MILLEDGEVILLE — A talented John Milledge Academy football player officially earned a college roster spot Wednesday.
JMA senior Vince McPherson signed a National Letter of Intent to join the Valparaiso University Crusaders this fall.
Trojan head football coach J.T. Wall said McPherson, who played both defensive back and wide receiver this past season, deserved the recognition.
“We loved having him here and look for great things in the future from him,” Wall said.
McPherson tallied 45 total tackles with two interceptions in 2013. His numbers weren't quite as popping considering he was JMA's No. 1 receiver on the other side.
Offensively, McPherson caught 11 balls for four touchdowns, nearly averaging 20 yards per grab.
The Valparaiso signee has experience at safety, linebacker and cornerback for JMA.
“That's one thing they saw on film. (Vince) is very versatile as far as playing multiple positions,” Wall said. “His potential is out of the roof.”
Wall said his former player was “an explosive guy,” who earned the Iron Trojan award for his physical conditioning prowess. McPherson added over 10 pounds of muscle from his junior to senior year.
The JMA coach predicted McPherson could make a freshman impact on special teams based on his skill set.
“If I go up there and work hard, I should be able to touch the field,” McPherson said Wednesday.
Attending multiple summer camps and combines at Furman, Georgia Southern, Princeton and the University of Georgia raised college exposure.
“It was hectic at first,” the future Crusader said. “We've been a lot of places.”
He said the main message from various college coaches centered around the importance of time management.
The work paid dividends when the right northern fit came along.
A move from the typical Georgia climate to real Indiana winters won't phase the senior. He and family experience true snow on a recruiting visit.
Despite any weather, McPherson fell in love with the campus and experience offered.
“It's a place where I could get a world class education and be able to play Division-I football,” McPherson said.
The JMA student-athlete said the Crusader coaching staff was “family oriented.”
Valparaiso defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach Ernest Moore recruited McPherson and sent a message Wednesday. The coach said McPherson would fit nicely at the safety position for their college scheme.
“Vince has proven he can compete at the FCS level,” Moore said.
The defensive coach mentioned the JMA signee as “charismatic on the field.”
Valparaiso competes in the Pioneer Football League. The Crusaders struggled to a one-win season last year.
The new signee wants to alter that course.
“I'm not going up there to lose,” McPherson said. “Hopefully, we can go up and change things around.”
The newly minted college football player chose to spend his final two high school years at JMA. Coming from Washington County, he said the school made the transition easy.
“I came over and with Coach Wall we got right to business playing football,” McPherson said. “It was worth it coming over. He made me a better person and a better athlete.”
Wall said the JMA coaching staff wants to do everything possible to assist student-athletes with there collegiate athletic dreams.
“It's a pat on the back for the school and the football program,” he said. “We hope (McPherson) goes up there and shows out.”
The JMA senior plans to major in exercise science and possibly become a chiropractor.