Jones Position Preview: Running Backs

ELLISVILLE – Tiger Powell is no longer around to run the ball for Jones County Junior College. Powell rushed for 897 yards and led the MACJC in scoring with 15 touchdowns last year. He tied a school-record by scoring six touchdowns in a 38-20 JCJC win at Holmes Community College.

But the Bobcat coaching staff believes they will be solid when it comes to the ground game in 2012.

"We feel good about our running backs," said JCJC running backs coach Lacon Sheppard. "They are doing well in practice."

Leading the way is a former standout quarterback from the Mississippi prep ranks.

Reuben Ducksworth (5-11, 210) led Mount Olive to the 1A state championship in 2010.

He attended Alcorn State University last year, but has transferred back to JCJC.

Sheppard said Ducksworth brings quite a bit to the table.

"Rueben was a quarterback at Mount Olive, but he's going to be our number one running back," he said. "Reuben is a special player. He can turn the tide on anybody.

"He is more of a zone runner than Tiger was. Tiger was more of a power guy.

"But Reuben has the ability to cut, turn, juke – whatever you want to call it – on most anybody. He is an excellent football player."

Backing up Ducksworth will be sophomore Jovontae Thurmon (5-7, 160) of Florence and freshman Kalif Koen (5-11, 187) of Foley, Ala. Thurmon rushed for 199 yards and a touchdown as a freshman, while Koen ran for over 2,600 yards and had 34 rushing touchdowns during his career at Foley.

"Jovontae has speed," Sheppard said. "He is a small-framed kid, but if he gets outside, he is really hard to catch. Kalif is doing a lot better now than he was first starting off. He has still got things to learn and a ways to go, but he is coming around.

"Kalif and Jovontae are real good kids and could see a lot of action, too. But hopefully, Reuben doesn't get hurt and can have a big year for us."

The Bobcats will open the 2012 season under first-year head coach Ray Perkins at 7 p.m. on Aug. 30 against Holmes at Bobcat Stadium/Sim Cooley Field.

The game will be telecast on www.jcjc.tv with Mark Easley and Ed Smith on the call. The game will also air on WLAU-FM, 99.3.

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