The Mitchell ReportIt’s amazing the amount of pure, raw talent that comes out of Yazoo County. Before coming here that’s not something I would have guessed, either.
But how many places with a population of less than 15,00 produce an undefeated tennis player, five-time long distance state track champion, four college baseball signees, a soccer player who scored 40 goals in one season, four college basketball signees, a freshman starter for Mississippi State football and one of the state’s best wide receivers?
Oh yeah, and a top 12 NFL draft pick and one of the best high school baseball players in the state.
(I’m sure I left out someone, but you get the point.)
That’s a whole lot of sports talent for a city that doesn’t even have a Wal-Mart.
Where did it come from? I’m almost positive it didn’t show up over night.
For one athlete it took years and years of playing her sport to become undefeated through her senior season. Another involved long runs at five in the morning. Some have natural talent that they were born with and figured out how to make it productive.
For the most part, it takes hard work and keeping yourself motivated to keep working.
Most of these players have moved on or will be moving on from their high school careers by the end of the month. Plenty has been written about their on the field accomplishments and plenty more will be.
There were plenty of others that came before that set the example for what it takes to be great and that’s what these players are doing now, whether they realize it or not. I’ve seen it in schools in Texas and here in Mississippi.
Winning is contagious.
One sport, or a particular player, starts excelling at what they’re doing. Others watch and see what they do and try to imitate that to excel at their own sport.
Look at Fletcher Cox. He was drafted 12th overall by the Eagles. He accomplished his dream through hard work and now there’s a blueprint for a kid in Yazoo City to make it to the NFL.
To answer the question, where did all this talent come from, it came from watching others work hard and make good choices. It’s a trend that has continued for decades and will keep on going.
Former Yazoo City Indian Fletcher Cox speaks to reporters at his introductory press conference with the Philalphia Eagles on Friday. Less than 24 hours ago Cox had been selected by the Eagles with the 12th overall selection of the NFL Draft.By TAYLOR MITCHELL
What an NFL team says before the NFL Draft, if anything, is very rarely the truth. So, when word began spreading the Philadelphia Eagles loved Fletcher Cox, nobody was sure if that was the truth or not.
For his part, Cox stated before the draft Philadelphia was his preferred landing spot.
Apparently, not all rumors are false. The Eagles didn’t just love Cox. They coveted him, which is why they sent three picks (the 15th overall pick, a fourth round and sixth round pick) to Seattle to move up three spots to draft the former Yazoo City Indian.
“It’s been crazy.,“ Cox said during his introductory press conference last Friday. “I just tried not to worry myself with it and I just let it happen. I was blessed enough to come where I wanted to come.”
Cox’s feelings are mutual among the Eagles’ coaching staff.
“Even though he’s young, he’s mature and a smart, smart guy,” Eagles head coach Andy Reid said. “This is just another piece of that puzzle that’s going to allow us to be a great football team.”
“He's the guy we wanted all along. I can't believe 11 teams passed on him. He's a very good football player," defensive line coach Jim Washburn said. He took my breath away with a couple of the things he did.”
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The Mitchell ReportI love the NFL Draft. I watch it just as intently as I do the Super Bowl.
When the draft used to be held over two days, my whole family knew not to bother me for those two days. I’d watch every pick, check my player rankings and my mock draft (first round only). It was a sight to see me sitting on the floor with a bunch of papers spread around me with names of players I’ve never met nor seen in person.
This year I was still enthralled in the pre-draft build up, reading all of the mock drafts I could find and watching all the ESPN and NFLN specials I could.
This year, though, was different. I watched more intently. I sat even closer to the television. There were no mock drafts nor player rankings strewn around me.
No, this year I didn’t pretend to be Mike Mayock, but rather I was a fan.
I’m not normally a fan when I watch sporting events. You’ll never see me cheer, clap or yell at a game, or while I’m watching one for the much. The book No Cheering in the Press Box comes to mind.
But this year I had that nervous/excited feeling I get before a first date.
I had a personal connection to the draft this year.
Sitting in the Yazoo City cafeteria was the best possible place to watch the NFL Draft. The excitement and anxiousness of where Yazoo’s own Fletcher Cox was going in the first round was enough to last a lifetime.
Probably the biggest reaction came when the Panthers were on the clock. Before the draft started, I walked around and asked as many people as possible where they thought Cox would be drafted. Most said the Carolina Panthers.
But when someone else’s name came up, there were plenty of groans and moans.
Two picks later all of that was forgotten. The reaction from the students was amazing. Every single one of them jumped to their feet, screamed and yelled, clapped and even head coach Tony Woolfolk got the students into a chat of “We are Yazoo.”
It was an awesome night.
The next night might be even better for me personally.
The second day of the draft isn’t as glamorous. There’s no Roger Goodell to announce the picks. There isn’t a jersey with the player’s name on it. Heck, most of the players are sitting in their homes watching and waiting.
But it’s still just as important as the first round. Being the draft nut that I am, I watched the second and third rounds. The second round came by with a few surprises and big names being taken off the board, but the one name I wanted to see go was still available.
I had to watch 79 selections before Jamell Fleming, a defensive back from Oklahoma, was picked up by the Arizona Cardinals.
Me and Jamell were friends in high school, but never what you’d call close friends. I lost touch with most of my high school friends when I moved to Mississippi. We’ve talked once or twice over the years on Facebook, but not recently.
But there will always be a connection with every former teammate of mine (including the ones I don’t like). So, to see his name stroll across the bottom of my screen, was a joyous occasion.
No, I didn’t begin chanting “We are the Cougars” or anything like that. I just smiled knowing that I played with someone who set a goal and reached it, even when the odds were stacked against him.
Bubba Vandevere helps Leif Dearman grip the bat.Ethan White makes a close play at the plate.Brock Willingham gets ready for a big swing.Joshua Young is ready to make a big hit.Buddy Ball
Bulldogs (Vandevere Trucking) 10, Lugnutz (Yazoo Tire) 7
Esscos 11, Subway 4
Cardinals (Power 107) 8, Bankers (Bank of Yazoo) 5
Braves (Lowery Farms) 12, Best Western 5
Braves (Lowery Farms) 15, Subway 7
Lugnutz (Yazoo Tire) 14, Bankers (Bank of Yazoo) 3
Best Western 8, Esscos 7
Braves 4, Bankers (Bank of Yazoo) 2
Wreckers (Bid D’s) 12, Yazoo Herald 3
Davis Auto 9, Insures 4
Wreckers (Bid D’s) 8, Davis Auto 7
Rockets (Yazoo County Fair) 10, Yazoo Herald 8
Rockets (Yazoo County Fair) 12, Insurers 7
Rockets 12, Davis Auto 6
Yazoo Herald 13, Insurers 12
Wheels (Rotary Club) 13, Warriors 2
Nitros (CF Industries) 9, American Legion 3
Wheels (Rotary Club), Undertakers 1
Rickys Auto 19, American Legion 1
Undertakers 13, Warriors 3
Rickys Auto 11, Nitros (CF Industries) 10
Wheels (Rotary Club) 19, American Legion 4
April 30 - Rickys Auto 6, Undertakers 5