Monroe star Mims headed to Bellhaven

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY -- Justin Mims was in middle school the first time he heard it. He didn't like it then, doesn't like it now,

"People always told me I was too little to play college football,'' he said. "When I first heard it, it upset me. I wanted to prove them wrong.''

He has.

Tuesday morning in front of friends and family, including his mother Jackie Lockett and father Berniel Lockett, in a celebration covered in Monroe green and gold, Mims signed a scholarship to play football at Bellhaven College in Jackson, Miss. Mims had some other offers, but Bellhaven had that Goldilocks feel to it -- not too big, not too small, but just right.

Like Mims himself, who proved he could play free safety at Monroe, and play it well. He grew up playing running back but switched to defense because "I like to hit,'' he said.

Mims, who stands at 5-foot-11 and weighs 156 pounds, made up for his lack of beef with his quickness and toughness. He picked off four interceptions and made 43 tackles as a senior, and was a solid piece to the Tornadoes' defense. He wants to hit some more in college, and then spend a career mending athletes.

"I'm going to major in sports medicine,'' said Mims, who chose Bellhaven because of its comfortable feel. "It's not too big, or too small. It has a good environment. I felt good there.''

Mims also plays third base for Monroe, and he has already stolen 20 bases this spring, including 10 in one game. He plans to take a bat and glove with him to Jackson.

"I still like baseball and plan on walking on at (Bellhaven),'' he said. "But it feels good to prove everybody wrong. I worked hard to prove them wrong.''