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Johnson C. Smith football adds Mecklenburg County talent for 2018
Bulls sign N. Meck's Wilson, Gray; Dub C's Hines
Published Friday, February 9, 2018 3:21 pm
by Herbert L. White

North Mecklenburg High running back Emanuel Wilson, who rushed for 1,917 yards and 23 touchdowns last year, signed with Johnson C. Smith this week. He is one of three Charlotte players to sign with the Golden Bulls, who went 2-8 in 2017.

Johnson C. Smith football is recruiting local.

The Golden Bulls signed three Mecklenburg County players to letters of intent among its 11 commitments: West Charlotte High guard Javon Hines and North Mecklenburg teammates Emanuel Wilson, a running back, and defensive lineman Jamonte Gray. JCSU also added four regional recruits in Scotland County middle linebacker Javon Ratliff, Greensboro Smith defensive tackle John-Robert Brown, Kernersville Glenn nose guard Hykeem Crockett and Wake Forest High tackle Jordan Reid.

The out-of-state signees are  cornerbacks Jordan Harrison from Prattville (Ala.) High and North Cobb’s (Ga.) Jaylen Phillips. JCSU added a pair of tight ends in Omar Grant, a 6-foot-3, 260-pounder from ASA Junior College in Brooklyn, N.Y., and  Holly Hill, S.C., and Sydney Okafor (6-1, 230) from McEachern High in Powder Springs, Ga.

JCSU recruited size for the offensive line, which returns three starters in 2018. Hines, a 6-4, 315-pounder,  played guard at West Charlotte, which went 5-7 last season and returned to the postseason for the first time since 2014. Hines bench presses 315 pounds and squats 550 pounds.

Reid (6-9, 300) was a two-way starter at two-time state 4AA champion Wake Forest, where he played tackle and defensive end. Reid also plays on the Cougars’ basketball team.

Gray (6-0, 270), played defensive tackle and defensive end at North Mecklenburg, which rose as high as third in The Post’s Magnificent Seven rankings and advanced to the 4AA playoffs with a surprising 9-4 record. He earned All-Mecklenburg County and all-I Meck conference honors as a senior after tallying 40 tackles and four sacks.

Wilson, a 5-11, 205-pound running back/free safety at North, was recruited as a running back. He rushed for 1,917 yards and 23 touchdowns on 214 carries last year for an average of 9.0 yards an attempt. He earned all conference and offensive player of the year honors.

Brown, who played offensive and defensive tackle, is 6-3, 293 pounds; he bench presses 275 pounds while squatting 350. Crockett (6-0, 280), is undersized for a nose tackle – and took to Twitter to thank “every coach that passed me over because of my height.” A team captain who tallied 32 tackles and four sacks, Crockett runs the 40-yard dash in 5.0 seconds and bench presses 265 pounds.

Ratliff (6-2, 210) led Scotland County with 61 total tackles and seven sacks as the Scots advanced to the N.C. 4A finals, where they lost to Harding.  He has been timed at 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash and vertical leap measured at 36 inches.

Harrison and Phillips add size to the secondary, which loses starter Daryl Napper to graduation. Harrison, who tallied 14 tackles in 2017, has been clocked at 4.58 seconds in the 40-yard dash, bench presses 275 pounds and squats 435. Phillips (6-0, 175) also played free safety.



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