The non-classified status of the Jag program means that there is no mandatory one-year redshirt year for any transfers and, perhaps more importantly, every player who has not previously redshirted at another program can participate in games for South Alabama and count it as their redshirt year, Basically, they get five years to play five years as opposed to the five to play four at other institutions. This standing gave the Jags a great advantage in recruiting and is also helping on the transfer front.
The biggest name that has been confirmed is Jake Johnson. The 6'2", 232lb Johnson played two years for Virginia Tech and started eight games at middle linebacker for them last season. He racked up 55 tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks. He also broke up three passes. In the season-opener against Alabama he had 13 tackles, one pass defensed and one tackles for a loss. Despite his good work, Johnson was benched after the eighth game because of perceived deficiencies in pass defense. In the spring he was moved to defensive end but did not appear to advance fast enough to be considered a potential starter, although it was thought he would contribute. His transfer to South Alabama will put him back in the linebacker corp with three years of eligibility.
"Obviously he's a great athlete, starting eight games for Virginia Tech," said USA head coach Joey Jones. "He'll play inside linebacker for us, but (with Charlie Higgenbotham and Justin Dunn entrenched there) we'll get our best athletes on the field."
The other transfer that has enrolled at South Alabama is Vigor product Kendall Houston. Houston was a very productive running back in high school with 2,190 yards and 25 touchdowns as a junior when he was the MVP of the state title game. After a semester at North Carolina Tech prep school, Houston ended up at Sun Belt member Arkansas State. He participated in spring practice and was slated to receive a scholarship in the fall, but he decided to return home and help the newly formed USA football program.
"Kendall is a guy who I think as been really overlooked," said Jones. "He's up to around 210lbs and can probably get to 220 no problem. We feel he be a very tough inside runner for us."
Houston should get plenty of opportunities behind star runner Brandon Ross. Second-leading rusher from 2009, Santuan McGee, was slated to move to the defensive backfield, but the tragic death of Anthony Mostella has altered those plans. What will happen in the running back rotation remains to be seen.
JagsJungle.com has learned through different sources that linebacker Ben Giles of Louisiana-Monroe has also transferred to South Alabama. Giles, a graduate of Pace High School in the Florida Panhandle, redshirted last year for the Warhawks but a coaching change led him to search for a new home. Giles has enrolled at USA but his transcripts are still being processed so his official status as a Jaguar is not yet official, although expected very soon. As a prep senior he was responsible for 89 tackles, 11 sacks, 14 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles and was named all-area. He will also be expected to be part of the inside linebacker rotation and, like Houston, will have four years of eligibility at South Alabama.
These three players are part of a talent influx that may not be over. It is possible that more than one additional player may join the Jags when the fall semester begins. Stay with Jagsjungle.com to keep track of all the news.
Transfers Join Jag Program
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