Starkville opens the season at No. 1 in our preseason rankings. Here is a look at the Yellowjackets with a few comments from Coach Jones from this summer.
No. 1: Starkville Yellowjackets
Head Coach: Chris Jones
2018 Record: 11-2 (Class 6A Second Round)
Starters Returning: Offense: 4 Defense: 3
Players to Watch: QB Luke Altmyer; RB Amariyan Howard; WR Rufus Harvey; DL Jaylan Ware; LB Keyshawn Lawrence; FS Khiry Gee.
Coach Speak: “Every year for us it is to get to the state championship and last year we lost to a good football team in Horn Lake. We had 15 players sign scholarships to play at the next level. This is year three for me and we have a group of guys that have been waiting their turn. We got a good one at quarterback. He leads this team and his best days are ahead of him. Defensively we lost some good ones, but we have guys that played last year that just didn’t start and have a chance to be really good,” Jones said.
Outlook: Yes, the Yellowjackets only return seven starters and lost some big-name players, but Yellowjacket fans shouldn’t worry. Starkville has players who have been waiting their turn, especially on defense. Starkville returns Luke Altmyer at quarterback who passed for 1,952 yards with 19 touchdowns. Altmyer is one of the South’s top junior quarterback prospects. Promising junior running back Amariyon Howard will take over to lead the ground game along with Lazavier Evans. Rufus Harvey is the top receiver returning for the Jackets. Defensively is where Starkville took a hit with the losses of Zach Edwards and Jalil Clemons among others. Linebackers Keyshawn Lawrence and defensive tackle Jaylan Ware are back to anchor the front seven, while free safety Khiry Gee will anchor an inexperience secondary.
Season Opener: Aug. 23 at Brandon