West Point's Brownlee, Cherry sign with Southern Mississippi

Daily Times Leader

If anyone wondered just how good the 2017 West Point football team was, a look at where the senior class has been and is now going is a good start.

The class featured star running backs Marcus Murphy and Chris Calvert and wide receiver Jason Brownlee as well as defensive stalwarts like Ledarius Glover and Terence Cherry among over 25 seniors that season. While Murphy got a head start on those players by signing with Mississippi State out of high school, they’re not far behind.

Glover and Calvert haven’t made college decisions after standout careers with Mississippi Delta Community College and Northwest Community College respectively, but Cherry and Brownlee will continue their careers together. Following an incredible season at East Mississippi Community College, the duo that has wrecked things for opposing teams from pee wee football to West Point High, EMCC and now beyond will play their final two years with Southern Miss as Golden Eagles.

Brownlee accepted his scholarship with the Golden Eagles on Wednesday after a wild two-day run for the talented receiver. He committed to Charlotte on Monday night but released a statement on Tuesday announcing his intentions to switch that commitment to USM. He officially visited those two schools as well as Western Kentucky during the recruiting process.

All of those options came to Brownlee after a monster sophomore year with the Lions. He led the country with 75 catches for 1,055 yards and 12 touchdowns earning himself NJCAA first-team All-American honors. He was the MACJC North Divisions Most Valuable Offensive Back as well as a member of the All-Region 23 Team.

In the end, Brownlee felt like staying in his home state and playing in a solid offensive system with former Oxford quarterback Jack Abraham returning next year will be the best option for him.

“I just felt like I would have a better opportunity to get to where I needed to go,” Brownlee said. “I fit perfectly in their offense because they like to throw the ball downfield. I’m a downfield guy that goes and gets the ball. They have a good quarterback coming back next year and I think we should take over.”

Cherry was also a player that had a huge season for the Lions as he joined Brownlee as the only two players on the team to earn All-American honors on the team as Cherry finished with second-team honors. He was a dominant defensive linemen for the Lions this season with 29 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and eight quarterback sacks. He had four tackles for loss and four sacks last season as a freshman with two forced fumbles as well.

The standout lineman indicated that he’ll be used as a defensive end in the 4-3 alignment for defensive coordinator Tim Billings and line coach Chris Boone. He’s ready for the challenge as he steps it up a notch.

“It’s going to be bigger and faster with better talent and more competition,” Cherry said. “I talked to the coaches about it and when we talk about how they’re going to use me, I feel like I’ll be a good fit for the scheme.”  

West Point players don’t always get their dream fulfilled straight out of high school with a Football Bowl Subdivision offer or even one from a Power 5 conference, but almost every year head coach Chris Chambless looks on at his former players coming back to school to a hat presentation with a four-year college after standout careers in junior college.

JUCO schools around the state are flooded with former Green Wave players including an incredible 12 players on the EMCC roster. 

Chambless couldn’t help but look on with pride as he reminisced and told stories of the two teammates and their cut-ups during their careers at West Point along with the hard work that they continue to pour in as they prepare for life at USM.

“These were some fun young men to be around and it was a fun ride following them at East." Chambless said. "It’s going to be a lot more fun watching them at Southern. They got a lot better today with these two. They always have a home here.”