Raymond Cotton Leaves Ole Miss For South Alabama

July 29, 2010 · By · Filed Under Football, News · Comment 

According to Raymond Cotton Sr. his son Raymond Cotton has received his release from Ole Miss on Thursday and plans to sign with South Alabama. South Alabama could not comment since no scholarship papers have been signed yet. Also according to Cotton’s father, his release was only good for South Alabama.

Cotton has ties to the area when he led Faith Academy to the AISA final as  junior before moving to Maryland. He originally committed to Auburn before changing his mind for Ole Miss. He threw for 2,243 yards with 24 touchdowns in Fort Meade, Maryland as a senior.

Cotton joins the Jaguars and will not lose any eligibility since South Alabama has not yet reached FBS status. Cotton adds to the Jaguars impressive lineup behind center with Myles Gibbon, Brennan Sim and Gabe Graham on the roster and incoming freshmen C.J. Bennett and Calvin Jenkins. Althought it looks like Jenkins may greyshirt, which means he would enroll at South Alabama in January. Nothing formally has been announced yet about his status.

At Ole Miss he redshirted his freshman year but threw for 178 yards and two touchdowns in the Grove Bowl, the Ole Miss spring game. He was bothered by a partially torn labrum but still came out of the spring drills as the Rebel’s number 2 quarterback.

Cotton’s departure from the Rebels leave them thin at quarterback with sophomore Nathan Stanley penciled in at the starter and a junior college transfer Randall Mackey as their only other quarterback on the roster. Several sites have been reporting that Jeremiah Masoli, who was suspended from Oregon’s team, could transfer in and walk-on for the Rebels as a graduate student.

As far as transfers goes, each announcement get higher and higher in profile. A former starting linebacker from Virginia Tech and now a quarterback with the ability to start in the best football conference in the nation, the SEC. Coach Joey Jones and his staff are racking up the style points quickly.

Mark Calvi From South Carolina Named Head Coach In Waiting

July 15, 2010 · By · Filed Under Baseball, News · Comment 

South Alabama formally announced the hiring of Mark Calvi as the ‘coach-in-waiting’ to replace Coach Steve Kittrell at the end of the 2011 season. Coach Kittrell announced his intentions to retire back in June.

Calvi was the pitching coach for the University of South Carolina, who just won the College World Series. He was named associate head coach and ‘head coach in waiting’ on Thursday and will be formally introduced on Friday at 1pm at a press conference at the Mitchell Center. Calvi will be only the fifth head coach in the South Alabama baseball program.

Athletic Director Joel Erdmann received interest from several qualified candidate, but chose Mark in the end. Erdmann stated the following about Calvi, “Obviously, we’re very excited about hiring Mark. He brings not only a wealth of coaching experience to the table, but a demeanor and various intangibles that are going to make him a great member of this family. A facet of the game that we looked deeply at was pitching, and his background in that area — as well as in recruiting, and his familiarity with the Sun Belt Conference, the southeast region and the nation — is very impressive. Mark has been with two very, very good programs, and he has demonstrated loyalty and longevity to those schools. And the key is that he has had success — success that includes conference championship levels and Regionals, while rising to Super Regionals and Omaha on the way to a national championship.”

Calvi has spent the previous six seasons at South Carolina and helped the Gamecocks to rank amon the SEC and NCAA leaders in pitching. He also spent 11 years at Sun Belt Conference foe Florida International. He has worked with 35, an impressive number, of pitchers that have either been drafted or signed with Major League teams.

This past season where the Gamecocks won the National Championship, his staff ranked in the top 10 nationally in ERA (3.75 7th in nation), strikeouts (8.9, 6th) and hits allowed (7.48 3rd) per 9 innings. While in the College World Series they posted a 2.15 ERA. The Gamecocks also finished the season with a sub 4.00 ERA and reached the NCAA Regional each of his six seasons in Columbia, SC.

While at Florida International, they advanced to the NCAA Regional seven times and the 2001 Super Regional. In 1995, the Golden Panther staff led the country with an ERA of 2.40. Add in their 16 shutouts which ties them with the 6th highest total in NCAA history.

Calvi is 41 and a native of Marco Island, FL.

Welcome to the Jaguar Nation Coach Calvi. You have big shoes to fill but we think you are the man to do it.


July 8, 2010 · By · Filed Under News · 1 Comment 

The administration of ThunderJags.com would like to congratulate Brian on his 250th post on this site. We thank Brian for his continued devotion to the University of South Alabama Jaguars and his passion for sharing news about Jaguar happenings with the rest of the world through this site.

Mostly in part because of Brian’s continual postings, this site has seen a gradually growing fan-base of readers (with some surges during the football season).

Congratulations and thanks for all your work in making this site a success.

Jags Announce Three Transfers To The Football Program

July 7, 2010 · By · Filed Under Football, News · Comment 

On Tuesday, South Alabama announced that three players were transferring from other programs and joining the Jaguars this season. Among these three is the Jaguars highest profile player to date, former starting linebacker Jake Johnson from Virginia Tech.

Johnson is listed at 6’2″ and 232lbs. He was highly recruited by Virginia Tech, Maryland and Virginia out of high school and has a reputation as being a monster in the weight room. Johnson started the first eight games of the 2009 season and lead the team with tackles against Alabama. For the season he finished tied for fifth on the team with 55 tackles and 4.5 of them for a loss with two sacks.

However, at the end of the season Johnson lost his starting job and Beamer and Company moved him to defensive end in the spring. He asked and was granted his release back in May. Once the Jags heard he had his release from the Hokies, South Alabama make phone calls to see if he would be interested in the Jaguars. “It means the world to us to have a guy like him who has experience in big games and can provide that experience to our team,” Coach Jones remarked. “He’s going to bring a lot to the table. He’s a hard worker and a leader and we hope that’s going to rub off on our younger players.”

Johnson commented on South Alabama’s facilities by saying, “The main thing that attracted me is it’s going to be a Division I program in a couple of years and we’ll be playing against Division I schools. I’ll have three years of football, three years of school here and playing Division I teams, and you can’t beat that. I couldn’t get that from some other schools. All the facilities are brand-new and the technology is the latest stuff. I didn’t really know what to expect when I got here, but everything is great from the fieldhouse to the meeting rooms and weight room. I was really impressed. I can’t wait to strap the pads back on and start hitting again. I just love the game and I can’t wait to get started in August again.”

Kendall Houston, who was a high school standout at running back at Vigor. He helped them win the 2008 Class 5A title by running for over 2,000 yards and 25 touchdowns as an all-state selection. He transferred from Arkansas State and is listed at 5’10” and weighting 180lbs. He participated in spring drills at ASU but never played in a regular season game. So he comes to South Alabama with five seasons of eligibility since the NCAA has South Alabama listed as an “unclassified” program, he is able to participate in games during what will amount to be his redshirt season in 2010.

The third transfer is Ben Giles from Pace, Florida. Another high school standout who transferred from Louisiana-Monroe to South Alabama. He is listed at 6’0″ and 235lbs. He sat out last season at ULM and comes to South Alabama with four years of eligibility. Coach Jones remembers recruiting Giles and said, “He’s a tough inside linebacker-type player. He plays tough and he’s a good addition to the team.”

With the addition of Johnson and Giles to the Higgenbotham and Dunn tandem, the Jags have firmly solidified the linebacker positions with even more depth and talent. Look for good things out of these four in the coming season.