STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State track and field coach Al Schmidt has announced the signing of four-student athletes that will be incoming freshmen in August.
They are Marcus Jackson of J.Z. George in Carrollton, Miss., Randy Patterson of Newburgh Free Academy in Newburgh, N.Y., Brian Holmes of Alexander High School in Douglasville, Ga., and Ericka Robinson of Clinton High School in Clinton, Miss.
The 6-foot-6, 185-pound Jackson won the Class 2A high jump crown both in 2009 and 2010 and set the overall state high jump record this past May with a leap of 7-02.25, which stands fifth nationally. The four-time All-State track and field athlete also won the Class 2A triple jump title, while his J.Z. George teams won the 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 state crowns. The 2010 Pop Star State Track and Field Athlete of the Year also played basketball.
"Mississippi State is always where I wanted to go," he said. "It was an easy decision, and I can't wait to get there."
As a sprinter, Patterson certainly made a name for himself in the New York high school ranks. During the indoor season, he was clocked at 1:19.92 in the 600 meters, the second-fastest time in the nation, and in early May, he won the 400 at the Loucks games at 47.62. He also runs the 200, with a personal best of 21.72, and is the anchor on his 4x400 team.
"With Randy, you're getting a versatile athlete that can immediately make an impact," Newburgh coach Malcolm Burks said. "He's a great pickup for Mississippi State."
As a standout at Clinton, Robinson won the state championship in the long jump in both 2009 and 2010 and was on the relay team that won the 4x200 crown. She is also a two-time runner-up in the high jump and also finished second in the triple jump. She owns a personal best of 19-04 in the long jump and 5-06 in the high jump. In addition, she was a standout basketball player that was a 2010 McDonald's All-American nominee and a three-time All-Metro selection.
"Ericka is not only an outstanding jumper, she is an exceptional athlete," MSU assistant coach Bryan Fetzer said. "We are so excited to have the opportunity for her to join our team. She has the ability to continue the recent success we have had in the jumps."
A four-year standout for the Cougars who's evolved into one of the nation's top hurdlers, Holmes won the Class 4A crown in both the 110 and 300 with times of 14.17 and 47.12, respectively. His time in the 300 currently ranks 11th in the country. He led his team to regional titles in three of his four years. As a junior, the 5-9, 185-pound Holmes finished second in the state in the two hurdle events. He finished as the school's all-time leading track scorer and was also a standout defensive back for the Cougars' football team.
"We are excited about adding an athlete as talented and accomplished as Brian," Bulldogs assistant coach Steve Dudley said. "His achievements both in the classroom and track are at a SEC level. We look forward in helping him continue that success at Mississippi State University."
The MSU track team is coming off one of its most successful seasons ever. The men finished the NCAA Track & Field Outdoor Championships 17th, while the women placed 41st. Overall, nine All-American honors were awarded.
"They players we signed are the type that can come in and make us even better immediately," Schmidt said. "Our future is very bright.