By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

Family, players and coaches celebrated Wednesday morning as Trousdale County senior Keyvont Baines signed a football scholarship with Southwest Mississippi Community College.

Baines, a four-year starter for the Yellow Jackets, helped lead Trousdale County to a runner-up finish in the Class 2A BlueCross Bowl. After missing the first seven games of the season because of a suspension, Baines finished with 739 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns on 118 carries (6.3 yards per carry), and was 21-of-40 passing with four touchdowns and three interceptions.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Keyvont Baines, center, gets a hug from his grandmother, Jessica Harper, after signing Wednesday with Southwest Mississippi Community College. Also pictured from left are Baines’ godmother Baketia Gooch, mother Kimberly Tooley and godfather Greg Vaught.

On defense, Baines intercepted three passes and was named a consensus all-state performer at defensive back.

Baines also was an all-state selection as a junior after rushing for over 1,000 yards in 2017 and as a sophomore was the region’s Special Teams Player of the Year.

“It’s very exciting because some people don’t get to play at the next level,” Baines said. “I worked all my high school career to get to this level, so I’m very happy.”

Baines said he was recruited to play defense at Southwest Mississippi, which is located in Summit, Miss., about nine hours from Hartsville.

“I’m playing corner out there,” Baines said. “I would have like to play offense, but I think my better chances of making it somewhere bigger are to play corner.”

Trousdale County assistant coach Davy Cothron praised Baines’ work ethic and ability on the football field.

“His freakish, natural God-given ability has always been there. He was pretty easy to coach. You just help him make the right decisions on the field and let his natural instincts take over. He’s just a great athlete,” Cothron said.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.