Tyler Junior College’s league-leading wide receiver and a Jacksonville native, Jeremey Chappelle put his name on the dotted line Wednesday morning at the Tyler Junior College field house, inking a national letter-of-intent to Mississippi State.
A standout at Jacksonville and Bullard Brook Hill, Chappelle redshirted for one season at TJC before earning all-conference honors this past season. He led the Southwest Junior College Football Conference with 60 receptions for 801 yards and 10 touchdowns. All of this despite missing two games because of injury.
Now he gets to ply those skills in the SEC for the Bulldogs.
“I loved the school; it’s really pretty there, but I liked the way the coaches treated me the most,” said Chappell, who chose Mississippi State over opportunities at Louisiana Tech, West Virginia, Houston and Texas A&M.
The Apaches went 5-5 before losing in the conference semifinals this past season 37-35 to eventual champion Northeast Oklahoma. Chappelle had six catches for 121-plus yards and two scores in that game.
Mississippi State finished 8-4 and accepted an invitation to the Gator Bowl on New Year’s Day. The Bulldogs will face Northwestern.
After a visit to the Starkville campus, it was not Chappelle alone that made his decision, but some input from his best friend and mother Veronica Hunter.
“First of all, my Mama loved (Mississippi State), and said she felt like she was at home,” Chappelle said about his recent visit to the SEC school. “And if my Uncle Stacy had been there I know he would’ve loved it too. Those two things just made it even better, and once I put the jersey on I just felt like that was the place for me.
Chappelle added the way the coaches and other players treated him while he was visiting played a role in his choice.
“They acted like they really wanted me,” said Chappelle, who will depart for Starkville, Miss., on Jan. 4. “Everything about the trip was good.”
The playing time for the Bulldogs should come quick for the lanky speedster, with the departure of five Bulldog wide receivers to graduation.
“MSU was looking to go the JUCO route to come in and (get someone who could) play right away,” Chappelle said. “So they came and got me, and I’m going into it to start.”
Chappelle said the friends he made at TJC trumped any of his exploits on the field.
“Meeting my brothers Tracy Smith, Ja’Vonte Mack, Tyrik Rollison, and Marquise Smith; we went through it at all together on and off the field,” Chappelle said while grinning in front of those in attendance at his signing.
“We were called the ‘Bomb Squad,’ Jeremey bragged on his teammates, “Just ask our opponents why we call ourselves that.
TJC coach Danny Palmer said Mississippi State is getting a dynamic player.
“One of the biggest privileges I have had to coach in college football has been my relationship with Jeremey Chappelle,” said Palmer. “And watching him grow here at TJC and what I was really proud of was finishing and graduating, re-setting his priorities and following through on the things he set out to do.
“What a tremendous competitor and he always played better in a game than you anticipated him playing; a fierce competitor and an unbelievable hard worker and it’s all paying off.”
Chappelle hopes to pursue a coaching career after receiving kinesiology degree at MSU in two years.