JACKSONVILLE –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)