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Signing Day features seven Marengo County signees

Seven Marengo County high school players cemented their college plans Wednesday, putting ink to paper and faxing in their commitments to their respective schools on National Signing Day.

“It’s unbelievable,” Demopolis senior receiver and Jacksonville State signee Fred Irby said. “This is like a childhood dream for young athletes like myself, growing up and playing football in the back yard. I never thought this day would come, really.”

Irby, who will likely shift to tight end once he joins the Gamecocks, was one of four Demopolis seniors to ink agreements this week.

“All smiles,” senior receiver Larry Cobb, a Tuskegee commit, said. “It’s a great feeling, a great opportunity. A great football program and a private school with a great education. If football doesn’t work out in the long run, I’ll have my degree to fall back on. I might even make some great friends up there. None of it would be possible without God.”

Cobb also played cornerback for the Class 5A state champion Tigers, but will take his opportunity to play on the offensive side of the ball with the Golden Tigers.

“I think its kind of funny that we’re an option team and yet we’ve got two receivers signing college scholarships,” Demopolis High head coach Tom Causey said.

At Tuskegee, Cobb will join former Demopolis High standout Dontrell Miller and current teammate and Class of 2010 signee Anthony Hardy.

“That’s what made my decision,” Hardy said in reference to Tuskegee’s recent success at landing players in the NFL. “And plus, Larry (Cobb) asked who I was going to have to push me if I was to go to South (Alabama).”

Hardy received considerable attention from the University of South Alabama before taking the opportunity to join Tuskegee, where he will play safety. Hardy is one of two Tigers to sign as defensive players.

The other is defensive end Martaze Jackson, who made his plans known just two weeks ago when he verbally committed to the University of Tennessee after receiving offers from UAB and Arkansas State among others.

“It feels real good, man, special,” Jackson said while donning a bright orange Tennessee sweater and Volunteers cap. “(My parents are) excited for me. It’s just special. They love it. They asked me if I felt like (Tennessee) was home. I felt like it was home.”

Jackson, a standout defensive end at Demopolis, projects to shift to outside linebacker as a Volunteer. Jackson will be joined in the SEC by Linden High School defensive end Justin Delaine, who signed his agreement with Auburn University Wednesday.

“It’s a good feeling and I’ve really enjoyed the whole day,” Delaine said of the fanfare surrounding National Signing Day. “I wish it could last longer, but I know it’s going to be a day I’ll remember.”

Delaine became the third LHS player to sign in as many years and one of three players from AHSAA, Class 1A high schools in Marengo County to sign Wednesday. He held his spot on that list alongside Jeron Boykin of A.L. Johnson.

“It feels like a dream. Nothing like this ever really happened in my life until now. Nothing was ever that special,” Boykin, who signed with Troy to play offensive line, said. “I feel good about it. I know (ALJ head coach Mose) Jones is happy about it and my mom and dad.”

In signing with Troy, Boykin became the first signee from A.L. Johnson since Deon Lewis signed with Alabama State nine years ago.

“It’s real big for the school an it’s just outstanding for the football program,” Jones said. “He fits right in with (the list of ALJ signees). I knew back in the fifth grade he was going to be something special. I could tell growing up that if he fell in love with (football) he was going to be something special.”

Sweet Water’s Johnny Lockett signed with South Alabama, upholding a commitment he made prior to the season. Lockett received attention from a handful of schools but opted for USA because of his fondness for the university’s academic programs. Lockett, a finalist for the ASWA Class 1A Back of the Year Award in 2008 and a two-time all-state performer, will have completed nearly an entire semester of college before beginning his career with the Jaguars.