DB Nicholas Peoples, OL Trent Scott, LB Henry Taylor)

Win/Loss record of class (2012-2015): 18-29; 0.382 winning percentage; one SWAC Western Division Title

  • 2012: 1-10
  • 2013: 1-12 (head coach Doug Williams fired; Jackson State forfeit; two other interim coaches)
  • 2014: 7-5 (Broderick Fobbs’ first year as head coach)
  • 2015: 9-3 (Western Division champion; lost to Alcorn State in SWAC Championship Game)

Quick Hits: This group just might be the most important class in the SWAC, no disrespect to Alcorn State’s group. This senior class rallied together after the 1-10 freshman season and the national spotlight of the boycotting-and-forfeiting-the-Jackson-State-game fiasco of their sophomore season to make a run at the Western Division crown in Fobbs’ first season.

The class took another huge step toward the G-Men’s resurrection in 2015, capturing the West title and returning the Tigers to the FCS Top 25 before bowing out to defending conference kingpin Alcorn State in the SWAC Championship game.

Jackson State

No. of NSD signees: 6

No. of 2012 NSD signees listed on 2015 roster: 5 (DB Preston Hughes, QB LaMontiez Ivy, DL Coleman Johnson, TE Jabari Payton, DE Teddrick Terrell)

Win/Loss record of class (2012-2015): 23-24; 0.489 winning percentage; one shared Eastern Division title; one outright Eastern Division title)

  • 2012: 7-5 (shared East title with Alabama State; lost in SCG against UAPB)
  • 2013: 8-4 (Eastern Division champion; lost to Southern in SCG; head coach Rick Comegy fired; Harold Jackson hired)
  • 2014: 5-7 (Jackson’s first year as head coach)
  • 2015: 3-8 (Jackson fired midseason; Derrick McCall finished as interim HC)

Quick Hits: The gamble of firing Rick Comegy and replacing him with Harold Jackson didn’t pay off for the Tigers. However, landing Ivy at quarterback in 2012 could be considered a silver lining. Ivy has thrown for 5,539 yards and 37 touchdowns in his career.

Mississippi Valley State

No. of NSD signees: 12

No. of 2012 NSD signees listed on 2015 roster: 2 (DB Trè Price, DL Kyle Wiseman)

Win/Loss record of class (2012-2015): 10-14; 0.227 winning percentage

  • 2012: 5-6
  • 2013: 2-9 (head coach Karl Morgan fired after season; Rick Comegy hired)
  • 2014: 2-9 (Comegy’s first year)
  • 2015: 1-10

Quick Hits: At first glance, MVSU moving from Karl Morgan to Rick Comegy looked like a no-brainer. However, the move has not yet translated into wins for the Delta Devils.

Prairie View A&M

No. of NSD signees: 12

No. of 2012 NSD signees listed on 2015 roster: 6 (OL Josiah Freeman, QB Trey Green, RB Johntà Hebert, OL Chris Rose, QB Christian Rousseau, OL Cleveland Sims Jr.)

Win/Loss record of class (2012-2015): 22-22; 0.500 winning percentage

  • 2012: 3-8
  • 2013: 6-6
  • 2014: 5-6 (head coach Heishma Northern fired after season; Willie Simmons hired)
  • 2015: 8-2 (Simmons’ first year as head coach)

Quick Hits: Hebert, a multiple-time All-America selection, may be the cream of the crop when you look at performance of all 2012 signees. However, quarterback Trey Green wasn’t a slouch taking over for Jerry Lovelocke in 2015. Green threw for 2,614 yards and 21 touchdowns and was the conference’s second most-efficient quarterback in his first season as a starter.

Southern

No. of NSD signees: 15

No. of 2012 NSD signees listed 2015 roster: 7 (K Greg Pittman, DT Gabe Echols, OL Anthony Mosely, WR Justin Morgan, WR Willie Quinn, OL Terrell Lee, LB Donald Phillips)

Win/Loss record of class (2012-2015): 28-20; 0.583 winning percentage; one SWAC title and two SWAC Western Division titles

  • 2012: 4-7 (head coach Stump Mitchell fired after two games; Dawson Odums takes over as interim coach)
  • 2013: 9-4 (Odums’ first year as head coach; SWAC Western Division & SWAC champion)
  • 2014: 9-4 (Western Division champion; lost to Alcorn State in SWAC Championship Game)
  • 2015: 6-5

Quick Hits: Some may see this class as the one that brought the Jaguars out of the doldrums and back to the upper rungs of the SWACs pecking order. Quinn, who had to sit out in 2012, made an immediate impact in 2013 and earned some ESPN recognition en route to putting his name in record books in 2015.

Mosely and Lee helped open holes for Southern’s all-time leading rusher Lenard Tillery, who agreed to come from Southern on an academic scholarship in 2012.

Texas Southern

No. of NSD signees: 14

No. of 2012 NSD signees listed on 2015 roster: 3 (LB Zach Bamijoko, LB Jarius Moore, TE Billy Rosenberg)

Win/Loss record of class (2012-2015): 18-29; 0.382 winning percentage; one SWAC Western Division Title

Quick Hits: You can’t fully blame Asberry for TSU’s recent woes. APR sanctions crippled the Third Ward Tigers’ ability to compete. However, the hiring of Houston native Mike Haywood is breathing new life into the program.

 

About The Author

Special Contributor

Special Contributor to HBCU Sports and a graduate of Southern University.

2 Responses

  1. Tennessee State National Signing Day 2012: A Look Back | HBCU Sports

    […] As done with the Southwestern Athletic Conference retrospective, we offer a chance to look back at Tennessee State’s 2012 group. Big Blue offers a unique chance to focus on the lone HBCU Division I football program that is not the SWAC or Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The established ground rules remain the same, focusing on NSD and the schools’ announcements of those initial signings.  The number of the 2012 signees still on the roster in 2015 was counted, using those initial NSD lists along with the 2015 rosters provided by the league’s 10 schools. Win-loss records were compiled, making note of any coaching changes. […]

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