Dell Pettus Leads Local Players For Troy University In Bowl Game
TROY- The second game of the upcoming 2022 College Football Bowl Season will certainly have a local flavor. Three players representing the immediate Madison area will be among those wearing the cardinal, silver and black of No. 24 Troy University as the Trojans matchup against the No. 25 Roadrunners of Texas-San Antonio (USTA) in the Dec. 16 Duluth Trading Company Cure Bowl. The 2:00 p.m. kickoff will be televised on ESPN and be held at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Fla.
Those local athletes expected to see playing time for Troy are safety Dell Pettus and cornerback Caleb Ransaw of Sparkman High and wide receiver Demontrez Brown of Bob Jones.
“I’ve never had this opportunity and I’m excited to share these moments with my teammates,” said Pettus, a senior who has already indicated he will play one more year at Troy due to the extra year of eligibility from the COVID year. “I’ve come a long way from a small boy first playing football and I’m appreciative of the moment in the Cure Bowl as I’ve a lot of success here at Troy and I want to thank my family and the coaches who have directed me to being a batter player.”
Troy (11-2, 7-1) enters the Cure Bowl having won 10 straight games including against Coastal Carolina 45-26 in the Sun Belt Championship game. UTSA (11-2, 8-0) is the Conference USA Champion and meet Troy for the first time on the gridiron. Both teams enter the game with 10-game winning streaks. Oddsmakers have the game a toss up as the official one-point spread has gone back and forth to both teams.
Pettus enters the game fourth on the team in tackles with 61, which includes 30 solo tackles. At 6-foot, 200-pounds he has become a constant top-notch performer for the Trojans from his strong safety position.
Ransaw (CB, 6-0, 193, So.), a sophomore cornerback has played in 10 games this season and has racked up 10 solo tackles with 23 total takedowns and deflecting three passes. Brown (WR, 6-3, 204, RS-Jr.) a redshirt junior has snagged four passes for 52 yards in 11 games appearances.
Troy is making its ninth bowl appearance, first since 2018 and first in a bowl hosted in the Sunshine State. Led by first-year head coach Jon Sumrall, a Huntsville native and graduate of Grissom High, he is a defensive minded coach with years of being an assistant coach on the defensive side of the ball. The Trojans’ defense ranks fifth nationally in scoring defense (17.5). The squad features Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year Carlton Martial who has racked up 121 tackles on the 2022 season.
“USTA has a very good offense (9th in the country, 486 yards per game) and will possibly be the best offense we’ll face all season,” said Pettus, who also spoke of visiting Orlando. “We are expected to visit Disney World while we’re prepping for the game and that should be a lot of fun. I remember going to Disney World on a family vacation when I was a small boy. It’s going to be cool to go back there.”
While at Troy, Pettus is part of the Team Leadership Council and a part of what he does is visit local elementary schools where he visits with the youngsters, many of which reminds Pettus of his youth growing up in the Harvest area. One of his fondest memories of playing for Troy was after a game where he was visiting with his family on the sidelines. “A little boy came up to me and asked for my autograph and wanted to pose with me for a photo. He was very excited to speak with me and we talked football. That experience reminded me of when I was a young boy and I would do the same thing. It was great.”
Pettus has a 3.18 grade point average and is studying cyber security and will graduate in May. He has one more year of eligibility to play at Troy and is also possibly looking into the NFL where he has been evaluated by scouts and has had heard good things about his football talents. He knows he must get better, and his inner desire is to be the best he can be no matter what his future holds.
The 2022 college bowl season will include two games of major interest for the Pettus family, which includes his parents Glenn and Tamara Pettus. Pettus’ brother, Micah Pettus, two years his junior, is a starting offensive lineman for the Ole Miss Rebels. The two were face-to-face on Sept. 3 when Ole Miss defeated Troy 28-10. The redshirt freshman played his high school at James Clemens. At Ole Miss he was chosen as a Freshman All-American. The Rebels will have their bowl game in the TaxAct Texas Bowl versus Texas Tech on Dec. 28. By that date, the Pettus family hopes to already be celebrating for nearly two weeks a victory with a Troy University win.