Monticello’s Lenorris Footman sets record at Alcorn University

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 1.19.54 PMLynette Norris
ECB Publishing, Inc.

It seems Lenorris Footman has been on a roll since at least 2011, and possibly long before that. That year, he was a junior at Jefferson County Middle High School and quarterback for the Tigers; his older brother Alphonso was playing running back/free safety. That year, the JCMHS Tigers won the State 1A Division Football Championship. Three years later, playing back-up quarterback for the Alcorn University Braves of Lorman, MS, he was again part of a championship game when the Braves beat the Southern University Jaguars in 2014 and took the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Championship. University officials described the 2014 season as “historic” for Alcorn. Now, in 2015, the roll continues as Alcorn’s Footman earns accolades from his coaches as well as from the Southwestern Athletic Conference, setting a new record along the way. On October 31, playing against the Southern University Jaguars once again, the Braves beat the Southern University Jaguars 48-7. Déjà vu all over again, right? In a way, yes – they beat the Jaguars again – but this time around, it was so much more. Picture it: Halloween evening at the A.W. Mumford Stadium in Baton Rouge, in a game already delayed by lightning. The Braves’ talented starting quarterback, senior John Gibbs, Jr., was injured on the second play of the first quarter. Normally, this would have been quite a blow to a team, to lose a star quarterback with the game barely started, but this was no problem for the Braves. Footman stepped in and played virtually the entire game, doing much more than lead his team to victory; he set a new record (the previous record was set in 1998 by Rodney Thomas) at Alcorn State for most yards rushed by a quarterback in a single game – 274 yards on 16 carries, including a 60-yard run in the fourth quarter. In ESPN’s College Football Nation blog, Braves Coach Jay Hopson has words of high praise for his sophomore quarterback’s performance. “Lenorris is a young man who is going to be a great football player,” he said. “We’re very fortunate, when our quarterback went down, to have two players of that caliber. We’re blessed in that regard. He’s an excellent player. He’s a student of the game. He can throw. He can run. He can do it all.” (Donald Hunt, “Alcorn State backup QB Lenorris Footman makes it look easy,” http://espn. go.com). During the course of that October 31 game, through a driving rainstorm at one point, Footman rushed for four touchdowns and passed for two more. The Jaguars were tricked and the Braves were treated to a sweet victory. On November 2, SWAC announced Footman as its Offensive Player of the Week, as did ESPN.com and BOXTOROW.com Of course, it didn’t all “just happen.” Footman had put in many, many years of hard work and practice before that night, before the SWAC Championship last season, and long before the JCMHS Tigers State 1A Championship in 2011. When his chance came, he was ready. “I try to be prepared for when things like this happen,” he said of that night. “Coaches always say, ‘You’re one play away so you have to be prepared,’ so I was just prepared to execute. I’m just really thankful for (my performance,) but all the credit goes to those other 10 guys out there with me.” (Mike Gegenheimer, The Advocate, “Alcorn backup QB Lenorris Footman erupts in a 48-7 win over Southern,” http://theadvocate.com). And, as any talented athlete knows, there will always be setbacks and losses, as was the case with the following week’s game against Prairie View A&M. In another pelting rainstorm, after the Prairie View Aggies took an early lead of 19-0, Footman’s two running touchdowns of 36 yards and 52 yards cut the lead to 14-19. Altogether, he rushed for 220 yards and passed for another 143, resulting in two more touchdowns, but ultimately, it was not to be. Prairie View prevailed, 40-34. To add another layer to the story, Prairie View’s head coach Willie Simmons was, until this season, the offensive coordinator for Alcorn…and it was Simmons who recruited Footman for Alcorn. Coaches Simmons and Hopson remain friends, rooting for each other’s teams most of the season, but when they play each other, the competition will always be fierce, with both sides working very hard to beat the other. However, if there’s one thing they can both agree on, it’s that Lenorris Footman is a player to watch. He has an extraordinary, well-honed talent, he plays to win, and higher-ups in the world of college football are beginning to sit up and take notice. And with very good reason. The very next weekend, with Footman as the starting quarterback, Alcorn beat Texas Southern University with a score of 65-13. Footman ran for two touchdowns and passed for two more. With a total of 185 yards passing and 75 yards rushing. All of this bodes very well indeed for the young man from Monticello who hopes to play professional football someday, as he once stated in an interview this past spring with The Monticello News. If that happens, does he have a favorite team he’d like to play for? Well, as he said back then, “Whatever team picks me…that’ll be my favorite team.” With two photos in Digital Photos In Lynette’s Digital Photos folder 11-13-15 #1446603842531 (second image, the one with reddish background) In Lynette’s Digital Photos folder 3-9-15 #6637 (crop to just head and shoulders shot) CUTLINE: Lenorris Footman