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Winners BBQ has been nothing short of remarkable since its 2015 Dallas/Fort Worth inception


“The highest human act is to inspire.”Late superstar rapper Nipsey Hussle


WINNER’S CIRCLE 

DOING IT BIG IN TEXAS — A former Iowa State football standout, DeAndre Jackson had ultimately delved off into the ever-so-competitive world of entrepreneurship as the proud founder of Winners BBQ, a family-owned restaurant that has established three franchises since its inception in 2015.

DUNCANVILLE, Texas — If there’s one thing that DeAndre Jackson has learned as a former athlete, it’s how to make good on a seemingly unfavorable situation.

Consider, for instance, how when Jackson’s bid to land on an NFL roster spot fell short amid a career-ending ACL injury, he diligently had become resourceful in that he miraculously found his niche, both as an athletic trainer and real estate agent.
Much to his delight, things for the Garland, Texas native would only get better.
A former Iowa State standout, Jackson had ultimately delved off into the ever-so-competitive world of entrepreneurship as the proud founder of Winners BBQ, a family-owned restaurant that has established three franchises since its inception in 2015.

MORE ON WINNERS BBQ: https://www.facebook.com/winnersbbq/

https://m.facebook.com/winnersbbqaustin/

THEY ARE LIT — Winners BBQ, in fact, has become a fixture throughout North Texas, in large part because consumers have come to enjoy — and embrace — its delectable meat plates, meat by the pound, its assortment of sandwiches, not to mention its smoked turkey legs, as well as its distinctly unique meat loaded potato that’s famously deemed “The G.O.AT.”

Winners BBQ’s original location is housed at 3200 14th Street in nearby Plano. A popular Dallas/Fort Worth restaurant that Jackson owns along with his cousin, Tevin Jackson, Tevin’s wife, former University of Texas and professional track and field star Nichole Denby-Jackson, Winners BBQ has since added two locations — one in Cedar Hill and in Austin.

Following what the Jacksons described as “massive success” of the Plano location, DeAndre opened Winners BBQ Cedar Hill in 2017, and in less than three months ago, Nichole, Tevin, and Nichole’s sister, Nichale,  opened the Austin location. 

For DeAndre Jackson and Co., it’s been all good ever since.


RED ZONE EFFICIENCY 

To their credit, the Jacksons have gone to great lengths to form what has become an All-Star lineup of Winners BBQ CEOs.

“We pride ourselves on bringing flavorful craft BBQ with having a one-of-a-kind menu and delivering exceptional customer service,” Nichole Denby-Jackson told Making Headline News this week.

Winners BBQ, in fact, has become a fixture throughout North Texas, in large part because consumers have come to enjoy — and embrace — its delectable meat plates, meats by the pound, its assortment of sandwiches, not to mention its smoked turkey legs, as well as its distinctly unique meat loaded potato that’s famously deemed “The G.O.AT.”

Following what the Jacksons described as “massive success” of the Plano location, DeAndre opened Winners BBQ Cedar Hill in 2017, and in less than three months ago, Nichole, Tevin, and Nichole’s sister, Nichale,  opened the Austin location. For DeAndre Jackson and Co., it’s been all good ever since.

And then there are Winners BBQ’s mouth-watering sides and its kids menu, not to mention its sweet and tangy BBQ sauce and its flavor-packed dry rub, which takes all of its smoked meats to “another level of flavor,” DeAndre Jackson acknowledged.

Interestingly, Winners BBQ has earned mentions in a slew of food publications, trends that have given way to this star-studded restaurant chain having garnered a host of food awards and magazine honors.


“As high profile collegiate and professional athletes, we are highly competitive by nature and this competitiveness and drive spill over into every faucet of our lives,” DeAndre Jackson explained. “Sports is what we all have in common, and the discipline, dedication, perseverance, mental toughness, sacrifice, motivation, and determination that athletics have instilled in us has taught us very valuable life lessons and how to never quit, no matter what curve balls life throw your way.”


To their credit, the Jacksons have gone to great lengths to form what has become an All-Star lineup of Winners BBQ CEOs.

Surely, their competitive drive as former athletes has contributed mightily to their sustained entrepreneurship success.

For starters, DeAndre and Tevin Jackson, both were legitimate hopeful to land NFL contracts before injuries reduced their effectiveness, thus bringing their careers to unceremoniously ends.

ON A MISSION — As for the Jacksons’ mission for having delved off into entrepreneurship, what it all boils down, they said, is devising ways to leave a legacy for their children — and their children’s children.

Both, in fact, had sustained torn ACL’s, and were forced to tackle — and sack — what they label as the “real world” for the first time in a long time.

And then there was Nichole, a Los Angeles native, who was the catalyst of Texas’ track and field program that captured a national championship before she enjoyed a professional stint with Nike and Adidas that spanned a decade.

Interestingly, Nichole maintained a top-10 world ranking and represented the U. S. on its World Championship Team, as well as served as an alternate on the U. S. Olympic team.

Winners BBQ’s original location is housed at 3200 14th Street in nearby Plano. A popular Dallas/Fort Worth restaurant that Jackson owns along with his cousin, Tevin Jackson, and Tevin’s wife, former University of Texas and professional track and field star Nichole Denby-Jackson, Winners BBQ has since added two locations — one in Cedar Hill and in Austin.

As for the Jacksons’ mission for having delved off into entrepreneurship, what it all boils down, they said, is devising ways to leave a legacy for their children — and their children’s children.

“My personal mission is to be able to pass down something for my children to own and start them off at an even better place in life than I was,” Nichole said. “I would also love to use my platform to motivate and inspire others, whether that be on speaking panels, through a published book, public appearances, and various events or seminars.

“Another mission is to have enough financial freedom for me to give back to many communities through charitable acts of kindness and build water wells in certain parts of Africa for those without clean water,” Nichole added. “We are all big on philanthropy and are big advocates for our community.”

DeAndre and Tevin Jackon both were legitimate hopeful to land NFL contracts before injuries reduced their effectiveness, thus bringing their careers to unceremoniously end. Both, in fact, sustained torn ACL’s, and were both forced to tackle — and sack — the real world for the first time in a long time.

In addition, the Jacksons announced strategic plans to create what they call the “WINspiration Foundation,” an organization that would allow them to display their notable philanthropy efforts.

“Something that I learned from the late great Nipsey Hussle is that the highest human act is to inspire,” Nichole said. “If I can use my platform to reach at least one person — I would love to inspire many — I would be happy.”

Said DeAndre Jackson: “It is important to pass down knowledge and wisdom to better those around you and make them want to become the best versions of themselves and to be able to pass down and instill these things in the next generation which will pick up the baton as it will be their turn to run the world.”

Just as the Jacksons are presently doing as successful entrepreneurs — this after having made good on seemingly unfavorable situations.

Talk about true Winners.


For more information about Texas entrepreneurs DeAndre Jackson, Nichole Denby-Jackson, Tevin Jackson and Nichale of Winners BBQ, call 972.424-2400 (Plano), 205.572-0256 (Cedar Hill), 512.861.5066 (Austin), or connect with Winners BBQ via Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/winnersbbq/


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EDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, athlete, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, model, or pastor/minister who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

Andre Johnson is the award-winning Founder and Publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter of sports for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send email to andre@makingheadlinenews.com or to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Thanks to a former NFL player, Duncanville’s Barak Gurnell has found his niche and passion in football


TEXAS CLASS 6A FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW


DUNCANVILLE, Texas — Tamara Gurnell was going on and on Wednesday morning about how her son, Barak Gurnell, doesn’t routinely watch football.

“He doesn’t watch a whole lot of football,” Tamara Gurnell told Making Headline News. “I could turn it on a game and he’ll go in another room. He’s just not into watching football like that.”


EYE OF THE PANTHER 

HEART OF A CHAMPION — A little more than two years removed from having become thoroughly active in competitive football, Barak Gurnell has made some pretty immeasurable strides for a Duncanville High team (15-0) that has re-emerged as a national standout and will square off against Houston’s North Shore (15-0) for the Texas Class 6A championship Saturday at 7 p.m. CST at AT&T Stadium.

That certainly isn’t the case for her son on the field.

A little more than two years removed from having become thoroughly active in competitive football, Barak Gurnell has made some pretty immeasurable strides for a Duncanville High team (15-0, ranked No. 8 nationally by MaxPreps.com) that has re-emerged as a national standout and will square off against Houston’s North Shore (15-0, ranked No. 10 nationally by MaxPreps.com) for the Texas Class 6A championship Saturday at 7 p. m. CST at AT&T Stadium.

Led by former Dallas Skyline coach Reggie Sample, Duncanville is ranked No. 1 in Texas Class 6A, according to MaxPreps. North Shore is ranked No. 2.

A 6-foot-3, 285-pound senior defensive tackle, Gurnell has practically held his own and made a name for himself as a marquee player for a Panther defensive unit that denied perennial power Allen of a second consecutive state title with a 44-35 win in the state semifinals.


“Football has become a very important part of my life in a very short period of time and I honestly can’t see going to college without it. It pushes me to be a better version of myself every day.” — Duncanville senior defensive tackle Barak Gurnell 


STOCK IS RISING — What a difference two years have made for a young, gifted kid whom, to his credit, has managed to attract interests from a host of college, a trend he expects to increase much sooner than later.

Football alone isn’t the only factor that has greatly inspired Gurnell to maximize his potential as he continues to lobbies for a full ride scholarship as a member of a nationally-ranked Duncanville team that’s loaded with Division 1-caliber players and is back in the state championship for the first time in two decades.

Amongst those who essentially spearheaded Gurnell’s quest to consider football is former NFL player Roderick Lewis.

A former Dallas Bishop Dunne Catholic and University of Arizona star, Lewis, 47, played four professional seasons for the Houston Oilers and Tennessee Titans from 1994-1997.

PIVOTAL EXTRA POINT — Amongst those who essentially spearheaded Gurnell’s quest to consider football is former NFL player Roderick Lewis. A former Dallas Bishop Dunne Catholic and University of Arizona star, Lewis, 47, played four professional seasons for the Houston Oilers and Tennessee Titans from 1994-1997.

As Tamara Gurnell recalled, Lewis was rather direct when suggesting that her son — who already exhibits the size of an NFL defensive lineman — should serious consider giving football a try.

“My friend, Rod Lewis, hadn’t seen Barak for some time until his daughter’s 17th birthday party,” Tamara Gurnell explained. “Rod’s face lit up with excitement and he began to pat Barak on the back and chest, commenting on how big he had gotten.”

As it turns out, it seemed that divine intervention essentially couldn’t keep Barak Gurnell off of Lewis’ mind days after the two had crossed paths.

MOM KNOWS BEST –— Come Saturday night, amongst the things that will likely come to mind for Gurnell when he sets foot on Texas high school football’s biggest stage is how his willingness to embrace wise counsel has ultimately allowed his gift to make room for him.

“A few days later, Rod called me to discuss Barak’s future, highly encouraging (him) to consider football as a viable option to add to his high school portfolio,” Tamara Gurnell recalled.

And the rest, as they say, was history.

That’s because not only did Barak Gurnell heed the pertinent advice of Lewis but, much to his delight, it’s safe to assume that competitive football, by all accounts, has become an integral part of his life.

Come Saturday night, amongst the things that will likely come to mind for Gurnell when he sets foot on Texas high school football’s biggest stage is how his willingness to embrace some wise counsel has ultimately allowed his gift to make room for him.

Yep. What a difference two years have made for a young, gifted kid whom, to his credit, has managed to attract interests from a host of college, a trend he expects to increase much sooner than later.

“I have spoken to Lyon College over the phone and Texas State University (scouts) in person,” said Gurnell, adding that Oklahoma State and SMU have expressed interests in his services.

REMEMBER THE NAME — A 6-foot-3, 285-pound senior defensive tackle, Gurnell has practically held his own and made a name for himself as a marquee player for a Panther defensive unit that denied perennial power Allen of a second consecutive state title with a 44-35 win.

Surely, Gurnell’s short list of schools, in all likelihood, will expand, considering just this past summer, he attended camps at SMU, OSU, Baylor, TCU, the University of Houston, Rice University, and Texas A&M Commerce, among others.

“There will be no problems off the field,” said Gurnell, when asked what direct message he’d like to send to college scouts and recruiters. “I always make sure to conduct myself in a respectable fashion and that my grades are never a problem. Right now, I’m preparing for the state final game against North Shore, and I plan to continue to lift weights through the winter and do some conditioning once it gets warmer.”

If nothing else, for a youngster who’s a relatively newcomer to football, Gurnell certainly has become knowledgeable of the prerequisites essential for landing an athletic scholarship.

“The coaches give honest feedback,” Tamara Gurnell said of her son’s constant progression to the sport. “Essentially, Barak is a diamond in the rough. Because he is so new to the sport, the learning curve is massive.”

All things considered, one would be hard-pressed to discover just how “massive” of a curve it is, given the sustained success Gurnell has enjoyed in such a brief timeframe.

“He is a quick study, and in football, intellect is key,” said Tamara Gurnell, sounding very much like a prep football insider. “(The Duncanville coaching staff) believe he will be offered a (partial) scholarship, if not a full one, mainly because there is limited film due to his late start in the sport. They believe he will surely be an asset, because of his character and great grades.”

PUTTING IN WORK — If nothing else, for a youngster who’s a relatively newcomer to football, Gurnell certainly has become knowledgeable of the prerequisites essential to landing an athletic scholarship.

Something even a former NFL player had recognized at a birthday party.

Speaking of party, expect the Gurnells to host one if the Panthers upend North Shore Saturday night in Arlington, which is roughly two towns over from Duncanville.

Heck, expect them to throw an even bigger party if Barak Gurnell pulls off the unthinkable by signing a National Letter of Intent in the foreseeable future , which undoubtedly would be a massive, remarkable feat for a relatively newcomer to the sport.

“I will be proud (if he earns a football scholarship), because he is one step closer to his independence,” Tamara Gurnell said. “I am enjoying the man he is becoming.”

A youngster who already exhibits the frame of an NFL defensive lineman.

Talk about impressive.


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EDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, athlete, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, model, or pastor/minister who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

Andre Johnson is the award-winning Founder and Publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter of sports for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send email to andre@makingheadlinenews.com or to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Memphian Gregory Lofton pleading with Penny Hardaway to possess copyrights of his music

MAKING HEADLINE NEWS WELCOMES GREGORY LOFTON


As Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway prepares to begin a new era as the new University of Memphis men’s basketball coach this week when the Tigers host a sold out Memphis Madness in FedExForum, one longtime U of M faithful has something intriguing to pass along to the Bluff City hoops legend.

Longtime entertainer Gregory Lofton, a native Memphian, the CEO of Silky International Records and the mastermind behind the hit song, “Tiger Fever,” doesn’t shy away from the notion that he’s determined to garner the attention of Hardaway, a former U of M star and four-time NBA All-Star.

“I want it to be known that a song by an unsigned artist and publisher is worth $250,000 per year to sample and with all monies due according to the copyright act under a master licensing agreement that covers The Penny Hardaway Show, Stadium use, performance and broadcast royalties, CD and DVD production, TV, Movies, Film, etc.,” Lofton told Making Headline News during a recent interview.

PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS — Longtime entertainer Gregory Lofton, a native Memphian, the CEO of Silky International Records and the mastermind behind the hit song, “Tiger Fever,” doesn’t shy away from the notion that he’s determined to garner the attention of Hardaway, a former U of M star and four-time NBA All-Star.

“The University of Memphis, the Rebounders Club, and Highland Hundred Club know about this project, but I will not give my hard work away for exposure and season tickets,” Lofton continued. “Writing exposure instead of a dollar amount on a check will buy me nothing for my hard work.”

Lofton, meanwhile, was extremely complementary of one Mid-South radio personality, who deemed it essential to applaud his immeasurable body of work as an entertainer.

“My strongest supporter at the time I was trying to promote Tiger Fever was John ‘The Rainman’ Rainey,’ said Lofton, alluding to the sports media personality for WHBQ 56AM’s The Southern Sports Report.  If you want to know how powerful a theme song like ‘Jingle Tiger Fever’ is, talk to him.”

According to Lofton, Rainey had gone as far as to play Tiger Fever during Memphis’ NCAA Final Four run in 2008, a sequence that ended with the Tigers losing to Kansas in overtime, 75-68, in the championship game.

ANSWERING THE CALL? As Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway prepares to begin a new era as the new University of Memphis men’s basketball coach this week when the Tigers host a sold out Memphis Madness in FedExForum, one longtime U of M faithful has something intriguing to pass along to the Bluff City hoops legend. (AP Photo)

“(Rainey) used Tiger Fever to open his show and played several snit bits of it within the first hour of the show,” Lofton said.

Now with the Hardaway coaching era looming, coupled with all of the hoopla surrounding Tiger hoops, Lofton remains hopeful that the former Memphis Treadwell High star will follow Rainey’s lead and tune in to his compelling musical project.

Hardaway, 47, was hired as head coach by his alma mater on March 19, having replaced Tubby Smith, who was fired after two seasons at Memphis.

Lofton was rather forthright in his proposition to Hardaway. 

“I’m willing to transfer the rights over to you, Penny, to own it outright,” Lofton said. “You and I are North Memphis products and I support you. I only met you once when I was with Kevin Morrow.  I will do for you what I would do for the university administrators. You will own everything outright.  The whole collection promotes Memphis and the Tigers. I put my hard earned money and intellectual properties into this project and I deserve financial gratification.”

Besides Rainey, Lofton said that U of M Band Director Albert Nuguen is familiar with his popular hit that is “Tiger Fever.”

All of which is why he has extended a plea to Hardaway to strongly consider listening to what could very well become an enjoyable and fun trend for U of M sports fans.

“I was asking the one-year sampling rate of $250,000 as a buyout price that I knew they were going to try and juggle with price lowering strategies,” Lofton said. “The administration will not deal with me, because of my deep knowledge of the music industry game and knowing my worth when it comes to licensing. They will deal with (Hardaway) if (he) owns the rights in full for (his) program.”

Along with his direct proposition to Hardaway to assume copyrights of his work, Lofton is pleading with the local media to look into his music.

“The Memphis media — even though they never did a story on me — know about my work,” Lofton said.

For more information about Memphis Businessman Gregory Lofton of Silky International Records or to inquire about his music, call 901.474.9209. Also, send email to: gregorylofton@ymail.com


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EDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, athlete, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, model, or pastor/minister who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

Andre Johnson is the award-winning Founder and Publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter of sports for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send email to andre@makingheadlinenews.com or to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Former Memphis Overton High football player Christopher Patterson savoring brand new start with GSFL’s Mississippi Brawlers

 

FINISHING THE FIGHT — Former Memphis Overton High football standout Christopher Patterson, who was recruited by a host of colleges during his prep tenure, was convinced that all wasn’t lost despite having blown out his knee last year.
Months after an injury that sidelined him for approximately eight months, Patterson suddenly fielded a phone call, one that ultimately gave way to a renewed sense of enthusiasm for a youth athlete who was convinced that his best and brightest days are well ahead of him. Patterson currently plays minor league ball for the Mississippi Brawler of the GSFL.

As far as life goes, it is not what happens to us that defines us.

Rather, it is how we respond in the wake of what happens to us that greatly defines — and redefines — us, especially adversity.

Surely, Christopher Patterson, Jr. can attest mightily to this notion.

Take, for instance, how the 19-year-old Patterson, a former Memphis Overton High football standout, responded after sustaining a devastating ACL tear a little more than a year ago while attending a camp nearby at Itawamba Mississippi Community College.

STARTING OVER — The Mississippi Brawler is a Mid-South-based minor league football nonprofit organization that is affiliated with the Gulf States Football League (or GSFL).
According to its Facebook page, GSFL was designed to measure the play and football mechanics of men ranging in various ages, particularly those who boast a strong passion and love for the sport. In addition, the GSFL is comprised largely of athletes and teams in areas such as Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, team that routinely engage in competitive play in what is deemed an “accredited active league,” according to a spokesperson for the organization.

As far as Patterson was concerned, there was a silver-lining, of sorts, amid an injury that customarily sideline athletes for a lengthy period of time.

“During the eight-month recovering period, my love for the game grew stronger,” Patterson told Making Headline News this week.

That’s because Patterson, who was recruited by a host of colleges during his notable prep tenure, was convinced that all wasn’t lost despite having blown out his knee.

HE’S BAAAACK — Patterson said such a monumental opportunity would not have surfaced if not for the continuous support of his mother, Kimberly Patterson, his girlfriend, Destiney Harris, and his younger brother, Jamaa’l Patterson.
And then, of course, the quality of athlete with whom he plays is benefiting him in various aspects.

Months later, he suddenly fielded a phone call, one that ultimately gave way to a renewed sense of enthusiasm for a young athlete who was convinced that his best and brightest days are still well ahead of him.

“One day after a workout, I received a call from my cousin who referred me to Jamerson Jones,” Patterson explained.

Jamerson, as Patterson found discovered during that phone call, is the owner of the Mississippi Brawlers, a Mid-South-based minor league football nonprofit organization that is affiliated with the Gulf States Football League (or GSFL).

According to its Facebook page, GSFL was designed to measure the play and football mechanics of men ranging in various ages, particularly those who boast a strong passion and love for the sport.

In addition, the GSFL is comprised largely of athletes and teams in areas such as Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, teams that routinely engage in competitive play in what is deemed an “accredited active league,” according to a spokesperson for the organization.

As Patterson explained, it was Jones who aided him mightily with regards to providing him with the golden opportunity to resume his playing career.

“He told me about the organization and I went to the tryouts and made the team,” Patterson said.

MOTHERLY LOVE — All things considered, Kimberly Patterson is grateful of the opportunity for which her son has been afforded, one that could very well give way to greater opportunities for him to perhaps put his skills on display on a larger athletic platform.
“C. J. has been playing competitive football for seven years,” Kimberly Patterson said. “The Mississippi Brawlers will help him get to the next level. I believe in my son wholeheartedly and his work ethic and love for football show he has no limitations because he’s always going the extra mile.”

From there, one favorable thing led to another for a young athlete who contends he’s got so much more to prove.

According to Patterson, such a monumental opportunity would not have surfaced if not for the continuous support of his mother, Kimberly Patterson, his girlfriend, Destiney Harris, and his younger brother, Jamaa’l Patterson.

And then, of course, the quality of athletes with whom he plays is benefiting him in various aspects, he acknowledged.

“This team is special to me because it’s more than a team, it’s a brotherhood,” Christopher Patterson said. “And with all of the tragedies going on in the world, it’s always going to be special to me seeing all races come together and get alone.”

All things considered, Kimberly Patterson is grateful of the opportunity for which her son has been afforded, one that could very well give way to greater opportunities for him to perhaps put his skills on display on a much larger platform.

“C. J. has been playing competitive football for seven years,” Kimberly Patterson said. “The Mississippi Brawlers will help him get to the next level. I believe in my son wholeheartedly and his work ethic and love for football show he has no limitations because he’s always going the extra mile. This exposure will benefit my son in a miraculous way. I feel that God will begin to open doors like crazy.”

UNBOTHERED — As far as Patterson was concerned, there was a silver-lining, of sorts, amid an injury that customarily sideline athletes for a lengthy period of time.

The primary objective in the meantime, at least according to Christopher Patterson, is to learn all he can while he can.

You know, to never stop brawling as he steadfastly continues to audition on the stage in the very sport he’s come to adore.

So much a blown out knee.

“Playing for this team creates exposure, because not only is it a nonprofit organization, but after this season is over with, if you have good film, you could go play in college, the CFL, the AFL, or the NFL,” Christopher Patterson said.

All while responding to adversity the right way.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you have a child or team that is seeking exposure and would like an in-depth sports news story, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him for details under “Andre T. Johnson.”

Andre Johnson is the founder and publisher of Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former sportswriter for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Houston-area prep football standout Anthony Williams, Jr. generates one scholarship offer, ‘expects list to expand’ his coach says

TEXAS SIZE DREAMSA two-year starter for Hightower High in Missouri City, Texas — which is in the outskirts of Houston — Anthony Williams, Jr. doesn’t shy away from the notion that he’s one who boasts lofty aspirations of putting his skills on display at the next level.
To his credit, it’s not a matter of if he will be afforded the golden opportunity of playing college football. Rather, it’s a matter of when. The first school to toss its name in the hat for the Williams, Jr. sweepstakes: Alcorn State University. (Photos by Cris Armijo)

Anthony Williams, Jr. was seemingly too young to remember.

For the record, he was four years old.

Old enough to become involved in recreational sports, as far as his mother, Rosalind Banks-Mayshack, was concerned.

“At the age of four, Anthony was enrolled in several sports at the local YMCA for extra-curricular activity,” Banks-Mayshack told Making Headline News this week. “He is an only child and there were literally no children in the neighborhood in his age group, so the YMCA was one of the avenues used to allow him to play and interact with other kids his age.”

STAR WATCH Add to the fact that he was ranked as the No. 11 overall prospect in Texas and amongst the Top 25 offensive tackles in the state by Lonestar Prospects, and it’s no wonder many who have witnessed Williams, Jr. (No. 76 in green) continuous progress in recent years believe other schools in all likelihood will surface with scholarship offers.

As Banks-Mayshack recalled, her son initially gave basketball a go.

Then he ventured off into T-ball.

Months later, it was on to flag football.

By the time he had turned six, he advanced to competitive football.

PROTECTING THE BLIND SIDEEven while being entrusted with a new role, Williams, Jr.’s was as good as advertised — this after he helped propelled the Hurricanes to an impressive 10-1 finished in his first full season as a starter. For his efforts, other schools have taken notice, thus placed him under their radar.

That is when things got a little more intriguing.

A little more than 11 years removed from having made his YMCA debut, Williams, Jr. has evolved as a prep football standout in mighty Texas, where this tradition-rich sport undoubtedly has become a hotbed for college scouts and recruiters.

A two-year starter for Hightower High in Missouri City, Texas — which is in the outskirts of Houston — Williams doesn’t shy away from the notion that he’s one who boasts lofty aspirations of putting his skills on display at the next level.

To his credit, it’s not a matter of if he will be afforded the golden opportunity of playing college football.

CO-SIGNING“He’s a formidable kid,” Hightower coach Padriac McGinnis said of Williams, Jr. “He can play all three positions. He’s great kid…very respectful. He gets the job done. He’s almost like a coach on the field. He’s very vocal, but not a yeller. He’s leader in that he talks to (his teammates) and let them know what’s going on.”

Rather, it’s a matter of when.

A solid 6-foot-3, 300-pound offensive lineman, Williams, Jr. who has one full season of high school eligibility remaining, has already received one official scholarship offer, a development that transpired just before the start of the 2016 season.

The first school to toss its name in the hat for the Williams, Jr. sweepstakes: Alcorn State University.

“That list should expand,” Hightower coach Padriac McGinnis said of Williams, Jr., who was recently invited to Army All-American Combine in San Antonio. “I’m surprised he’s only gotten one offer.”

Still, Williams, Jr., whom McGinnis describes as one of the best all-around players he’s coached in some time, doesn’t appear fazed that his recruiting process is off to a somewhat slow start, in large part because he has manufactured a solid body of work over the past two seasons.

WATCH ANTHONY WILLIAMS, JR. IN ACTION: http://www.hudl.com/video/3/4501897/5721e7530dcb0d12f889d0cb.

Asides from being installed as a starter for a second consecutive year for a Hightower team that finished with a 5-5 mark in 2016, Williams, Jr.’s list of accolades reads like someone who’s being introduced to give a speech.

For starters, he was named Second-Team All-District as a sophomore only to upgrade that to First-Team All-District as a junior.

Add to the fact that he was ranked as the No. 11 overall prospect in Texas and amongst the Top 25 offensive tackles in the state by Lonestar Prospects, and it’s no wonder many who have witnessed Williams, Jr. continuous progress in recent years believe other schools in all likelihood will surface with scholarship offers.

The biggest mystery that remains is when.

STOCK RISINGAccording to Williams. Jr., the University of Houston, Texas State, Grambling State, Southern University, and the University of Minnesota have expressed interest in what appears to be shaping up to be a memorable culmination to high school football career.

“I played very well this season,” said Williams, Jr., who was selected to appear in the USA Football Development Games for a second straight year. “It was very challenging. However, I rose to the challenge.  I had to come into the season taking on a new position of left tackle and I had to take a leadership role as a returning starter.”

Even while being entrusted with a new role, Williams, Jr.’s was as good as advertised — this after he helped propelled the Hurricanes to an impressive 10-1 finished and a district championship in his first full season as a starter.

For his efforts, other schools have taken notice, thus placed him under their radar.

According to Williams. Jr., the University of Houston, Texas State, Grambling State, Southern University, and the University of Minnesota have expressed interest in what appears to be shaping up to be a memorable culmination to high school football career for a kid who’s gone to great lengths to make his mother proud.

“When I watch Anthony on the field, I am amazed and proud of the athlete and the young man that he has become,” Banks-Mayshack said. “He works very hard and his hard work is paying off both on and off of the field. He has a determination to do well and finish and that drive is exemplified on the football field.”

McGinnis echoed Banks-Mayshack’s thorough assessment.

“He’s a formidable kid,” McGinnis said of Williams, Jr. “He can play all three positions. He’s a great kid…very respectful. He gets the job done. He’s almost like a coach on the field. He’s very vocal, but not a yeller. He’s a leader in that he talks to (his teammates) and let them know what’s going on.”

After pausing momentarily, McGinnis suddenly offered a rather unique assessment about which scouts should consider.

A PROVEN LEADERMcGinnis suddenly offered a rather unique assessment about which scouts should consider. “If I’m running late (for practice), he’d go out and get the drills started without me even telling him,” McGinnis said.

“If I’m running late (for practice), he’d go out and get the drills started without me even telling him,” McGinnis said.

What a difference 11-plus years have made for a player who has made a strong case that he deserving of playing on Saturdays some time in Fall 2018.

“Anthony has come a long way from the six-year-old kid that did not know how to wrap up to the young man who loves the game and considers it his craft,” Banks-Mayshack said.

For the record, he knows exactly what he’s doing now, a trend about which a host of colleges will likewise find out.

Much sooner than later.



EDITOR’S NOTE: If you have a child or team that is seeking exposure and would like an in-depth sports news story, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him for details under “Andre T. Johnson.”

Andre Johnson is the founder and publisher of Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Dallas-area athlete Seth Texada aiming to increase his recruiting stock when he suits up for Grapevine High in 2017

DALLAS — Ricky Texada pastors arguably one of the most advanced, prosperous churches in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

That, by all accounts, means he’s pretty efficient and knowledge of the written word of God.

Interesting enough, when it comes to the athletic talents of his son, local prep athlete Seth Ryan Texada, Ricky Texada is one who can assess his son’s skills and mechanics with the best of them.

“Seth first played organized flag football at nine years (of age),” Ricky Texada, the Campus Pastor of Covenant Church of Colleyville, Texas, told Making Headline News this week. “He was very instinctive in route running, catching and defending. His speed was two-to-three steps faster than everyone on the field. He began playing (competitive) football in the fifth grade.”

 

FULL FAMILY SUPPORTGiven his immense strides and considerable progress he’s made in recent years, Seth Texada (No. 12) is seemingly making a strong case that he’s destined to put his athletic skills on display at the collegiate level in the coming years. A speedy 5-foot-6, 155-pound running back who emerged as the catalyst for a Grapevine Faith Christian team that ended the 2016 season with a seven-game undefeated streak and a Texas private school state championship, if nothing else, Seth Texada only increased his recruiting stock as he prepares to make the lofty transition to public schools competition next year. Having played for a Grapevine Christian team that was ranked No. 79 in Texas by Maxpreps.com, Seth Texada will suit up next season for nearby Grapevine High.

Given the immense strides and considerable progress he’s made in recent years, Seth Texada is seemingly making a strong case that he’s destined to put his athletic skills on display at the collegiate level in the coming years.

A speedy 5-foot-6, 155-pound running back who emerged as the catalyst for a Grapevine Faith Christian team that ended the 2016 season with a seven-game undefeated streak and a Texas private school state championship, if nothing else, Seth Texada only increased his recruiting stock as he prepares to make the lofty transition to public schools competition next year.

Having played for a Grapevine Christian team that was ranked No. 79 in Texas by Maxpreps.com, Seth Texada will suit up next season for nearby Grapevine High.

RUN SETH, RUN: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGcvxLhYzrU.

As he tells it, he certainly welcomes what undoubtedly will be a monumental challenge as a newcomer to a Mustang team that ended the 2016 campaign with an impressive 10-2 finish and advanced to the second round of the Class 5A playoffs.

“I had to make the most of every touch since I played behind (All-State running back) Keyshawn Wyatt,” said Seth Texada, assessing his overall performance this past season. “I kept the chains moving.”

Most importantly, this multi-sport athlete was as good as advertised in playing alongside Wyatt, arguably one of the most rugged, efficient rushers in Texas who amassed a career-best 2,888 yards rushing this past season.

For starters, Seth Texada proved, among other things, that even with a small frame, he boasts the smarts to elude opposing defenders, considering he reached the end zone on an average of six carries.

As if that wasn’t enough to draw rave reviews, Seth Texada was just as reliable on special teams, where he averaged in the neighborhood of 32 yards per punt return.

Wait…there’s more, he acknowledged.

“I improved my run, blocking and pass protection,” Seth Texada said. “Overall, it was a great season, especially to top it off by winning the state championship. Now I have a football championship to go with a state championship (in track and field). That’s two state championships in one year…not bad at all.”

Fortunately Seth Texada, with two full seasons of major prep football ahead of him, at least one intriguing thing has been determined for this overwhelmingly gifted — yet sometimes underrated — athlete.

RUN TELL THAT — “Coaches and recruiters need to know that no one is going to outwork me,” said Seth Texada who, last summer, was extended invites to camps at Texas State, Arkansas State, Arkansas Tech, Southeastern Oklahoma State and Southern Methodist University, although scheduling conflicts didn’t allow for him to attend any of them. I also understand the value of their investment in me and what it means to be a student-athlete. I have two cousins playing at the (major Division 1 football), which makes me understand that there is a price to pay for success. I’m a man of high morals and character, and I will represent (a college) program in the best possible way.”

That is, he’s exemplifies that championship pedigree, something that, in some cases, can’t be merely taught.

The biggest mystery now, it seems, is at what point will scouts and recruiters consequently take notice.

“Coaches and recruiters need to know that no one is going to outwork me,” said Seth Texada who, last summer, was extended invites to camps at Texas State, Arkansas State, Arkansas Tech, Southeastern Oklahoma State and Southern Methodist University, although scheduling conflicts didn’t allow for him to attend any of them. I also understand the value of their investment in me and what it means to be a student-athlete. I have two cousins playing at the (major Division 1 football), which makes me understand that there is a price to pay for success. I’m a man of high morals and character, and I will represent (a college) program in the best possible way.”

Without question, his father will be right there throughout the entire recruiting process, steering him in the right direction.

Just as he does for, well, the rest of his sheep.

ESTABLISHING A COVENANT: http://www.covenantchurch.org/.

“The sky is the limit for Seth,” Ricky Texada said. “Last summer as a freshman, he ran a 4.43, (had shown) has a 35-inch vertical jump and ran a 4.19 shuttle. These are measurable that matter when determining athletic ability. The one thing that can’t be measured is heart.”

Given the continuous progress Seth Texada has made in recent years, it’s safe to assume greater days are on the horizon for a thriving multi-sport athlete, one whom seems well on his way to appearing under the recruiters’ radar.

Much sooner than later.



EDITOR’S NOTE: If you have a child or team that is seeking exposure and would like an in-depth sports news story, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him for details under “Andre T. Johnson.”

Andre Johnson is the founder and publisher of Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

 

Former pro athlete Spencer Conley has evolved as an internationally-acclaimed inspirational speaker and life professor

A TRUE PRO — A native of New Jersey who has spent the better portion of his life in Texas, Spencer Conley is widely known as an Inspirational Speaker and Life Professor, one who undoubtedly has found his niche in this ever-so-evolving industry. Not bad for a former pro athlete whom, as he tells it, tried diligently to avoid higher education. “I accomplished something that I never thought I’d do,” Conley, 44, told longtime journalist Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “I became a college graduate. And I tried to get out of it.” Because he managed to persevere and press his way toward earning his college degree, what Conley ultimately discovered aside from having flourished on the grid iron was that he also was birthed with gift of coaching. Err, life coaching, that is.
A TRUE PROA native of New Jersey who has spent the better portion of his life in Texas, Spencer Conley is widely known as an Inspirational Speaker and Life Professor, one who undoubtedly has found his niche in this ever-so-evolving industry. Not bad for a former pro athlete whom, as he tells it, tried diligently to avoid higher education.
“I accomplished something that I never thought I’d do,” Conley, 44, told longtime journalist Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “I became a college graduate. And I tried to get out of it.” Because he managed to persevere and press his way toward earning his college degree, what Conley ultimately discovered aside from having flourished on the grid iron was that he also was birthed with gift of coaching.
Err, life coaching, that is.

DALLAS — Without question, Spencer Conley is one driven man.

Too driven, that is.

A former prep, collegiate and professional standout of an athlete, Conley, because the divine calling on his life, has witnessed God exalt and promote and elevate in ways unimaginable.

So much, in fact, that Conley doesn’t shy away from the notion that he’s one who basking and dwelling in the purpose for which he was created, thus striving daily to esteem others highly than himself.

“There’s no title to what I do,” said Conley who, as usual, always seems to know exactly what to say and, most importantly, knows how to inspire others in the process.

“But there’s purpose to what I do,” he continued.

aas-768x576Given the immense strides he’s made since hanging up his helmet and cleats as a pretty efficient football player, it’s safe to assume that Conley is driven in such a way that his inspiring, eloquent voice has appropriately given way to his having emerged as an internationally-acclaimed personality in his own right.

A native of New Jersey who has spent the better portion of his life in Texas, Conley is widely known as an Inspirational Speaker and Life Professor, one who undoubtedly has found his niche in this ever-so-evolving industry.

DRIVEN BY GOD — The founder of chief executive officer of Too Driven, Conley — widely known as “Big Coach Con” — is a motivator who conveys a life-altering experience that always leaves the audience ready to believe and to better themselves, according to a spokesperson at www.toodriven.com. In addition, Conley’s primary emphasis is to deliver the most powerful messages, many of which have him tagged as “The H.O.P.E. Dealer” or Helping Others Practice Encouragement.”
DRIVEN BY GODThe founder of chief executive officer of Too Driven, Conley — widely known as “Big Coach Con” — is a motivator who conveys a life-altering experience that always leaves the audience ready to believe and to better themselves, according to a spokesperson at www.toodriven.com. In addition, Conley’s primary emphasis is to deliver the most powerful messages, many of which have him tagged as “The H.O.P.E. Dealer” or Helping Others Practice Encouragement.”

Not bad for a former pro athlete whom, as he tells it, tried diligently to avoid higher education because, as he tells it, “I tried to avoid college because of fear and being dyslexic had me afraid all my youth.”

“I accomplished something that I never thought I’d do,” Conley, 44, told Making Heradline News during a recent interview. “I became a college graduate. And I tried to get out of it.”

Because he managed to persevere and press his way toward earning his college degree, what Conley ultimately discovered aside from having flourished on the grid iron was that he also was birthed with gift of coaching.

Err, life coaching, that is.

GLOBAL IMPACT — Conley has been afforded to travel abroad — early and often. To his credit, for instance, his profession has allowed how to put his immense skills on display in as many as 42 countries, most notably Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Nigeria, Ghana, China, Japan, Germany, Spain and France, among others. In addition, Conley has given speeches in 45 U. S. states with the exception of Montana, North and South Dakota, Oregon and Maine, he said.
GLOBAL IMPACTConley has been afforded to travel abroad — early and often.
To his credit, for instance, his profession has allowed how to put his immense skills on display in as many as 42 countries, most notably Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Nigeria, Ghana, China, Japan, Germany, Spain and France, among others.
In addition, Conley has given speeches in 45 U. S. states with the exception of Montana, North and South Dakota, Oregon and Maine, he said.

The founder of chief executive officer of Too Driven, Conley — widely known as “Big Coach Con” — is a motivator who conveys a life-altering experience that always leaves the audience ready to believe and to better themselves, according to a spokesperson at www.toodriven.com.

In addition, Conley’s primary emphasis is to deliver the most powerful messages, many of which have him tagged as “The H.O.P.E. Dealer” or Helping Others Practice Encouragement.”

MORE ON SPENCER CONLEY: http://www.toodriven.com/about.

According to one rave review on www.toodriven.com, “This former professional athlete and highly sought-after Motivational Speaker has a way with words that can only be described as life changing. When you call on (Big Coach Con), you’re not getting a service, you’re getting RESULTS!”

Which, to Conley’s credit, sums up why he has steadily evolved and blossomed into arguably one of the finest up-and-coming inspirational speakers — and Life Professors — in this present generation.

Still, one who deems it necessary to always remain humble, Conley would be the first to acknowledge that he’s just giddy that his Creator thought it essential to set him aside for His use for a time such as now.

“I’m walking in purpose,” Conley said.

HE HAS A DREAM…TOO — A former prep, collegiate and professional standout of an athlete, Conley, because the divine calling on his life, has witnessed God exalt and promote and elevate in ways unimaginable. So much, in fact, that Conley doesn’t shy away from the notion that he’s one who basking and dwelling in the purpose for which he was created, thus striving daily to esteem others highly than himself. “There’s no title to what I do,” said Conley who, as usual, always seems to know exactly what to say and, most importantly, knows how to inspire others in the process.
HE HAS A DREAM…TOOA former prep, collegiate and professional standout of an athlete, Conley, because the divine calling on his life, has witnessed God exalt and promote and elevate in ways unimaginable.
So much, in fact, that Conley doesn’t shy away from the notion that he’s one who basking and dwelling in the purpose for which he was created, thus striving daily to esteem others highly than himself.
“There’s no title to what I do,” said Conley who, as usual, always seems to know exactly what to say and, most importantly, knows how to inspire others in the process.

And no one has to remind him of Who orchestrated all of this.

“It’s God,” Conley’s quick to acknowledge. “Many have contributed to the man I’ve become. This walk is something I must do alone, yet you know you’re in the right place, even though you’re (often) misunderstood and no one understands but you. Life is too precious. I have no time to wait for it to be okay to others or for them to understand.”

Amongst the reasons is that Conley has been afforded to travel abroad — as often as he can, every chance he gets.

To his credit, for instance, his notable profession has allowed how to put his immense skills on display in as many as 42 countries, most notably Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Nigeria, Ghana, China, Japan, Germany, Spain and France, among others.

In addition, Conley has given speeches in 45 U. S. states (the North Slope Alaska bring amongst his best establishments) with the exception of Montana, North and South Dakota, Oregon and Maine, he said.

When asked how many speeches he gives annually, Conley, displaying his customary signature smiles, paused and said: “I’d be comfortable you can say 300 easily. I could do 25 (public) schools in a week. I’ve done that. So when we look at it, that number goes up.”

And let’s not forget the major colleges and universities such as West Point, the University of Minnesota, University of Texas at Austin, Loyola Marymount University, the University of Kentucky, and the Shanghai (China) Institute of Technology, just to name a few.

ALL GOD'S DOING --- “What I do is tied and deeply rooted to my belief system,” Conley said. “God gave his son! The son gave his life.  Two great acts of giving sum up the foundation of my belief system. I’m not churchy. For me, it’s about applying what I know how I treat people with the things I know and when you look at me do you see who I claim to be…forget about what I say am I living it. That’s the reasons I don’t get into titles or outrageous introductions. It’s not about how much you know it’s about how much you care. Credentials don’t mean you can help me.”
ALL GOD’S DOING“What I do is tied and deeply rooted to my belief system,” Conley said. “God gave his son! The son gave his life. Two great acts of giving sum up the foundation of my belief system. I’m not churchy. For me, it’s about applying what I know how I treat people with the things I know and when you look at me do you see who I claim to be…forget about what I say am I living it. That’s the reasons I don’t get into titles or outrageous introductions. It’s not about how much you know it’s about how much you care. Credentials don’t mean you can help me.”

“How inspiration feels personally, many of us struggle to take the nessessary steps to experience it for ourselves, desperately trying to connect to those who put in the work to experience personal victory,” Conley explained. “We won,” yet they didn’t participate.”

There’s certainly more to this notion.

“What I do is tied and deeply rooted to my belief system,” Conley said. “God gave his son! The son gave his life.  Two great acts of giving sum up the foundation of my belief system. I’m not churchy. For me, it’s about applying what I know how I treat people with the things I know and when you look at me do you see who I claim to be…forget about what I say am I living it. That’s the reasons I don’t get into titles or outrageous introductions. It’s not about how much you know it’s about how much you care. Credentials don’t mean you can help me.”

By and large, given how God has miraculously and majestically used him for His glory to encourage the masses, without question, “Big Coach Con” is one driven man.

Too driven, that is.



aaa

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, model, athlete, or pastor/minister who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

Andre Johnson is founder and publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

MID-SOUTH RECRUITING: Collierville High’s Blake Stigger generates offers from two colleges, remains hopeful he will sign

bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbThings didn’t particularly turn out the way LaGarrious Blake Stigger had expected during his senior season for the Collierville High football team.

Still, he’s convinced that because of his overall body work in recent years, he deserves a shot at putting his immense skills on display at the collegiate level.

By and large, as Stigger tells it, he isn’t letting anything or anyone stop his lofty ambition of wearing a college football uniform come next fall.

STANDING TALL --- Despite a year in which he played sparingly, Blake Stigger, to his credit, managed to generate interests from the University of Louisville and Alcorn State, a trend he hopes will ultimately give way to his fulfilling his dream of playing at the next level. Surely, he strongly believes his chances are as good as anyone with whom he played and played against in a Shelby-Metro area that has emerged a virtual hotbed for college scouts and recruiters. (Photos by ANTONIO TAYLOR/Taylor Moments)
STANDING TALLDespite a year in which he played sparingly, Blake Stigger, to his credit, managed to generate interests from the University of Louisville and Alcorn State, a trend he hopes will ultimately give way to his fulfilling his dream of playing at the next level.
Surely, he strongly believes his chances are as good as anyone with whom he played and played against in a Shelby-Metro area that has emerged a virtual hotbed for college scouts and recruiters. (Photos by ANTONIO TAYLOR/Taylor Moments)

“Honestly, (I played) average because I didn’t get much (playing) time,” Stigger told Making Headline News during a recent interview. My talent speaks for itself. Overall, I kept a positive attitude and gave this season 125 percent.”

Despite a year in which he played sparingly, Stigger doesn’t shy away from the notion that he hopes will ultimately fulfill his dream of playing at the next level.

MOM KNOWS BEST --- Like her son, Katrena Marie Stone remains hopeful that her son will be given a fair shot to make a favorable impression upon some college football program. “(Because of his success and dedication, Blake is so passionate about football,” Stone said. “As I watch him play, I see nothing but greatness. It’s like a gift he was born with.”
MOM KNOWS BESTLike her son, Katrena Marie Stone remains hopeful that her son will be given a fair shot to make a favorable impression upon some college football program.
“(Because of his success and dedication, Blake is so passionate about football,” Stone said. “As I watch him play, I see nothing but greatness. It’s like a gift he was born with.”

Surely, without any official offers as of yet, he strongly believes his chances are as good as anyone with whom he played and played against in a Shelby-Metro area that has emerged a virtual hotbed for college scouts and recruiters.

“That I am a hard worker and humble young man that just want an opportunity to do what I love the most,” said Stigger, when asked what it is he’d like for college scouts to know about him. “I just need a chance.”

WATCH BLAKE IN ACTION: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/5528015/blake-stigger.

That, after all, explains why the 6-foot-3, 215-pound athlete conditions daily in hopes of attracting the attention of a college program that will be willing to grant him what he describes as a golden opportunity.

“His father got him started (in competitive football) in 2006 with the Mt. Pleasant Lions,” Stigger’s mother, Katrena Marie Stone explained. From that point, I learned it was something he really loved. I was amazed because I really didn’t know that he had it in him. I overlooked the talent, because I just thought it was something most boys did just to keep busy.”

THEY ARE WATCHING --- Despite a year in which he played sparingly, Stigger, to his credit, managed to generate interests from the University of Louisville and Alcorn State, a trend he hopes will ultimately give way to his fulfilling his dream of playing at the next level.
THEY ARE WATCHINGDespite a year in which he played sparingly, Stigger, to his credit, managed to generate interests from the University of Louisville and Alcorn State, a trend he hopes will ultimately give way to his fulfilling his dream of playing at the next level.

Like her son, Stone remains hopeful that her son will be given a fair shot to make a favorable impression upon some college football program.

“(Because of his success and dedication, Blake is so passionate about football,” Stone said. “As I watch him play, I see nothing but greatness. It’s like a gift he was born with.”

As for his notable strengths, Stigger has become thoroughly efficient at reading offenses which, to his credit, has allowed him to blossom as a player who has proven to contain the opposing team’s top rusher.

As for his weakness, he acknowledged that reducing mental mistakes is a must as he auditions to play at the next level.

With National Signing Day less than three months away (February 1), Stigger knows full well he has no time to waste, despite a senior campaign in which he saw limited action.

OH...AND ONE LAST THING --- “ This is always what I wanted to do as a child,” Stigger said. “This is what I grew up on. I love the aggressiveness and the contact (football brings). (Football) is in my blood. I want to be the one in my family to make it (to the next level). I don’t look at this as a ticket out, because I have a backup plan. But I want to achieve this dream for myself and in dedication of my cousin that didn’t get to see this day.”
OH…AND ONE LAST THING“This is always what I wanted to do as a child,” Stigger said. “This is what I grew up on. I love the aggressiveness and the contact (football brings). (Football) is in my blood. I want to be the one in my family to make it (to the next level). I don’t look at this as a ticket out, because I have a backup plan. But I want to achieve this dream for myself and in dedication of my cousin that didn’t get to see this day.”

“(I will be) attending some camps, working on my footwork, speed, and strength,” he said. “Whatever college offers me a scholarship, they be inheriting a very bright, intelligent young man who is willing to give 125% on and off the field.”

Just as he had done in 2016 — and years prior to that.

“This is always what I wanted to do as a child,” Stigger said. “This is what I grew up on. I love the aggressiveness and the contact (football brings). (Football) is in my blood. I want to be the one in my family to make it (to the next level). I don’t look at this as a ticket out, because I have a backup plan. But I want to achieve this dream for myself and in dedication of my cousin that didn’t get to see this day.”

And, as he tells it, he isn’t letting anything or anyone stop his lofty ambition of wearing a college football uniform come next fall.

Stay tuned.



aaaEDITOR’S NOTE: If you have a child or team that is seeking exposure and would like an in-depth sports news story, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him for details under “Andre T. Johnson.”

Andre Johnson is the founder and publisher of Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

MID-SOUTH RECRUITING: Collierville High’s Mikho Grandison hopeful he’ll land football scholarship after ‘productive’ senior campaign

THE WAITING GAME — According to Collierville High athlete Mikho Grandison, while he has yet to garner any official scholarship offers, he said he has kept in constant contact with a few recruiters at Austin Peay State. “I was talking to the Austin Peay recruiter (during the season),” Grandison said. However, the question that remains is whether Grandison — who ranked as the No. 68 overall recruit for the Class of 2017 in Tennessee by Maxpreps.com — will ink a National Letter of intent to play college football next season. (Photos by Antonio Taylor/Taylor Moments)
THE WAITING GAME According to Collierville High athlete Mikho Grandison, while he has yet to garner any official scholarship offers, he said he has kept in constant contact with a few recruiters at Austin Peay State. “I was talking to the Austin Peay recruiter (during the season),” Grandison said. However, the question that remains is whether Grandison — who ranked as the No. 68 overall recruit for the Class of 2017 in Tennessee by Maxpreps.com — will ink a National Letter of intent to play college football next season. (Photos by Antonio Taylor/Taylor Moments)

Mikho Grandison is one who customarily views things from a broader perspective.

You know, the bigger picture, that is.

Take, for instance, how Grandison steadfastly clung to a positive disposition during his prep football stint at Collierville (Tenn.) High.

Although coach Mike O’Neill’s Dragons limped to a 5-7 finish and tied cross-county rival Germantown for fifth in the Region 4-6A standings, Grandison made favorable use of his time whenever he was called upon to provide Collierville with a much-needed boosts, especially on the offensive side of the ball.

“I think I played harder than most people,” Grandison told Sports Journalist Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “I never took a plays off…always did my job. I was leader and always (gave) 120 percent, never gave up, always played through (adversity) no matter how bad we was losing.”

aIn assessing what he described as a subpar senior campaign, it is because of Grandison’s spirited, upbeat approach to what was a pivotal season in 2016 that has greatly fueled his desire to pursue playing football at the collegiate level.

As National Signing Day looms (February 1), Grandison and his family are doing whatever is essential to help attract scouts, thus persuade them to grant him an opportunity they sense he so rightfully deserves.

A speedy, 5-foot-6, 147 athlete, Grandison was quite efficient as a rusher, particularly on productive drives that landed the Dragons in the red zone.

In essence, he strongly believes he would have had an even bigger impact had he gained more touches.

“Even though they didn’t give me the ball as much, I always made good and positive yards every time I touched the ball,” Grandison said.

To his credit, even when he wasn’t carrying the ball, he made it a point to demonstrate poise and resiliency in other areas that ultimately gave way to some stellar offensive productivity.

“I blocked for everybody,” Grandison said. “No matter how big the person was, they didn’t scare me at all. I still thought I was stronger than them and I knew I had to make every play count and I did.”

CUT UP, MIKHO: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/5164615/mikho-grandison.

With some added exposure in the foreseeable future, Grandison remains hopeful that he will solidify the big break he has diligently sought in recent years.

According to Grandison, while he has yet to garner any official scholarship offers, he said he has kept in constant contact with a few recruiters at Austin Peay State.

“I was talking to the Austin Peay recruiter (during the season),” Grandison said.

However, arguably the biggest question that remains is whether Grandison — who is ranked as the No. 68 overall recruit for the Class of 2017 in Tennessee by Maxpreps.com — will ink a National Letter of intent to play college football next season.

Given the immense strides he’s made in recent years, his mother, Uzette Grandison, undoubtedly thinks so.

“I always tell my son to reach beyond the sky, because there are infinite possibilities in the universe,” Uzette Grandison said. “My first reaction when I realized my son could go a long way (as an athlete) was to work with him to help make him better.”

Uzette Grandison, in fact, even recalls those times in which she assumed the role as football-mom-turned-trainer-turned-coach.

For real, though.

“I would throw the football, have family football games, and let him watch football,” Uzette Grandison explained.

POSITIVE…REGARDLESS — “I think I played harder than most people,” Grandison told Sports Journalist Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “I never took a plays off…always did my job. I was leader and always (gave) 120 percent, never gave up, always played through (adversity) no matter how bad we was losing.”
POSITIVE…REGARDLESS“I think I played harder than most people,” Grandison told Sports Journalist Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “I never took a plays off…always did my job. I was leader and always (gave) 120 percent, never gave up, always played through (adversity) no matter how bad we was losing.”

Thanks to her unyielding guidance and wisdom, hard work has seemingly paid off for her son.

“I am elated when my son touches the football,” Uzette Grandison said. “He is explosive and many people don’t expect to see that, so when I hear the chatter, I hold my head up with pride and flick my hair so they can see the name on the back of my shirt.”

If things go his way in the coming months, Mikho Grandison’s name will be embroidered on the back of a college football jersey, something about which he has dreamt for some time.

When asked would he like for college recruiters and coaches to know about him,  Mikho Grandison said, “That I’m a hard worker and a leader…and that I’m just a young man who’s trying to show coaches my talents. All I need is a chance to show it.”

Typical Grandison, one who customarily views things from a broader perspective.

You know, the bigger picture, that is.



aaaEDITOR’S NOTE: If you have a child or team that is seeking exposure and would like an in-depth sports news story, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him for details under “Andre T. Johnson.”

Andre Johnson is the founder and publisher of Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.