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Gateway’s Briggs chooses new Seminoles coaching staff; Messam to continue football career at Kansas JUCO

Posted on Friday, February 9, 2018 at 1:51 pm

By Ken Jackson
Sports Editor

Gateway defensive lineman Dennis Briggs, Jr. continued a string of Panther Football Bowl Subdivision signees on National Signing Day Wednesday when he signed his National Letter of Intent to Florida State.

He was joined Wednesday by line-mate Jeremiya Messam, who signed with Garden City (Kan.) Community College.

L to R: Dennis Briggs, Sr., Dennis Briggs, Shelly Briggs, Coach Marlin Roberts, Jeremiya Messam and Penny Bembry.
News Gazette photo by: Martin Maddock

Briggs is Coach Marlin Roberts’ third FBS signee in the past four years (Isaiah Wharton, Rutgers, 2015; Henry Miller, Pittsburgh, 2016).

Gateway Athletic Director Travis James said Briggs and Messam will be great Panthers ambassadors as a Seminole and a Bronc.

“Athletically and academically they’ve succeeded, by most importantly they are high-character guys,” he said.

Briggs (6-4, 260), ended some uncertainty about his choice last week when he committed to FSU and new head coach Willie Taggart. Jimbo Fisher’s move to Texas A&M gave other schools an opening — Miami, Louisville and South Carolina — but a meeting with Taggart and Seminoles’ defensive line coach Odell Haggins Jan. 26 helped lock him back in.

“I wanted to sign in the early (December) signing period, but with the coaching changes I decided to take the time I had, and it worked out in the long run,” he said. “Being around the new coaches, you could see a family bond, and I wanted to be a part of that.”

Roberts, a South Florida native and huge Hurricane fan, joked about how he could support Briggs — sometimes.

“I told him I’m cheer him every week — except for one,” he said. “But he’s a great kid who loves football and works hard in the classroom. It’s hard to come into major college ball as a defensive end and play right away, but he’s got the size. You can teach the rest.”

Briggs thanked Roberts for his support during his four-year varsity career.

“He showed faith in me in bringing me to varsity as a freshman,” Briggs said. “He also told me the work can’t stop to reach ultimate goals.”

Messam hopes to turn his opportunity, which came about thanks to the game film of his senior year, into an opportunity at a four-year school after three years in the Gateway program.

“At the beginning of the year, I didn’t know if this would happen,” he said.

His mother, Penny Bembry, called the process leading up to Wednesday “nervewracking.”

“The coaches put me at ease, we all worked together to do what was right,” she said.

Roberts called Messam “a great success story.”

“He’s been a blessing, I’ve seen him riding his bike to practice on my way in to school.”