No Fooling: USA Inks QB on April 1st

Nick Owens journey has taken him from Westlake High School in Southern California to the heralded Fork Union Military Academy prep school team and finally to the virgin territory of the South Alabama football program, where the talented signal caller hopes to make an impact on USA history.

"I had 1-AA offers coming out of high school," said Owens. "Part of that was being 6 feet tall and you know there's always going to be a hit on undersized quarterbacks. So I went to prep school and did really well there, playing some really good competition. It really gave me another year of maturity and another year of growth and experience. We had 16 guys sign 1A scholarships off of my team, so practicing against SEC and ACC talent every day makes you better."

Owens had opportunities in the recruiting process this year to sign with schools like Marshall and Houston, but as those schools acquired quarterback commitments leading up to Signing Day, Owens crossed them off his list. He was in limbo concerning his football and academic future until he got a call from South Alabama offensive coordinator Greg Gregory about a month ago. Coach Gregory had scouted him when he was still part of the South Florida staff and was very interested in him for that program. Upon discovering that Owens was still available, Gregory wasted no time in getting him down to Mobile for a visit. Owens wasted no time himself accepting the offer after he met with head coach Joey Jones.

"What sold me most to the school, compared to all the other schools, was that all my other offers were based on my athletic ability and what they saw on film. But sitting down with Coach Jones, he's all about character. He wanted to see the person behind the athlete and the player. That's what I respected the most."

Owens thrived in FUMA's multiple-look offense that enabled him to complete 77% of his passed for more than 2,000 yards and 19 touchdowns against only five interceptions. Owens is definitely comfortable with the spread-option elements that Jag fans can expect to see in their future teams.

"I can go under center," he said. "I prefer a spread. I'm pretty good at the zone read and we actually did a lot out of an empty backfield. most of my throws were out of the gun."

For now Owens is back home in Southern California, working out with NFL players like Antonio Cromartie of the San Diego Chargers and Dave Anderson of the Houston Texans while still getting instruction from his old quarterback mentor Casey Clausen, the former Tennessee quarterback. Owens will arrive in Mobile on April 21st and begin classes on the 26th. He will not be able to take part in spring practice, but hopes to get up to speed quickly and challenge for the starting job over the fall. A bright young man with his eye on the future, Owens may prefer to only play the in first two or three games and then use 2009 as a redshirt year. His goal: to be the USA signal caller in 2013 and lead the team to a bowl game.

So, the unusual circumstances that led to Nick Owens not having a college scholarship on April 1st has turned into an incredibly lucky break for the South Alabama Jaguars. It almost seems that this should have happened on St. Patrick's Day instead.

Jaguars Report Top Stories