Over the past few seasons, the Rockmart Yellow Jacket football team has enjoyed plenty of success on the field.
In return for their hard work, many Rockmart players have had the opportunity to continue their careers at the next level. According to Rockmart High School recruiting coordinator Andre Clark, there will be 13 Rockmart products on college football rosters this year.
Cam Jones was a great talent for the Rockmart High School football team. Though he was undersized, the 5-foot-6 tailback helped start the program’s resurgence during coach Biff Parson’s first year at the helm.
Jones signed to play football with NAIA Reinhardt University in Waleska, where he will be a senior this season. Cam earned his first action for the Eagles last year when he played in four games, gaining 24 rushing yards on four carries. Jones will try to earn playing time in his final year at Reinhardt.
Cameron Jones is not the only former Yellow Jacket with a home in Cherokee County. Former Rockmart offensive lineman Cade Holder is also a member of the Eagles football team. After graduating from Rockmart in 2018, he signed to take his talents to Reinhardt University, a member of the Appalachian Athletic Conference.
Like his former high school teammate, Holder has not found much playing time in Waleska. He was able to log playing time in one game as a redshirt freshman last year though, so Holder will try to crack the starting lineup as a redshirt sophomore in 2020.
Jay Hinkle, a disruptive defensive lineman at Rockmart High School, signed with Notre Dame College of South Euclid, Ohio, when he graduated in 2018. The Division II Falcons celebrated Hinkle and his fellow signees in 2018, calling it their “best signing class in school history.”
Hinkle has mostly played in a reserve role in his time at Notre Dame College. The Rockmart product recorded one tackle in two games last season. The Falcons enjoyed a 12-2 (9-1) season in 2019 and they have constantly been the class of the Mountain East Conference in Jay’s time there. As a redshirt sophomore in 2020, Hinkle is setting his sights for a starting role.
Noah Hughes was considered one of the best kickers in the state of Georgia when he graduated from Rockmart High School in 2019. Hughes initially signed with Reinhardt University but transferred to Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont, for the upcoming season.
Hughes did not receive any playing time in his one season at Reinhardt and, unfortunately, it appears that trend will continue for Noah in 2020. Norwich announced on July 15 they were cancelling all fall sports, so it appears Hughes will have to wait longer before he is called on in a college football game.
Rockmart fans will remember Markus Smith as one of the key parts of the 2018 Yellow Jackets squad that flew all the way to the state championship game. After earning All-Region, All-Area, and All-State honors as a senior, Smith elected to attend Division II Lenior-Rhyne University in Hickory, N.C.
The one-time Region 7-AA Player of the Year did not stay at Lenoir-Rhyne for long. After rushing for 63 yards on 11 carries as a freshman for the Bears in 2019, Smith stated in November that he was transferring from the program. Smith has not yet announced his transfer destination, but coach Clark said that Smith is still planning on pursuing football at the next level.
Chandler Cooper was a standout at wide receiver for the Rockmart Yellow Jackets prior to him graduating in 2019. Though he did not receive many offers, the 6-1 athlete decided to attend Doane University in Crete, Nebraska, where he was a freshman last year.
The Tigers, which compete in the NAIA’s Great Plains Athletic Conference, completed a 4-7 (4-5) season in 2019. Cooper was unable to find the playing field last season, but will try to make it onto the field as a sophomore this fall.
Deacon Allen, a 2020 graduate of Rockmart High School, became the first Jacket to sign with a Division I school in quite some time when he enrolled at Akron University in Ohio. Allen was considered a two-star prospect by 247Sports and was one of the top interior defensive lineman in Georgia’s Class AA.
Along with his numerous All-Region and All-State honors for football, he was a valuable member of the Rockmart wrestling and track teams. Since the Zips were winless last year, many analysts expect the 6-1, 320-pounder to earn playing time as a freshman this fall.
Juke Boozer was the highest ranked prospect from Rockmart High School in recent memory. Rated as a three-star athlete by 247Sports, Boozer held offers from Division I programs like Appalachian State, Syracuse and Virginia. In the end, the basketball and football phenom elected to attend East Central Community College in Decatur, Mississippi, where he will be a member of the Warriors’ football team.
There will be no shortage of tough competition for Boozer in their conference, as he will meet teams like five-time NJCAA national champion East Mississippi Community College of “Last Chance U” fame.
Reed Couch signed with the Berry College Vikings earlier this spring. Couch, a two-star tight end, was a member of the basketball, baseball, and football teams at Rockmart High School. He signed to continue his academic and athletic career just up the road. The Berry coaching staff expects Couch to transform into another big-time Viking receiver in the coming years.
Three Rockmart products will be freshmen at Division III Hanover College in Indiana this fall. Defensive lineman Jamal Thompson, offensive lineman Matthew Waddell, and running back Mekhi Floyd are all joining a powerhouse Panthers squad coming off a season in which they won the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. Each will try to make it onto the field in 2020.
Jourdan Rachel, an offensive and defensive lineman, will be a freshman at Concordia University Chicago in Illinois. The two-way star was an integral part of the Jackets over the past few seasons and helped block for many of the great Rockmart rushers in the Biff Parson era. Rachel now heads to the Windy City where he will be a member of the Division III Cougars.