Courtesy of Jacksonville State Athletics
JACKSONVILLE, Ala. - Head football Coach Jack Crowe calls the 2010 Jacksonville State University signees the best he has ever signed, and itâ€™s hard to argue with that when you look at the credentials of the class.
â€œWeâ€™re very excited about the class that weâ€™ve signed,â€ Crowe said on Wednesday. â€œWe feel like weâ€™ve met all our needs for next season and the years to follow with this talented group of recruits.â€
The class is highlighted by the first-ever Mr. Football from the State of Alabama signing with the Gamecocks in Coty Blanchard of Cherokee County.
Blanchard led the Warriors to a perfect 15-0 record and the Class 4A State Championship after passing for more than 2,900 yards with 35 touchdowns and rushing for more than 1,160 yards for 20 more touchdowns as a senior. The three-sport standout is also expected to play baseball for the Gamecocks.
Crowe said a priority this year was lineman and the 11th year head coach is pleased with the incoming freshman that will play up front.
â€œWe had to have some help on the offensive line and we feel like we have some players that can make an immediate impact,â€ said Crowe of the signing class. â€œWe lost a couple of All-OVC selections up front, but we feel like our newcomers can step right in and help this team contend for the OVC Championship.â€
The Gamecocks signed five offensive lineman, including Max Holcombe (Tuscaloosa), Tarik Milner (Powder Springs, Ga.) Tristan Hardin (Birmingham), Clay Squires (Satsuma) and Johnny Ubi (Hazel Green). Hardin, who prepped at Erwin High School, is considered one of the top lineman in the state by several recruiting analysts.
Crowe says that several players from this signing class should get an opportunity to see valuable playing time during the 2010 season.
â€œWe signed three junior college players on defense for impact,â€ said Crowe. â€œAll three were direct attempts to make up for what we lost on defense and we feel like we accomplished that.â€
The Gamecocks inked three junior college players that will help fill a void on the defensive side of the ball. Brannan Byrd and Aaron Nelson played at Gulf Coast Community College, while Marquis George played at Dodge City Community College.
Jacksonville State, which finished with the best record in the Ohio Valley Conference with an 8-3 mark and a final national ranking of 16th, is scheduled to begin spring practice on March 3 and will play its annual spring game on April 10.
2010 JACKSONVILLE STATE FOOTBALL SIGNEES
Name (HT, WT, POS, Hometown/ Previous School)
Coty Blanchard (6-0, 180, QB, Leesburg, Ala./Cherokee County HS)
Brannon Byrd (6-2, 243, LB, Lucedale, Miss./Gulf Coast CC)
Gabriel Chambers (5-10, 157, WR, Centre, Ala./Cherokee County HS)
Steven Coates (6-2, 190, QB, Decatur, Ga./Southwest Dekalb HS)
Marquis George (6-4, 242, DE, Elsner, Del./Dodge City CC)
Chad Hampton (6-5, 252, OL, Hartselle, Ala./Hartselle HS)
Tristan Hardin (6-6, 291, OL, Birmingham, Ala./Erwin HS)
Preston Hatcher (6-3, 285, OL, Dothan, Ala./Northview HS)
Max Holcombe (6-3, 271, C, Tuscaloosa, Ala./Hillcrest HS)
Michael Lewis (6-4, 237, DL, Ocoee, Fla./Ocoee HS)
Tarik Milner (6-3, 240, OL, Powder Springs, Ga./McEachern HS)
Aaron Nelson (6-1, 285, NG, Ocian Springs, Miss./Gulf Coast CC)
Jeremy Nicholson (5-10, 172, WR, Brewton, Ala./WS Neal HS)
Joel Smith (5-11, 179, PK, Carrollton, Ga./Carrollton HS)
Clay Squires (6-2, 280, C, Satsuma, Ala./Satsuma HS)
Johnny Ubi, Jr. (6-6, 302, OL, Meridianville, Ala./Hazel Green HS)
Pierre Warren (6-1, 178, WR, Prattville, Ala./Marbury HS)
Armani Williams (6-2, 277, NG, Navarre, Fla./Navarre HS)
Chase Williams (6-0, 212, LB, Boaz, Ala./Boaz HS)