Two Laurel Golden Tornado standouts signed their LOI Wednesday morning in front of their family and friends, with another former Laurel standout headed to the next level after a successful career at Gulf Coast Community College.

“I want to express how proud we are of these three young men,” said Laurel head football coach Ryan Earnest. “They are great ambassadors for our football program and great ambassadors for our high school, school district, and city. That is a direct reflection of their parents.”

“There aren’t enough superlatives to describe what these three guys have meant to this program. Xavier has gone on to play JUCO football and I believe Tuskegee University is getting a steal with him as an athlete of his caliber. I’m excited to see what he’s going to do there. Malik and Malachi are two of the best offensive linemen this school has ever seen. We are excited about what the future holds for them because they weren't just great players for us, they were great ambassadors of this entire city. They are both December graduates, so they will be on a college campus come January. To take care of themselves both academically and athletically sends the right message to future players that this is doable and attainable,” continued Earnest.

Three-star offensive lineman Malik Ellis was one of the three to sign, as he put the pen to paper to play for the Bulldogs of Mississippi State. Ellis is a Principal’s List Scholar and participates in Tornado Track and Field. For his football talents, he was awarded 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 First-Team All-Region 3-5A honors, 2021 and 2022 First-Team Mississippi Association of Coaches Class 5A All-State honors, Clarion Ledger Second-Team All-State in 2021, and was named to the Clarion Ledger’s 2022 Dandy Dozen.

“The coaches want me in the program and to put some weight on me. They know I can play and show my athletic ability. I’m excited to join the program,” said Ellis.

“It was a great career here. I had a great four years with my teammates and to be able to block for Xavier and play alongside Malachi was a great experience,” added Ellis.

Malachi Breland, another three-star lineman, signed his LOI to play for the Memphis Tigers. Ellis is a Principal’s List Scholar and participates in Tornado Track and Field. For his football talents, he was named to the Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Team, 2021 and 2022 First-Team All-Region 3-5A, and 2022 First-Team All-State.

“My first visit was great. Memphis called nearly every day and made sure I was doing ok and even my mom. I felt like Memphis was the place to be. It was a fun, quick experience at Laurel. I started playing in the ninth grade, then, everything got rolling,” said Breland.

Evans signed with Gulf Coast Community College during the 2021 season, then signed his LOI to play at Tuskegee University Wednesday. While at LHS he was a Superintendent’s List Scholar, a two-time recipient of Region 3-5A Player of the Year, and a two-time recipient of First-Team All-Star honors. He was also selected to play in the Bernard Blackwell All-Star Game.

“It is always a blessing to go to the next level,” said Evans. “Not many people make it out of JUCO to the next level, but I made it and I’m thankful for the opportunity.”