South Alabama Looking To Finish Strong In 2013 Recruiting Season

January 15, 2013 · Filed Under Football, Recruiting · Comment 
Coach Joey Jones

Head Coach Joey Jones speaks to his team after the conclusion of the Jaguars first practice of preseason camp.

With about two weeks left until National Signing Day, the Jags continue to look to get verbal commitments from recruits as well as holding onto the ones already verbally committed to the program. Verbal commitments are non-binding. But the 2013 class may be the best yet for the Jaguars.

This season South Alabama will have a full compliment of 85 scholarships as all other FBS schools have. They can assure recruits that they can compete for the Sun Belt Conference Championship and can be eligible to play in a bowl game as they have finished their two-year transition period into the FBS ranks.

The Jaguar program have received more verbal commitments this recruiting season than they any previous recruiting season. If they can attract just a few more players they are actively recruiting, then Coach Jones will be quite pleased with this recruiting class they have worked hard to obtain.

In previous recruiting classes, Jones and his staff focused on recruiting players for the secondary and offensive line. Those positions were considered areas of need. They needed players who could contribute immediately. Those positions are now strengths on the team, so the coaching staff is now targeting needs at defensive line and the skill positions on offense. But they will be signing players at other positions as well, especially if a talented player becomes available regardless of the position.

“On the offensive side of the ball, we’re looking for playmakers, and that means running backs and receivers,” Jones said in an interview with AL.com. “Defensively, we’ll try to find more defensive linemen because we have a lot of senior d-linemen this year and we’re obviously trying to recruit some depth there.”

Romelle Jones, Pat Moore, Ridge James, Alex Page, Montavious Williams, Randon Carnathan and Byron Sneed will all be seniors on the defensive line for the 2013 season. Some of those names are well known by Jaguar fans and have contributed to South Alabama’s defensive strength since the program began, including their second place ranking last season in the Sun Belt Conference.

Six junior college players signed in December and have enrolled or are expected to enroll in classes this week. If so, they will be available to participate in spring practice, which may start near the end of February. There may be some in that group that may not be able to enroll until May though.

As previously reported here back in December, junior college signees running back Cristobal Dinham, twin defensive backs Steffon and Steven Fuller, linebacker Desmond LaVelle, running back Jay Jones and cornerback Montell Garner have enrolled or are expected to enroll this week.

South Alabama had some recruits visit campus over the weekend but their biggest recruiting weekend is coming up in two weeks. They will be in town when the Senior Bowl and Mardi Gras are both taking place for a whirlwind recruiting weekend.

“The guys we signed from junior college, we feel good about them and the guys we have,” Jones said to AL.com in reference to the defensive backs in particular but also the junior college group as a whole. “We feel good there. I feel like our needs have been met there.”

“We do feel good about where we are, but we’ve got to finish,” he continued. “That’s one thing we’ve got to do. It’s just like every year, we’ve got to finish strong. There are a lot of times when it comes down to three or four players at the end. If you land those guys you’re in really good shape and you can have a great year.”

Just like Jones and his staff preaches to the players during practice, Jones also says it to himself and his staff. “We’ve got to finish strong.” The Jags have verbals from some great players and in about two weeks we will see how well they finish and how well they build on their progress this past season.

Go Jags.

Fan Day scrimmage 2011

August 14, 2011 · Filed Under Football · Comment 
Ameriol Finley

Ameriol Finley getting some extra time in after practice.

The Jaguars started their second week of preseason camp by donning full pads for the first time in this preseason camp. They actually got a bit of a break from the heat due to early morning cloud cover over the practice facility.

The team began with their normal special teams period of about ten minutes. They then moved onto individual and group drills which lasted around 30 minutes.

The offense and defense came together to work on the inside and outside running game before moving onto skeleton passing drills. About halfway through practice the Jags had a short break.

After the break the Jags went into team drills. The offense and defense began by facing scout teams before coming together to face each other. This full team drill again focused on third down situations. The defense came on strong in this period with three sacks and an Anton Graphenreed interception. The drill ended with the defense forcing three consecutive incomplete passes.

Practice ended with special teams focusing on punt returns.

“It was a good first day in full pads, though we’ve been hitting anyway before this morning.  It was lively,” said head coach Joey Jones. “Practice went well even though we had a few guys on the ground. One thing I talked to the team about, if we can practice 100 percent hitting all the time with nobody getting hurt that’s what we want to do. We just have to learn how to practice, though we are 90 percent there; we’re getting close. If we can do that we’ll be a better football team. They are giving great effort, and it is always better to pull them back than push them forward. I think they have a great attitude toward practice. They care about it and are competitive. It’s those traits that are going to win us some ballgames.”

Three freshmen caught Coach Jones’ eye in todays practice. He singled out Desmond LaVelle and Maleki Harris, both linebackers, for their performance. Coach Jones also mentioned Devin Robinson, a running back, for his performance as well.

Coach Jones continued talking about their strategy this week with the start of a few two-a-days as well as six consecutive days of practice. “We’re going to have to get after it again tomorrow, but we have to be smart about it and pull back sometime this week because we are going six days in a row,” Jones said. “We’ll meet as coaches every day and evaluate where we are so we know when to push and when to back off. We’ve got some veterans who have been around and don’t need as many reps, so my goal is to get other guys in there and let the young players work. We won’t look quite as good, but I don’t care because we are trying to get those other individuals ready. The goal is to develop some depth this week and be smart about what we are doing.”

Tuesday will be the first of three two-a-day practices that are scheduled for the team. The first practice will be in full pads at the normal 6:15am time then afternoon drills will begin at 4:30pm in shirts and helmets while focusing primarily on specials teams.