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.