With not a whole lot of Division I looks coming their way, a trio of Petal stars are betting on themselves and opting for the junior college route.
Twins Natorian and Nataurean Watts signed with Jones County Junior College on Wednesday morning, while Marquise Bridges chose Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
Panther head coach Marcus Boyles anticipates this will not be the trio’s final signing day.
“I expect all three of them to go on to Jones and Gulf Coast, and in two more years, be doing this same thing going to a Division I school.
“Now they get a chance to go prove themselves on a bigger stage.”
The Watts twins will be 30 minutes away playing for former Petal coach Steve Buckley in Ellisville. With Natorian holding a few more offers than Nataurean, the option to split up and go their separate ways was there. It turned out to be a quick discussion.
“We thought about it, but we couldn’t do it,” Natorian said. “Just got that twin connection.”
Natorian, who is listed at 6-foot-4, led the Panthers in receiving this past season. In his first year at running back, Nataurean totaled over 2000 yards and 26 touchdowns. Both believe they could be the missing piece to Buckley’s JCJC puzzle.
“Since he [Buckley] got there, they’ve been doing good,” Natorian said. “I feel like I wanna hop on the bandwagon and help them beat East Mississippi and win a national championship.”
“I’ve known Coach Buckley and Coach [John] Carr,” Nataurean added. “They recruited me, and I felt like it was close to home.”
Though Mississippi Gulf Coast is a little further away, Marquise Bridges is staying close to home as well, choosing the Bulldogs over several other junior college programs.
Bridges, primarily a wide receiver and defensive back at Petal, says he felt a connection with MGCCC nearly as soon as he stepped on campus.
“When I went on a visit, I just felt like it was home,” Bridges said. “The coaches were welcoming and really respectful to me. They told me what was up and what was real. I respected that and really felt like that was home.
“Soon as I get there, I’m ready to compete. I wanna come there and give great results. I just wanna show them what I’m capable of doing.”