BOONEVILLE — Jonathan Webster is returning to Northeast Mississippi Community College to begin the next chapter of his professional journey.
Webster, who has 14 years of experience as both a student-athlete and coach in the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC), is the new defensive coordinator for the Tigers.
“I think he’ll do a wonderful job,” said Northeast head coach Greg Davis. “What he brings to the table as far as his character, his work ethic, the way he recruits and the way he handles himself is excellent.
“We feel like he’s of great value to our program. He knows what it takes to win in this league. We understand each other and we definitely have respect for each other. I think he’ll do a wonderful job.”
Webster was previously the Tigers’ defensive backs instructor from 2012-13. He comes back to the Booneville campus after serving in the same capacity for the past six seasons at Northwest Mississippi Community College.
The Batesville native opened his coaching career at Southwest Mississippi Community College in 2009. This is the first time that Webster has held a coordinator position.
“I’m really excited about this opportunity. Having the title of defensive coordinator is something that I have dreamed about for a long time,” Webster said. “We have something great here. From top to bottom, I think this is a great place to be.
“One of the things that I want to focus on is making sure that our defense is sound in all areas. What we want to try to do is be extremely fast and extremely physical, but above all we want to be smart. I want guys that understand what we can and can’t allow. We want to make sure that we force opponents into doing some things that they don’t want to do.”
Webster played an integral part in Northwest’s success over the last several years. That includes the 2015 campaign in which the Rangers won both the MACJC and national championships.
Northwest qualified for the state playoffs during each season that Webster was on its staff. The Rangers also appeared in three bowl games, including the 2015 Mississippi Bowl, the 2016 C.H.A.M.P.S. Heart of Texas Bowl and the 2017 Graphic Edge Bowl.
Four of Webster’s former players at Northwest have signed contracts with National Football League (NFL) franchises, including 2017 fifth round draft pick Treston DeCoud with the Houston Texans.
Most recently Josh Norwood inked an undrafted free agent (UDFA) deal with the Seattle Seahawks. Wesley Bush and Marcel Newson also spent time in training camps with the New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers, respectively.
Four Rangers earned National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-American honors while under the tutelage of Webster, including Brandin Echols, Tito Windham, DeCoud and Norwood.
A total of 25 defensive backs from Northwest advanced to four-year institutions after learning from Webster. They include Power Five signees Kaleb Chalmers to the University of South Carolina, Marlon Character, Jr., to the University of Louisville (Ky.), Cam White to Texas Tech University, DeCoud to Oregon State University, Echols to the University of Kentucky and Norwood to West Virginia University.
Webster’s units at Northwest were consistently among the best in the entire country. The Rangers’ secondary combined for 69 interceptions, 187 pass break ups, 24 forced fumbles and 10 blocked kicks during his stay in Senatobia.
Several talented athletes such as MACJC All-State selections Dequinten Spraggins and Brian Walker starred for Webster during his previous stint in the City of Hospitality.
Walker averaged 5.2 tackles per game during the 2012 campaign while Spraggins finished third on the team in both takedowns with 51 and pass break ups with six one year later.
Spraggins and Walker were among five Northeast players that were instructed by Webster to sign scholarships. That list includes Martice Buckley to Missouri Southern State University, Gregdrecus Leland to the University of West Alabama, Jaquille White to the University of Tennessee at Martin, Spraggins to Murray State (Ky.) University and Walker to Fort Valley State (Ga.) University.
Webster’s tenure at Southwest was highlighted by his very first group of cornerbacks and safeties that racked up 19 interceptions. Jeremy Ratliff guided that effort and led the NJCAA with 10 picks in only eight contests.
The South Panola High School graduate has honed his craft in the NFL himself. Webster was twice accepted into the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship program with the Atlanta Falcons and the San Diego Chargers.
Webster got his inaugural taste of the pro ranks in 2014 by spending three weeks with the Chargers. He worked with their special teams and cornerbacks units and was on the sidelines for San Diego’s preseason triumph over the Dallas Cowboys.
He returned to the NFL during the summers of 2017-18 with the Falcons. Webster was assigned by headman Dan Quinn to assist with multiple defensive positions while also helping with film breakdown and preparations for a pair of preseason games against the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets.
Webster was a decorated student-athlete as well at both Northwest and Arkansas Tech University. The Rangers went a combined 15-4 and were nationally ranked by the NJCAA during both of his years on the roster.
He was Northwest’s defensive most valuable player (MVP) during his sophomore campaign. Webster was also a member of the Rangers’ MACJC North Division championship team as a freshman in 2003.
Webster was twice tabbed as a Gulf South Conference (GSC) Academic Honor Roll and College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District honoree while with the Wonder Boys. He was named to the National Football Foundation (NFF) Hampshire Honor Society as well in 2008.
He tallied 234 tackles, 29 pass break ups and four interceptions between his stops at Arkansas Tech and Northwest. He placed second for the Wonder Boys during his senior season with 79 stops.
Webster has received a Bachelor’s degree from Arkansas Tech and a Master’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi. He and his wife Bridget have three children, Kenadie, Kaleb and Nori.