Oxford’s talented trio of seniors will be able to call one another teammates for at least another two seasons.
During Monday’s announcement show at Irie on the Square, receiver Robert Liggins, defensive lineman K.C. Lamar and running back Mont Dean announced they plan to sign with Northwest Community College on Wednesday.
Following the announcement, the trio were all smiles as they discussed their decisions.
“I just wanted to go up there, be close to the family and I wanted to go with Mont and K.C. because I’ve played with them and they’re like brothers,” said Robert Liggins, who hauled in 15 passes for 365 yards and eight touchdowns during his senior campaign. “They need some receivers and I’m looking at coming in and playing as the X receiver.”
Dean’s immediate family weighed heavily into his decision.
“I have a daughter and I wanted to be closer to her,” said the normally soft-spoken Dean of his daughter Madison.
While it’s nice to have a previous relationship with teammates, Lamar said each player came to his own conclusion.
“We were all going to go play hard whether we were together or not,” he said.
Oxford coach Johnny Hill raved about his three players following Monday’s announcement.
And rightfully so, especially of Dean, who rushed for 1,683 yards and 23 touchdowns as a senior and became Oxford’s all-time leading rusher this season.
“Mont is an unbelievable young running back. He can catch. He has a great football knowledge. He knows where the gaps are and uses his strength, power and his speed,” he said. “It’s something you can’t teach, that just comes in with him when the doctor slapped him on the tail and said he’s a football player. He could start at linebacker. He’ll hit you.
“He’s a smart person and great player and we’re going to miss him. He’s one of the top running backs I’ve ever coached and a great kid, too.”
Dean’s low center of gravity allows him to punish tacklers.
“When you hit him it’s going to hurt and then you’re going to have to hit him the next time,” Hill said. “It’s tough. I’m glad he’s on my side and I didn’t have to try to tackle him.”
At 6-foot-3, Liggins possesses the ideal receiver frame.
“If you put him at wideout with that kind of speed and height, you know you’re going to have somebody that will block, too,” Hill said. “He can play tight end, inside receiver and outside receiver. I’ve seen him make circus catches and then I’ve seen him drop a few.
“He’s a good athlete and his best ball is in front of him.”
Lamar’s dedication and tireless work ethic are what stood out most to Hill.
“He’s a good athlete. He’s probably our team leader,” Hill said. “He’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever coached. When he left football practice he’d go work at a job until 11, come back, go to school, come back to football and then go back to work. He has a no-quit attitude.”
On the football field, Lamar also proved to be a valuable asset.
“He played nose tackle for us and I know 67 tackles doesn’t sound like a lot, but at nose tackle he was sideline to sideline and played hard every play,” Hill said. “He’s going to do his job.” (January 31, 2012, Page 9)