BOONEVILLE, Miss. –Former Northeast Mississippi Community College standout cornerback Deion Belue of Tuscumbia, Ala., is now a starter for the number one team in the country at the University of Alabama.

Before Belue donned the Crimson and White, he was a member of the Northeast Tiger football program for the 2010 and 2011 seasons under head coach Ricky Smither.

Under the leadership of Smither, Belue learned how to excel on the field and in the classroom and helped lead the Tigers to two successful seasons.

Following the Tide's game versus Florida Atlantic September 22 at Bryant Denny Stadium, Belue talked about how Northeast helped propel him to the next level.

"Northeast was a big help for me," explained Belue.  Coach Smither and his coaching staff had a plan for me to execute going into my time at Northeast and kept telling me . . . if I go to class and keep my grades up and do my part, that they would take care of me and they did."

While at Northeast, Belue was a two year standout and was named to the National Junior College Athletic Association's 2011 All-American list as a second-team honoree at defensive back and helped lead the Tigers to a undefeated 5-0 start.

During the 2011 season, Belue was a 'Mr. Do-Everything' for the Tiger football team.

Belue hauled in passes on offense, helped lead one of the best defenses in the league and was ranked nationally in punt and kick returns.

In addition to his 2011 All-American award, Belue was also named to the NJCAA Region XXIII team and was also honored with the Most Valuable Defensive Back award for the North Division of the Mississippi Association of Community & Junior Colleges (MACJC).

Belue had a 58-yard interception return for a score against Northwest, brought back an 80-yard kickoff return against MACJC State Champion East Mississippi and then turned the trick a week later with a 90-yard return against Coahoma.

Belue averaged 28.9 yards per kick return on the season and 10.1 yards per return on his 14 punt returns during the 2011 season.

During his sophomore campaign, Belue broke the 100-yard plateau in kick returns twice – 127 versus East Mississippi and 105 against Copiah-Lincoln and registered 90-yard games.

Now, as a junior for the University of Alabama, Belue has tallied up impressive numbers so far after playing four games at the nation's top team in the country -- and has done his part to help head coach Nick Saban lead the Tide to a 4-0 start.

Belue has eight solo stops, two assists, two tackles for a loss, one interception for 15 yards, two pass break ups, and one forced fumble for Saban's defensive unit after week four of the 2012 season.

"It's just really great to be here and to have success," Belue said.  It's a lot more pressure that comes with being here and being the starting cornerback but it is something I look forward to because I am an athlete and a competitor."

"Being a competitor helped me a lot in life," said Belue.  Learning what I learned at Northeast and then coming here in the spring I really had a lot of confidence but didn't think I was going to be a starter.  However, I came in a worked as hard as I could and got a hold of the system and it all worked out.

"I would highly recommend Northeast because without their help and without them emphasizing the academic side of being a student-athlete I would have never made it here.  They helped me realize that its more than just about sports . . . but that it was also about my academics.  I didn't qualify out of high school to sign with Alabama, so I chose Northeast and they prepared me for where I am today."

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CUTLINE: #13 CB-Deion Belue covering a Florida Atlantic wide-out on Saturday, September 22, 2012 at Bryant Denny Stadium where the Tide defeated the Owls 42-7 to move to 4-0 on the season.