South Alabama Signs Small, But Talented 2017 Class
South Alabama completed their signing day with a social at Buffalo Wild Wings near the campus and the coaches all had smiles for good reason. Though small, this could be one of their best recruiting classes yet.
The common thread between all the signees was speed, talent, agility, and a true love for the Red, White and Blue.
Another commonality between most of the signees was the proximity to Mobile. Local schools such as Murphy, Davidson, McGill-Toolen, Fairhope, and Spanish Fort were represented by the end of the day to make this one of the most local-heavy classes since joining FBS football.
Two years ago it was huge news that Jalen Thompson stayed hope to play for USA rather than other Power-5 schools including SEC schools who were recruiting him. Now the Jags have done it again with Jalen Tolbert, a 6’3″ 185-pound wide receiver from McGill-Toolen, who turned down offers from Michigan State and Vanderbilt to play for USA as well.
Then Davyn Flenord, a 6’3″ 185-pound wide receiver out of Central Clay County who turned down scholarship offers from Toledo, Troy, UMass and Jacksonville State to play at USA as well.
But there are also examples of players like Cephus Johnson, a 6’4″ 200-pound quarterback from Davidson, who seemingly never waivered from South Alabama during the whole recruiting process.
Since the signing class will only be 11 players due to the blue-shirts from last season, this class will not rank high when compared to other Sun Belt schools. However the quality of player, and notably of character, could make this a real turning point in South Alabama’s future.
However, with everything, we can only speculate until they suit up and play on the field over the next 4-5 years.
Here is a brief summary on the players signed as released by USA Football:
- AJ DeShazor, 6′ 185-pound safety from Lake Gibson HS, Lakeland, Florida. A four-year starter and letterwinner in HS, received three stars from Rivals.com, Scout.com, ESPN.com, and 247Sports.com.
- Davyn Flenord, 6’3 185-pound wide receiver from Central Clay County HS, Lineville, Alabama. Earned three stars and is rated among the top 60 recruits in Alabama by 247Sports.com. Was selected second-team All-State by the ASWA as a senior.
- Kendric Haynes, 6′ 225-pound linebacker from Murphy HS, Mobile, Alabama. Selected All-State three times during his prep career. He finished with 412 total tackles and earned three stars from Rivals.com, Scout.com, ESPN.com and 247Sports.com.
- Cephus Johnson, 6’4″ 205-pound quarterback from Davidson HS, Mobile, Alabama. Rated a two star prospect by Rivals.com, Scout.com, and 247Sports.com and was chosen second-team All-Regions and honorable mention All-State as a Senior.
- Kenard King, 6′ 170-pound safety from Auburndale HS, Auburndale, Florida. Was credited with 82 total tackles, four interceptions, and four passes defended as a senior. Was rated three stars by 247Sports.com
- Gus Nave, 5’11” 175-pound cornerback from Kemper County HS, DeKalb, Mississippi. Ranked among the top 60 prospects in the state of Mississippi by 247Sports.com after helping lead KCHS win the state 3A title during his senior season.
- Zeke Powell, a 6’5″ 290-pound offensive lineman from Georgiana HS, Georgiana, Alabama. Rated a two star prospect by 247Sports and was named first-team All-State by the Alabama Sportswriters Association as a senior.
- Devin Rockette, a 5’10” 175-pound cornerback from Oxford HS, Oxford, Mississippi. He was rated a three star prospect by Rivals, Scout, ESPN and 247Sports.com. He earned a first-team all-state and all-regions honors his senior season.
- Malik Stanley, a 6’3″ 215-pound wide receiver from Coffeyville (Kansas) Community College. He was a first-team all-Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference selection as a sophomore where he had 58 catches for 712 yards and six touchdowns.
- Jalen Tolbert, a 6’3″ 185-pound wide receiver from McGill-Toolen HS, Mobile, Alabama. He was named honorable mention all-region by the Mobile Press-Register/AL.com after his senior season where he had 37 catches for 696 yards and nine touchdowns.
- Finally last but not least, Tywun Walters, a 5’11” 215-pound running back from Northwest Mississippi Community College, who signed in December and is enrolled at USA. He ran for 1,000 yards and a team-leading 12 touchdowns to help his team to a 9-3 record and a #6 ranking in the final NJCAA poll.