BOONEVILLE, Miss. - The Northeast Mississippi Community College football program has added a well-respected coach to its staff with lifelong ties to the delta region of the Magnolia State.
Cedric Shell, who played collegiately at the NCAA Division I level and has over a decade of coaching experience, has been named as the Tigers' new defensive backs instructor.
"We feel like (Cedric) was a great hire," said Northeast headman Greg Davis. "We're excited to have him because he's going to do a wonderful job out there on the field with our young men. He also understands the talent and the recruiting aspect of our league.
"His character and what he brings to the table absolutely exemplifies what we want. He already had a previous relationship with a majority of our players because he was recruiting those kids in high school. So it's a win-win."
Shell spent the past five years in various roles at Coahoma Community College, including most recently as co-defensive coordinator. He got his professional start in the Midwest at Graceland (Iowa) University and McPherson (Kan.) College.
"I'm really excited to be here. Northeast has a great foundation with success in the past," Shell said. "I'm here to add the knowledge that I know of this league and help out in the backfield. It also helps that I've made some connections with coaches in the area.
"This is a great blessing. It was an opportunity for me for a change. I'm at a great program. I just want (our players) to be better student-athletes. That always counts first because once they leave here their education still has to go on."
Shell's defenses at Coahoma consistently ranked near the top of the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) standings in multiple statistical categories.
His 2017 unit ranked fifth in the state by allowing 351.6 yards per game. The 2016 edition of the Tigers snagged 14 interceptions, which was the second most in the MACJC behind only Northwest Mississippi Community College.
That team featured defensive back Antonio Nelson, who was selected as a first-team All-American by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) after finishing second in the country with eight interceptions.
Nelson also collected NJCAA All-Region 23 and MACJC All-State recognition while under the watch of Shell. He added two fumble recoveries for a total of 10 takeaways that season.
Shell most recently tutored Acieon Hopkins, who was a MACJC All-State recipient at defensive back after posting 17 tackles, four pass break ups and two interceptions during the 2018 campaign at Coahoma.
The Greenville product originally served the Tigers on the opposite side of the pigskin as their offensive coordinator upon his arrival prior to the 2014 season. He taught three MACJC All-State standouts while in that capacity for two years.
K'Shun Evans, who went on to sign with Delta State University, was Shell's first athlete at Coahoma to garner postseason laurels after hauling in 42 catches for over 500 yards and five touchdowns.
Devonta Jones and Marvin Davidson followed in Evans' footsteps one season later. Jones tallied 28 receptions for nearly 400 yards and three scores while Davidson anchored the Tigers' offensive line.
He began his coaching career at McPherson from 2006-11. His duties ranged from working with wide receivers and defensive backs to pass game coordinator and special teams coordinator.
Shell and the Bulldogs reached the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) playoffs in back-to-back campaigns from 2009-10. McPherson compiled a sensational 19-3 record during that two-year stretch.
He helped the Bulldogs capture the 2010 Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) championship after completing an undefeated regular season. It was the first league title for McPherson, which earned a final national ranking of No. 12 from the NAIA, since 1952.
Shell's final stop before moving back to his native state was at Graceland. He was the wide receivers coach and special teams coordinator for the Yellowjackets of the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) from 2012-13.
Raysean Brown was a two-time All-HAAC honoree during his pair of campaigns under Shell after recording 82 catches, 1,251 yards and 12 touchdowns. Punter Cody Thornton averaged 42.8 yards per boot to secure All-HAAC honors as well in 2013.
Shell was a two-year letterwinner at both wideout and defensive back for Alcorn State University. He lifted the Braves to a 6-5 mark during his senior season of 2001, which included a 5-2 record against Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) foes and a win over rival Mississippi Valley State University.
He graduated from the now-defunct T.L. Weston High School. Shell, who holds a Bachelor's degree from Alcorn State, and his wife Jaime have three children, Cedric, Jr., Eris and Blake.