POPLARVILLE, Miss. — The Pearl River football team was joined by several new faces when the Wildcats opened preseason camp, new head coach Seth Smith announced Thursday.
Four of the newest Wildcats hail from the Pine Belt or Coast in West Harrison running back Llanes Dickerson, Oak Grove linebacker Tyree Jackson, Gulfport H-back Jytireus Smith and Greene County offensive lineman Eli Erkhart. Smith has also signed linebacker Zachary Boerner, who is transferring to PRCC from West Alabama.
RB LLANES DICKERSON
Dickerson was a dynamic playmaker for the WHHS Hurricanes. In 10 games as a senior, Dickerson was among Class 6A's top rushers with 1,409 yards and a whopping 19 touchdowns. While Dickerson eclipsed 100 yards eight times in a 10-game season as a senior, he had two absolute monster games; rushing for 218 yards and four touchdowns against Long Beach and then collecting 350 yards and five scores the very next week against Pass Christian.
He finished his prep career with 2,114 yards and 26 touchdowns rushing.
Dickerson was also a threat in the passing game, catching 28 passes for 463 yards and five TDs during his junior and senior seasons combined. He also returned one kickoff for a touchdown during his WHHS career.
Prior to moving to the offensive side of the ball, Dickerson racked up 67 total tackles as a sophomore with one forced fumble.
Dickerson finished his career as the WHHS record holder in rushing yards, total yards and touchdowns for a season and career.
Dickerson was a Sun Herald 2019 All-South Mississippi honorable mention. He was also named to the All-District team.
Dickerson was a dual-sport standout for WHHS, also starring on the baseball team. Dickerson finished his prep baseball career with a .345 average, 51 RBIs, 49 runs scored, four homers and 25 stolen bases.
"He's a guy who we feel fits our offense," Smith said. "He's a big, bruising back with athletic ability for his size. He's someone we're excited about having.
"Anytime you can have a big back with athleticism, speed and hands you want to bring him into your program."
LB TYREE JACKSON
Jackson was a difference maker for the Warriors on defense the last couple of seasons.
During Oak Grove's second consecutive run to the MHSAA Class 6A State Championship game in 2019, Jackson was a tackle machine. The new Wildcat racked up 77 tackles with 10 tackles-for-loss and six sacks.
Jackson played a huge role in Oak Grove's march to the MHSAA Class 6A State Championship Game the year before, finishing fifth on the team 89 total tackles. He also recorded five TFLs, two sacks, one quarterback hurry and one blocked punt. As a sophomore, Jackson recorded 33 tackles with one TFL.
Jackson is the seventh Warrior to sign with Smith, joining February signees Liam Breithaupt, Tavion Smith, Eric Robinson, Nick Milsap, Joey Griffith and Caleb Fortenberry.
"He has great athletic ability and really good speed," Smith said. "With the kind of athletes we're facing in the MACCC, you need linebackers who can run.
"He'll do a good job fitting what we want."
H-BACK JYTIREUS SMITH
Smith helped Gulfport claim back to back 10-win campaigns and Region 4-6A titles his junior and senior seasons.
Utilized as a tight end for the Admirals in 2019, Smith caught six passed for 204 yards and two touchdowns as a senior despite missing a portion of the season due to injury.
Smith played as a linebacker in 2018, recording eight tackles with one sack and one TFL.
"Jytireus has freakish ability. To me, he's a sleeper," Smith said. "We felt privileged to sign him. We think he's a D1 player who just needed to put on some weight when we first started recruiting him. Now he's up to 235 pounds and will be a guy we can do a lot with in our offense."
OL ELI ERKHART
Helping to solidify the Wildcats' offensive line will be 6-foot, 280-pound Erkhart.
The lineman was instrumental in helping GCHS earn 28 wins over the last three seasons. As a senior, Erkhart helped the Wildcats rush for 2,256 yards and 33 touchdowns; GCHS also passed for 1,162 yards and nine more scores last season.
"Eli is a tough kid. He'll come in and add depth at center for us," Smith said. "If you're going to be a lineman in our program you have to be tough and intelligent.
"I know Coach (David) Chatham is happy to have him."
LB ZACHARY BOERNER
Boerner joins PRCC after spending the 2019 season with West Alabama.
Prior to his redshirt season at UWA, Boerner was a standout at Prattville High in Prattville, Alabama. As a senior, Boerner recorded 113 total tackles with 54 solo and made 11 tackles for loss. He also recorded four sacks, forced two fumbles, broke up four passes and registered 11 quarterback hurries. For his efforts, Boerner was named Second Team 7A All-State, First Team All-County, Class 5A-7A All-Metro and All-River Region.
"Zachary is someone who has good size, he's very strong in the weight room and moves well," Smith said. "Coach (Ty) Trahan will be able to use him in a couple different spots."
The MACCC recently revealed its updated 2020 football schedule. The Wildcats will play six South Division games, opening at home Oct. 1 against rival Mississippi Gulf Coast. PRCC's other two home games are Oct. 15 against East Central and Nov. 5 against Southwest.
All home games will kickoff at 7 p.m. Capacity inside Dobie Holden Stadium will be limited to 25 percent and masks will be required for all spectators.
Road contests include trips to Copiah-Lincoln (Oct. 8), Jones College (Oct. 29) and Hinds (Nov. 12).
Additional ticket information will be posted at PRCCAthletics.com once finalized.
The MACCC launched a new app last week that's available for download on all smart phone devices. The app contains stats, scores, notifications and more from all 15 members of the MACCC. To download, search "MACCC Sports" in your app store.
STREAMING + RADIO
Carey Meitzler will return as the play-by-play voice of the Wildcats for both the stream and radio. He'll be joined once again by Barry Harper as the color analyst. Jacob Hickman will provide insight from the sidelines.