Three East Central Community College football players were selected to participate in the annual MACJC All-Star Football Classic scheduled Thursday, Dec. 5 at Northeast Mississippi Community College in Booneville.

Wide receiver Hakeem Parker of New Orleans, tight end/H-back Layton Holcomb of Hattiesburg and punter Austin Franklin of Petal are members of the South squad in the 40th annual event. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Tiger Stadium.

Parker (6-4, 205) is a product of Joseph S. Clark High School; Holcomb (6-2, 220), Oak Grove; and Franklin (6', 180), Petal.

Northeast has served as host of the annual matchup of the MACJC's best sophomore athletes for 27 consecutive years dating back to the mid-1980s. The 2013 game is the first time during that span in which the contest has been moved from its usual Saturday afternoon slot.

"We are really proud of the administration helping us make that move," said Tigers head coach Ricky Smither. "It's a great game, so I'm glad that we were able to continue it. This is best for the whole state with us doing this."

Sophomores from all 14 institutions of the MACJC are eligible to participate in the annual tradition. However, student-athletes from East Mississippi Community College and Hinds Community College will not participate due their selections for National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA)-sanctioned bowl games.

Thirty-three players comprise both the North and South rosters with each college contributing three athletes. The All-Star coaches select the remainder of the roster, but no more than eight players from one school are allowed.

Players are slated to report to Booneville at noon Tuesday, Dec. 3. The gridiron standouts will have three practices before the contest - one session Tuesday and two workouts Wednesday.

Pearl River Community College head coach William Jones and his staff will direct the South squad. Headman Jeff Tatum and the Mississippi Delta Community College coaches will lead the North.

The MACJC All-Star Football Classic has been a springboard to the next level since its inception. Numerous athletes from past matchups have received scholarships at four-year institutions in NCAA Divisions I and II and NAIA.

The practice sessions allow coaches from the various levels of competition to come to one location and scout the best talent that each MACJC member has to offer.

"It gives these schools an opportunity to make one trip and see a multitude of players from probably the best league in the country," Smither said. "It's huge and it helps the kids a lot."