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Monroe's Jackson, Whitfield choose college futures

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY -- Larry Whitfield isn't sure what side of the football he'll play on next season.

But Monday, he announced what uniform he will be wearing.

Whitfield inked his national letter-of-intent to Albany State at the school Monday in a signing ceremony in which he shared the spotlight with Lady Tornadoes track star, Lakeisha Jackson, who announced her decision to attend FAMU for track & field.

"I really wanted to leave home and go somewhere outside of Albany, but when Albany State offered I changed my mind," said Whitfield, who led the Tornadoes on both sides of the ball last season with 16 sacks at defensive end and eight touchdown catches at tight end. "I figured this is where God wanted me to be, so I'm ready to (be a Ram)."

And Monroe coach Charles Truitt is happy he won't have to go far to see one of his stars play at the next level.

"It's always great to see a local kid go on to play for Albany State -- especially someone as versatile as Larry. I think he can really help them," Truitt said. "Plus, hopefully if he does well, it will open up the doors for other Monroe kids to join him there."

Whitfield, a Herald All-Area and All-Metro selection, caught 32 passes for 630 yards last season, but says he isn't sure where ASU will play him.

"They said they need help on both sides," Whitfield said. "They're talking linebacker, or receiver. But if it was up to me, I'd play defense."

Jackson, the reigning GHSA Class AAA state champ in the 100 hurdles, could end up running the heptathlon at FAMU -- an event that Monroe coach Octavia Jones says she born for.

"She can sprint, she can hurdle and she can jump as good as they come," Jones said. "I'd think she'd be outstanding doing that for FAMU."

Jackson says she's open to "whatever -- as long as I help the team."

"I loved the school, the people and they really made me feel at home -- so I'll do whatever they ask me to do," said Jackson, also a star for the Lady Tornadoes' basketball team, although she will have to give that sport up once she gets to Tallahassee. "I'd love to play both, but with an indoor and outdoor track season, I'll be too busy."

Jones added he's glad Jackson decided early.

"I told her she didn't need to decide now, but that if she did, the pressure would be off and she could enjoy her senior season," said the coach, whose girls team -- paced by Jackson a year ago -- won the GHSA Class AAA State Championship.