Jacksonville, Ala. - Head football Coach Bill Clark’s initial signing class has a local feel as the first-year head coach announced the 2013 Jacksonville State University class, including 16 players from the state of Alabama.
“We really feel good about this group and we think it is a very diverse group,” Clark said. “I think we filled a lot of needs and we got some local guys – some guys that are familiar to the people in our area.”
Locally, Austin Bishop (Piedmont) and Justice Owens (Alexandria) are both from Calhoun County, while Ledarrius Bowe (Jackson), Dylan Cline (McCalla), Michael Davis (Geraldine), Rodney Davis (Millbrook), Casey Hunt (Oneonta), Darius Jackson (Bessemer), LaKendrick James (Jackson), Anthony Johnson (Maplesville), Jarren Johnson (Jackson), Justin Lea (Ider), Siran Neal (Eufaula) and Toby Pee (Sardis) are all located with 250 miles of the Jacksonville State campus.
The 21-member class eight 13 players on offense and eight players on defense, including six wide receivers, four defensive backs and four offensive lineman, but Clark also talked about the versatility of the signing class.
“We have guys that have played on both sides of the ball, which is going to help us in be multiple in where we place them,” Clark said. “The guys that signed today have come from good goods programs and used to being successful.”
Six of the signees won state championships, while three other signees were on state runner-up teams. Piedmont’s Austin Bishop, Jackson’s Ledarrius Bowe, LaKendrick James and Jarren Johnson, and East Mississippi’s Rodney Davis all won state championships, while McAdory’s Dylan Cline and Darius Jackson, and Oneonta’s Casey Hunt all played in the state championship game.
Clark also said the relationships between his staff and the high school coaches were certainly a factor in this year’s signing class.
We got the straight stories on these guys. What kind of competitors they are, how they are in the classroom and how they take coaching,” Clark said. “I told them – ask your high school coach who we really are when we tell you something.”
Jacksonville State is scheduled to begin spring training on March 9, and will hold its annual J-Day Spring Game on Friday, April 12.
2013 JACKSONVILLE STATE SIGNING CLASS
Ty Anderson, 6-3, 220, TE, Cumming, Ga. (West Forsyth HS)
Austin Bishop, 6-4, 275, OL, Piedmont, Ala. (Piedmont HS)
Ledarrius Bowe, 5-7, 175, RB, Jackson, Ala. (Jackson HS)
Earl Calloway, 6-1, 185, WR, Tallahassee, Fla. (Godby HS)
Dylan Cline, 6-4, 265, DL, McCalla, Ala. (McAdory HS)
Damien Davenport, 6-2, 275, DL, McIntosh, Ala. (McIntosh HS)
Michael Davis, 6-1, 210, DB, Geraldine, Ala. (Geraldine HS)
Rodney Davis, 6-1, 205, WR, Millbrook, Ala. (East Mississippi CC)
Ramar Dennis, 6-1, 225, LB, Orlando, Fla. (Olympia HS)
Tre’ Garland, 6-3, 185, WR, Thomasville, Ga. (Thomasville HS)
Casey Hunt, 6-4, 285, OL, Oneonta, Ala. (Oneonta HS)
Darius Jackson, 6-2, 205, DB, Bessemer, Ala. (McAdory HS)
LaKendrick James, 5-9, 175, DB, Jackson, Ala. (Jackson HS)
Anthony Johnson, 6-5, 220, TE, Maplesville, Ala. (Maplesville HS)
Jarren Johnson, 5-11, 195, WR, Jackson, Ala. (Jackson HS)
Justin Lea, 6-4, 260, OL/DL, Ider, Ala. (Ider HS)
Siran Neal, 6-1, 180, Eufaula, Ala. (Eufaula HS)
Justice Owens, 5-11, 185, WR/RB, Alexandria, Ala. (Alexandria HS)
Toby Pee, 6-0, 190, WR, Sardis, Ala. (Sardis HS)
Brett Steverson, 6-5, 305, OL, Fitzgerald, Ga. (Fitzgerald HS)
Josh Thompson, 6-4, 285, OL, Dothan, Ala. (Rehobeth HS)
CLICK HERE FOR BIOS ON EACH SIGNEE
February 6, 2013 • National Signing Day
“It goes without saying that there are a lot of coaches out there this time of year that are very excited and no one probably thinks they had a bad signing class. We really feel good about this group and we think it is a very diverse group. I think we filled a lot of needs and we got some local guys – some guys that are familiar to the people in our area. We got some really good students and guys that are very good in the classroom and I think some guys that can play a lot of different positions. We have guys that have played on both sides of the ball, which is going to help us in be multiple in where we place them. They guys that signed today have come from good goods programs and used to being successful. Our coaches have done an outstanding job in the short window of time. We really had to get-going pretty quickly and I am so pleased with all out our coaches and very appreciative of the high school coaches in the help that they gave us.”
Quality of Class:
“The guys we had committed when we came in here were a good group. We felt really good about those guys because we came in and evaluated those guys. We would have honored all of those commitments, but we came in and evaluated them just like we were recruiting them. We really felt like it was a good group and very good people. They already had a love for Jacksonville State – which I really liked. We then went out and specifically targeted guys from past relationships and guys that we knew about from needs. I am amazed that we were able to land some of the guys that we signed. If guys can get on our campus and see our facilities and the quality of education that we have and the people we have here on campus.”
“From our evaluations, we did not say – ‘We are Jax State and somebody is this, so we can’t get this guy’. We just said this is a guy that is out there and he has not made a decision that we felt like that we couldn’t get on, so we went after it. We feel like we can compete and if you can get on our campus and see our people. we think we can really compete with anybody. I don’t care if you are a freshman, you are going to have a chance to compete.”
On relationships with the high school coaches:
“I don’t think there is any doubt. I think for a coach to tell me – this is a great kid and as a high school coach you have to be careful. I was for everyone of my players, but I also knew I was not going to send a kid somewhere and him being a guy that struggles to get to class. We got the straight stories on these guys. What kind of competitors they are, how they are in the classroom and how they take coaching. I told them – ask your high school coach who we really are when we tell you something.”
Courtesy JSU Media Relations