Jags Adding 2008 Players

Not long ago, the big news around South Alabama was the surprising addition of a quarterback from the 2008 class, John Curtis Christian's Matt Soucier. It turns out that development was not as isolated as it seems as the Jags will be signing another player in the next few days and have at least another offer out as well.

As the excitement around the football team grows, so to does its roster. Jagsjungle.com has discovered that Coach Joey Jones and his staff (particularly assistants Dameyune Craig and John Turner) have landed a potential impact player for the inaugural squad – Auburn High School running back Richard Ross.

Ross is a 6'2" 228lb running back who is reputed to have a 40 time of 4.6 or better. The big back combined for more than 1000 yards rushing and receiving this past season as he split time with his cousin, Memphis signee Brandon Ross, in the Tiger backfield this past season. The three-year starter might have been the most versatile player on offense for Auburn as he was not only utilized for his running, receiving and blocking skills, but he also lined up as a quarterback in goal line situations in a role similar to Florida's Tim Tebow, according to his head coach, Tim Carter.

"He's a big back that can do a lot of different things and we know in modern offensive football how important that is," said Carter. "He played a variety of positions for us. I'd compare him to a Ronnie Brown-type of running back. He played a fullback position for us. He played tailback. He even split out wide for us. He's got a lot of skills."

Ross was not only known on the football field, but also on the basketball court and baseball diamond. As a matter of fact, the outfielder/designated hitter had a signed a letter of intent with Wallace-Dothan Community College to play baseball but that will be superseded by his signing with USA.

"He's got a lot of raw power and really hit the ball with authority," said Carter. "He's probably really a project in the making baseball-wise. He's got so many skills and I think a lot of the scouts and college coaches were interested in that because they thought they could develop those, but in my opinion football's his best game."

"If I were Coach Kittrell, I'd go talk to him. He is a tremendous talent. He's got great bat speed, but off-speed pitching throws him for a little bit of a loop. He's just a young hitter, the kind that scouts like because he's got such great potential. He's got speed and power and those two things are pretty important in baseball."

Early in the recruiting process Ross was being pursued by Memphis, Jacksonville State and Tuskegee. Those schools backed off when his first attempt at taking the standardized college entry exams came back low, but his most recent attempt now has him in great position to be eligible to gain entry to a four-year college. Luckily for USA, the other schools that were interested no longer had scholarships to give and therefore the Jags are in position to get a player that they would not have gotten a shot at otherwise.

"Coach Craig, who recruited him, did great job," said Carter. "He's really excited about him and he told me Coach Jones is really excited about him, too. They just felt like he was steal this late in the game."

The wide net that the South Alabama staff is spreading around the state may gain them another 2008 player as well. According to Jagsjungle.com contributing writer Tim Gilbreath, Leeds High School linebacker Travis Grandy has been offered by USA and is considering joining the Jags as well. Auburn High School's Tim Carter certainly believes that USA is the right destination for Ross and others.

‘I really believe it's a great opportunity. First of all, I know what kind of person Joey Jones is and some of the assistants he's got, like Bill Clark and Dameyune Craig, are winners that are going to be working with him. I'm really excited for him (Ross). I think that South Alabama is really making a commitment to have a legitimate football program and that made it a no-brainer for Richard."

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