Charles Cross in action vs. Ole Miss during 2021 Egg Bowl.

The Seattle Seahawks selected Charles Cross with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft on Thursday night. The former Laurel standout is the first first-round NFL draft pick from a school in Jones County.

"It's been exciting to watch him progress," said former Laurel head coach Todd Breland. "I could not be more proud of him. He's earned everything coming to him.

“When he was playing for me at Laurel, he was just Charles Cross to us. He was a great player who didn’t think of himself as any better or worst than anyone else in the field house.”

Breland said even then; that he knew Cross was destined for great things.

"You knew something special would happen for him," said Breland. "We've had several players drafted over the years, but with Cross, he's a generational player. Most coaches never get a guy like Cross."

Cross committed to Mississippi State on December 9, 2018, as a five-star offensive tackle per Rivals and 247Sports, and later signed with the Bulldogs as part of its 2019 class. Cross was listed as the No. 1 prospect in Mississippi by Rivals and 247Sports. He played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

At Mississippi State, Cross appeared in three games (Southern Miss, Kansas State, and Texas A&M) as a redshirt freshman in 2019. The following year, he became a full-time starter for the Bulldogs, starting in 10 games — one of 26 Bulldogs to make their first career start in 2020.

In 2021, Cross started all 12 games at left tackle — not allowing a single pressure at quarterback from his position.

His accolades at Mississippi State include the following: 2020 Freshman All-SEC (Coaches), 2021 SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week (NC State, Vanderbilt), 2021 Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame Kent Hull Trophy Winner, 2021 Second Team All-SEC (Phil Steele), 2021 First Team All-SEC (Coaches, Associated Press, PFF), and 2021 First Team All-American (ESPN, Sporting News).