Thursday, April 29, 2010

Perrilloux and the Vikings

With a 3 day minicamp set to start, this was posted on the Minnesota Vikings website earlier today:

QB Perrilloux Gets A Shot With Vikings
Posted by cjsiewert on April 29, 2010 – 2:54 pm

In recent days, a lot of interest from the Vikings faithful has been directed towards the idea of adding former LSU and Jacksonville State QB Ryan Perrilloux. This interest in Perrilloux is duly noted as 6-3, 223 pound QB has displayed a great deal of athletic ability and potential throughout his collegiate career.

Coming out of high school at East St. John High in Reserve, Louisiana, Perrilloux was considered to be the top high school QB prospect in the 2005 class alongside current NY Jets QB Mark Sanchez. Being a top prospect, heavy recruiting came with the territory and after verbally committing to Texas, Perrilloux decided LSU was the better fit.

After being redshirted in 2005, Perrilloux saw very limited action in 2006 behind QBs JaMarcus Russell and Matt Flynn, completing just 1 pass for 10 yards in an early-season game against Louisiana-Lafayette.

The 2007 season was not a whole lot different than his ’06 campaign, although Perrilloux got his first collegiate start when head coach Les Miles decided to rest Flynn due to a previous injury. Perrilloux stepped into the spotlight completing 20 of 25 attempts for 298 yards and 3 TDs in a 44-0 crushing of Middle Tennessee.

A few off-field transgressions kept Perrilloux from seeing much of any action for the rest of the ’07 season until the SEC Championship game against Tennessee. Flynn was sidelined by another injury resulting in Perrilloux’s 2nd career start. Perrilloux didn’t let the Tigers faithful down, leading his team to a 21-14 victory, completing 20 of 30 attempts for 243 yards and 1 TD.

After the ’07 season, Perrilloux was suspended from the team for violating team rules. This resulted in Miles cutting Perrilloux from the team entirely. The cut prompted Perrilloux to seek for a continuation of his football career elsewhere, where he then transferred to Jacksonville State and was deemed the Gamecocks’ starting QB for the 2008 season.

In Perrilloux’s 1st season as a starter in 2008, he completed 186 of 296 attempts (62.8%) for 2,298 yards and 19 TDs. His 2009 campaign was his most productive season during his collegiate career, completing 138 of 236 attempts (58.5%) for 2,345 yards and 23 TDs. He also only threw 2 INTs and had a QB rating of 172.4.

Perrilloux appears to have a strong head on his shoulders after dealing with some adversity throughout his collegiate career. This has landed him an invitation and opportunity to practice with the Vikings during their 3-day rookie minicamp held this weekend at Winter Park.

If Perrilloux shows the Vikings coaching staff that he is capable of performing as an NFL QB, it is likely that he would then get an invitation to their summer workout program and quite possibly an invitation to training camp come August.

Numerous scouts have compared Perrilloux to Redskins QB Donovan McNabb. I wouldn’t go that far, yet, as Perrilloux has a lot to prove to even make it into the NFL. It’s nice to see, though, that the Vikings coaching staff is giving him a chance to prove himself and showcase his gifted athletic abilities.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

OVC Players in the Draft

Here is an article from the Journal Gazette Times Courier, a paper covering Eastern Illinois, about OVC Players getting a shot in the NFL:

CHARLESTON -- Without a crowd, a scoreboard or television, the pressure might still be on Austin Signor this week.

Eastern Illinois’ All-Ohio Valley Conference kicker is leaving Thursday to attend a Kansas City Chiefs minicamp.

“I’m feeling ready,” Signor said. “I’m trying to stay level headed about things. I’m trying to keep my leg in shape. It’s the first time I’ve had to be in game shape during the off-season.”

Signor settled for the invitation received earlier from the Chiefs after no free-agent offers came immediately after last week’s NFL draft which had no kickers chosen.

“I was more so expecting a free agency signing,” Signor said. “I was in Carolina. It came down to me and the Ohio State kid and they took the other kid.”

Now Signor is looking to show the Chiefs he could either compete with Ryan Succop as a field-goal kicker or that he is worth a roster spot by his kickoff talents.

The 2009 Mr. Irrelevant as the last player chosen in the NFL draft, Succop then showed his relevancy by tying a league record for rookies by making 82.6 percent of his field goals.

Whether Signor has to take a roster spot from Succop remains to be seen.

“I can tell you his strength,” the EIU product said. “He made 24 out of 28 field goals. His kickoff it’s not his main strength but he is a good kicker.”

While Signor made 14 of 22 field goals including a 48-yard last season for Eastern’s Ohio Valley Conference championship team, his forte might be on kickoffs where his 27 touchbacks led the nation.

“They do have a kicker already who had a good year,” Signor said. “Hopefully something works out. I actually did already have the mini-camp offer before the draft. Coach Steve Hoffman is the special teams coach. He let me know he liked me a lot. Since they had a kicker who did so well he couldn’t offer me a free-agent contract yet.”

Signor is hoping to make it two years in a row that a free agent from EIU makes the Chiefs’ roster.

Former NCAA Football Championship Subdivision All-American defensive end Pierre Walters made the Chiefs as an outside linebacker last year and remains with the team.

Walters was back in Charleston watching last Saturday’s EIU spring intrasquad game from the sidelines as the Chief and potential Chief had conversations.

“I actually did know then I had the invitation to the minicamp,” Signor said. “We didn’t really talk about their kicker. It only takes one opportunity to get it going.”

Eastern did have offensive lineman Otis Hudson chosen in the fifth round of the NFL draft by the Cincinnati Bengalis while another offensive lineman Chris Campbell received a free-agent chance with the Green Bay Packers.

Hudson and Murray State defensive end Austen Lane were the only two Ohio Valley Conference players drafted.

Highly regarded Ryan Perrilloux, the former Louisiana State quarterback who transferred to Jacksonville State, had to settle for a free agent chance with the Minnesota Vikings where his future might partially hinge on a Brett Favre decision.

Jacksonville State also had linebacker Torrey Davis sign as a free agent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Michael Bradford Joins Gamecocks

One of the new faces at JDay game was receiver Michael Bradford from South Gwinnett High School. We will look for more information but here is a nice writeup about Bradford from 2008:

Michael Paden

Talk about it in The 12th Knight
Versatile athletes who can do a multitude of things are always in high demand in the world of college football recruiting and South Gwinnett (Ga.) High School athlete Michael Bradford fits the bill. The 6'1, 185-pound Bradford will be lining up at quarterback, wide receiver and safety for the Comets this year and he talked about that and more.

"Nobody has offered but I had a school email me — Wisconsin. I've been getting questionnaires. I've been filling them out and sending them in to schools."

Talented South Gwinnett athlete Michael Bradford
There are a couple of SEC schools that Bradford is high on and would like to hear from.

"Two schools [I like] are Auburn and Georgia," he shared. "My dad went to those schools and my uncle and stuff and [I like] the heritage…We've been able to go to some of the games and I love the surroundings and how everything looks."

Bradford discussed some things he'll be looking for his future college home to provide.

"I'm not even looking for early playing time because I know I'm not guaranteed anything right now," he stated. "I just want to build upon it. If I can get it (playing time), I'm working for it. I'm looking for a full commitment from a team — a team that wants me."

Whichever school lands Bradford will be getting an athlete capable of playing multiple positions, but he thinks his future could be behind center.

"Quarterback," he quickly stated of what he thinks he'll play on the next level. "That's my best position."

Bradford, who runs a not too shabby 4.6 in the forty-yard dash, says he's looking to improve upon his speed for his senior season as he heads into his senior season.

"I still need to build upon it because I feel I'm lacking in that area," he admitted. "I just joined with Velocity Sports and I start training with them in a couple of weeks."

Bradford will be a busy man over the coming weeks and months as he plans to make his way out to some schools for visits and camps in addition to training for next year.

"Basically what I'm doing is just going out to see schools and I'm going to probably like seven camps during the summer. I'm going to one on the 31st. It's a EPS camp (Elite Performers Sports)…I'm going to the Auburn camp in June then our coach has us going to a quarterback/receivers camp this summer and a Darlington camp for all the schools around Georgia and maybe some outside of Georgia."

While Bradford awaits his first scholarship offer, he says he will be in no hurry to make a decision when the offers do start to arrive.

Keep it here for all the latest news recruiting news regarding Bradford and other Peach State prospects.

King Kong Coulahan

There is a new Big Man on Campus at JSU. A really big man on campus. Kyle Coulahan, a 6-4, 351 pound defensive lineman has transferred to Jacksonville State from Auburn. Here is some information on Kyle:

HIGH SCHOOL -- In his senior year, totaled 85 tackles and eight sacks at the nose guard position and caught three touchdowns at fullback ... Helped his school to the Class 2A region finals in 2006 ... Selected to the FSWA 2A All-State team ... Tallied 65 tackles, 25 for losses, and six sacks as a junior at West Florida High School ... Rated the No. 59 defensive tackle prospect in the nation and the No. 88 overall recruit in Florida by ... Named to the Florida Super 75 high school recruit list by the Florida Times-Union ... Named a "Super Senior" and to the All-Area team by the Pensacola News Journal in 2006 ... Selected first team All-State by the Florida Sports Writers Association his senior season.

Kyle was heavily recruited by Auburn, LSU and Florida. This is a big time addition to the Gamecocks defensive front.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Getting to Know...Hilary Phillips

We recently wrote about JSU freshman softball pitcher Hilary Phillips’ performance in the UAB game…pitching in relief and striking out 3 straight batters with runners on 2nd and 3rd base. This week, we got a chance to sit down with Hilary to get to know her better.

Before beginning the conversation, it would be good to take a brief look at Hilary’s high school career. Hilary was named Alabama’s Miss Softball in 2009 after finishing her career as the state’s all-time leader in wins (194), strikeouts (2,463), no-hitters (34) and shutouts (94). She was 28-3 as a senior, striking out 308 batters in only 168 innings. Ten of those 28 wins were shutouts, and two were perfect games. On top of that, she was an honor student and was valedictorian of her class at Ider High School.

Q: How did you decide to come to JSU?

A: I decided my junior year of high school that this is where I wanted to go to college. I wanted to be able to stay close to home. I knew JSU would be close and my family could see me play. When I took a close look at the softball program here, saw how successful they were, and how great the coaches were, I decided that this is where I wanted to be.

Q: What is the biggest difference you’ve seen from high school to college softball?

A: The biggest difference I’ve seen is the strong line-ups we face as pitchers. You can’t miss your spots. The line-ups are strong all the way down the line-up. Anyone can hurt you if you’re not focused.

Q: Did you play any other sports in high school?

A: I played basketball and volleyball. I was a setter in volleyball but I quit volleyball to focus on softball in 10th grade. I was a point guard in basketball. We had a good team that went to the state playoffs.

Q: What is it like being on this softball team?

A: We’re a very close team. Everyone gets along great. We spend just about all of our time together. I definitely spend more time with the team now than my family.

Q: What’s the high point of the season so far for you?

A: Probably the UAB game last week when I pitched in the last inning. It was a close game.

Q: UAB had runners on 2nd and 3rd base, and no one out. What were you thinking when you came in to pitch?

A: My pitching coach told me “Don’t look nervous”. I was trying not to look nervous and just focus on the hitter. Having runners on 2nd and 3rd just made the situation even better. That’s the high point so far as an individual. Team goals are more important though. When we win as a team means even more.

Q: That was a great game. You appeared to be very focused. What is your best pitch?

A: Probably my fastball. I’ve been able to hit the corners, and location is as important as speed.

Q: Ashley Eliasson has pitched in some big games for JSU. Have you learned from her?

A: It’s great having Ashley as a teammate. I’ve learned a lot from her. She’s faced other teams in our conference and helps me by telling me about their batters. She helps a great deal by helping me with pitch location to batters. She’s a great teammate.

Q: You've pitched to your teammates in practice. Who is the toughest hitter for you?

A: It's hard to say. They are all great hitters. I'll just have to say that they are all tough.

Q: Have you decided on a major yet?

A: Not officially, but I would really like to major in nursing.

Q: What is something about you that most people may not know?

A: (After a long pause) Most people don’t know that I have an obsession about tags. (What kind of tags are you talking about, I ask.) It’s the tags in the back of shirts. I have to rip them out. It’s just an obsession for me.

We are looking forward to seeing Hilary pitch the rest of this season and for the next 3 years. She’s a great example of the student-athlete at JSU. We wish you success at JSU and beyond, Hilary. We hope to talk with you again soon.

Special thanks to for the photo. Everyone should go to his website to see all the pictures he takes at JSU events.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pictures from J-Day

Click on "Play" and a new window will open. There could be some players misidentified in the pictures. Feel free to comment if you see a mistake.

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Post Spring Thoughts

*Spring games are normally sloppy affairs. This one was not. Both sides looked sharp. While the offense had struggled some earlier this Spring, Coach Ronnie Letson and Coach Jimmy Ogle had both offenses looking good in the season finale.

*A star may be emerging at tailback. Playing behind a patchwork offensive line, Calvin Middleton rushed for over 140 yards in the J-Day game. He is a brusing runner in the tradition of recent Gamecock tailbacks. After having a great Spring, Jamal Young had a rough day fumbling several balls but still ran the ball impressively. Despite not being a big guy, Young is as tough of a runner as you will find. Another bright spot was Richard Freelon, who made several nice runs and is starting to show why he earned some offensive player of the year honors in Mississippi in high school. Don't forget about Drec Lindley who sat out this Spring to concentrate on academics.

*The fullback position looks good with Senior Alphonso Freeney clearly in the starting spot. Freeney runs well for a big man and had a great run from deep in the White team's territory to get his team out of a jam. While inconsistent, there is no doubt that Jahron Brown has tremendous potential. Cole Doolittle, out of Jacksonville, Florida is another hard nosed fullback that plays with intensity.

*The quarterbacks looked excellent. M. Ivory plays with tremendous composure and demonstrated that he can make every throw required of a quarterback. Ivory also seemed a step quicker running the ball than he did last year. Ivory's biggest asset may be his composure, he is calm as can be regardless of the situation. Of course, we already knew this after his impressive performance in the first start of his college career against Georgia Tech last year.

*Backup quarterback Mike Whittier had a good Spring game as well. Whittier can run and throw. While there will be a lot of depth at quarterback next year with Alabama transfer Thomas Darrah and incoming freshman Coty Blanchard, Whittier is such a good athlete that he will definitely help the Gamecock program.

*The Gamecocks appear to be on their way to replacing Greg Smith and James Wilkerson. La Ray Williams, James Shaw and Alan Bonner all had excellent Spring Games. However, look out for Mississippi native Jeff Cameron to compete for a starting spot. Cameron, who had over 30 catches in 2008, is coming off of a mid-career redshirt and will be a playmaking wide receiver.

*Curt Porter, Matt Jones, T. Chambers and Tyler Ogletree appear to be ready to anchor the offensive line. This gives the Gamecocks a lot of experience on the line. Porter is a legitimate NFL prospect. The right tackle spot may be open, but its hard to say with Tory Mobley and Justin Kay time this Spring with injuries.

*Its tough to replace Brandt Thomas, Santez Mays and Torrey Davis, but there are some special players returning on the Defensive Line. Kevin Dix is a phenomenal athlete as evidenced by his kick return in the J-Day game, but as good as he is Texas Garrott is currently in front of Dix on the depth chart. These two guys are both really good players who should push each other to improve. An unheralded star of the Defense is Monte Lewis, another Gamecock with NFL potential. Lewis plays with the intensity of former Georgia All-American David Pollack. The Defensive Line should be rock solid when Jamison Wadley returns in the Fall.

*A big question coming in to the Spring was who would start at safety along with Keginald Harris. Robert Gray from Collinsville really made a statement this Spring. He is a fast, physical safety. Another player to watch is Brooks Robinson, a converted quarterback who has added 20 pounds and appears ready to contribute.

*While TJ Heath missed this Spring with an injury, the Gamecocks are set at corner with Heath, AJ Davis and Jawaan Booker. These three guys are really talented. With the pressure that Dix and Garrott can bring and the coverage ability of the corners, big plays on defense will likely be on the horizon for the Gamecocks.

It was a good Spring for the Gamecocks. How many days till the season starts?

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Get the picture: the Lady Gamecocks are leading in state rival UAB in the top of the 7th 2 to 0 when trouble strikes. After a masterful performance, starting pitcher Ashley Eliason gives up a run and UAB has runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs. At that point, Coach McGinnis calls on true freshman Hillary Phillips to close out the game. Hillary immediately proceeds to strike out three straight batters, making them all look feeble in the process.

This was a remarkable performance by a true freshman. The softball team is heating up and the tandem of Eliason and Phillips should take them a long way.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Offensive Line Spring Update

I had an opportunity to speak with OL Coach Scott Smouse today to get an update on spring practice. Here are notes from our conversation.

Q: We lost Reggie Wade and Josh Carroll from last year’s team. How will we fill those spots?

A: Tylor Chambers is a rising junior that was FCS Honorable Mention All-American this past season at guard. He has taken most of the snaps this spring at center. He helped the Gamecocks lead the Ohio Valley Conference in rushing offense and was an All-OVC selection. Matt Jones and Tyler Ogletree have also taken snaps at center this spring, but Chambers would be the starting center if the season started today. Ogletree has played center before. When Reggie Wade got hurt in 2008, Ogletree played the last two games at center for us.

Q: Tell me about the other returning players.

A: Curt Porter stays at left tackle and Matt Jones will stay at left guard. We have a lot of stability on that side of the line with their experience. Both are seniors and they’ve had a lot of playing time. With Chambers playing center, Tyler Ogletree will play right guard. Justin Kay will see a lot of time at right tackle. He’s one of our better linemen. Tori Mobley saw a lot of playing time last year, and he will see more this year, but this spring has been rehabbing an off-season injury. I believe you will see Mobley, Kay, Ogletree, Jones, Porter and Chambers see a lot of playing time between the 6 of them. Some can play multiple positions within the line.

Q: If you need more depth, who will you turn to?

A: Colt Kennedy will be a redshirt freshman from GA. He’s been repping at tackle and continues to develop. He could help next season.

Devon Hayes, from Lineville, AL will be a senior. He is one of our biggest guys. He’s working hard to add depth at the guard position for us.
Ricky Clemons will be a redshirt freshman we signed last year from Michigan. Ricky will add depth at guard.
Taylor Johnstone played high school ball in GA and went to Garden City Community College. He’s been repping at center and at tackle.
Odie Rush walked on from East Mississippi Community College. He’s 6’4”, 300 lbs. They had a very good team at their level, and Odie has been doing well this spring. He’s been repping at tackle.

Q: Will any of the signees see action this fall?

A: That’s a tough question to answer before they get to campus. We’ll see what they have when they get here. I’m looking forward to seeing what they have.

Q: When you are recruiting offensive linemen, what do you look for?

A: At this level, it’s more about athleticism than size. Players with a lot of size can get by in high school just overpowering people for the most part. It’s not that way in college. I look for people that are ready to learn technique and footwork. They need to be able to move more than just run over someone.

Q: The first game is against Ole Miss. While offensively, they are looking to replace the quarterback and their top running back, their defense looks pretty tough. What do you think about them?

A: Their d-line is unbelievable. Their defense as a whole is very fast. They have great athletes, and they should…they are in the SEC. We will try to be creative and cut down our opportunities for missed assignments. I’m looking forward to the challenge.

Thank you Coach Smouse for your time today.

Friday, April 2, 2010

5 Spring Football Questions

5 Interesting Questions Surrounding JSU's Spring Football Practice?

1) Who are some of the top newcomers?

Without a doubt, Gamecock fans have every reason to be excited about linebacker Rashad Smith. The Panhandle Native was originally an NC State signee and has been turning heads in practice ever since he arrived.

Another player to watch for is Wide Receiver Rayce Whiddon, possibly the best of all the Whiddons to play at JSU. Rayce has speed and moves and will provide a new weapon for the Gamecocks.

Its not fair to call him a newcomer but a player to watch this year who has not played much in the past is Safety, Keginald Harris. Keggie is a playmaker that brings size to the Safety position. JSU really has some playmakers in the secondary with Harris and all-world talents, AJ Davis, and TJ Heath.

2) Who is the backup QB?

What once looked like a crowded spring at quarterback, is now painfully thin. Brooks Robinson moved to safety. Talented Alabama transfer Thomas Darrah is hurt. The job probably falls to Mike Whittier, who transferred in to JSU from South Dakota. The race to back up Ivory will get much more interesting in the Fall with the arrival of Coty Blanchard and Darrah recovering from shoulder surgery.

3) Will a Tailback Emerge?

Last year, it was tailback by committee with bruising Calvin Middleton and shifty Jamal Young sharing the workload. A name to watch is Richard Freelon. The Mississippi native set some records as a high school senior and is coming off a redshirt. Brandon George has apparently left the team.

4) Who will start at wide receiver?

The bad news for Coach Matt Wannebo is that JSU lost both starting wide receivers, Greg Smith and James Wilkerson. The good news is that there is a wealth of talent to replace them. Who will be the starter? Senior Jeff Cameron comes off a mid-career redshirt year. Cameron is known for his physicality and route running. Also, be on the lookout for James Shaw, a guy Coach Crowe has always described as a playmaker and it finally showed on the field last year. Shaw just seems to glide over the field picking up big yardage in the process. LaRay Williams is another talented receiver with big play potential. Last year, La Ray caught 15 passes for 270 yards.

While Cameron, Shaw and Williams have the experience, watch out for the young guns. As set forth above, Rayce Whiddon has turned heads with his athleticism since stepping on campus. Finally, don't forget about Allen Bonner who had a tremendous freshman campaign. He is a playmaker. John Houston Whiddon is coming back from an injury and had a key play in last Saturday's scrimmage. He has the experience and work ethic to make a difference this year.

5) Will the next Patrick Tatum please stand up?

From a need perspective, there might be no bigger loss than Patrick Tatum leaving the team. The Gamecocks must find a replacement. Rod Byrd is a leading candidate at punter. If he fills the job, JSU will have one of the most physical punters in the Country. As to kickers, FSU's backup transferred to JSU and is expected to battle incoming freshman Joel Smith for the starting job.