VALDOSTA -- Three Lowndes High Viking seniors parlayed a state championship in 2004 into a college football scholarship in 2005 Friday.
Two of the Vikings, Brandon Moore and Marlon Jones, are taking their talents out of state, while one, Pat Bradley, is moving from a state champion to a national champion. Jones (Cumberland College), Moore (Panhandle State) and Bradley ( Valdosta State) signed letters of intent Friday in the Lowndes High fieldhouse.
Jones (5-foot-10, 195 pounds) inked with Cumberland College in Williamsburg, Ky., a NAIA school that led the private school nation in rushing yardage last season.
"The coaches were straightforward with me, they had heard a lot about me and they were pretty interested," said Jones, who ran for 594 yards and six touchdowns in '04. "I might get homesick but I'm going to tough it out."
Jones, primarily a fullback in Lowndes' wing-T offense, won't have to change much. He says Cumberland wants him to play either at fullback or tailback in the Patriots' flexbone scheme. Vikings' head coach Randy McPherson also said Cumberland coaches want Jones to play right away.
Jones joins Cook High's Cedric Mason and Quitman's Lawrence McGee at Cumberland.
Moore, a defensive tackle in '04 at Lowndes, is expected to revert back to his old position at offensive guard after signing with Oklahoma Panhadle State Friday. Moore took the long trip to Goodwell, Okla., earlier this year with tackles and tight ends coach James Brown.
"I know it's in the middle of nowhere, it's windy and it's flat," Moore said of the Division II school, located in the panhandle of Oklahoma, just miles off the borders of Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and Kansas.
Moore said he prefers the straight ahead blocking style of the Charging Aggies, who also run the flexbone offense. Panhandle State is one of seven independent schools in Division II football.
Unlike his aforementioned teammates, Bradley chose to stay home and play for defending Division II national champ Valdosta State, where he'll team with fellow Viking Bryan Sermons, who signed with the Blazers in February.
"They've got a good program," Bradley said. "I'm leaving a good program so I might as well go to a better program."
Bradley, who started at offensive guard for the state champs in '04, said he likely will play defensive tackle or defensive end at Valdosta State, which prefers physical, quick defensive linemen. Bradley won't get a full ride with the Blazers, but several of his school costs will be paid for through his scholarship offer.
Eight players from Lowndes' 11-member senior football class have now signed letters of intent with colleges.
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