By: Michael Hanich | Sports Editor
Like other football programs in the nation, South Alabama Jaguars signed well over the majority of their signees for the recruiting class of 2020 on December 18, 2019. The South Alabama Jaguars signed 19 players as apart of their decision to play in the upcoming 2020 College Football season. This left the 2020 National Signing Day to be less significant for all teams including South Alabama, who needed a big signing class after accounting for the worst record this past season at 2-10 in their entire football program.
The National Signing Day is an event where high school athletes, football and non-football, select and sign with the team they will play for starting in the fall of 2020. This day was important for some players to have special ceremonies with friends, family, teammates, and coaches. The Jaguars did have six other players commit and sign with the Jaguars.
Of the 19 recruits that signed with South, nine of them have already enrolled with the University for the Spring of 2020. Most athletes either sign early to stay focused for their final semester of high school or to enroll early and workout with the team. Eight of the early enrollees are recruits that are transferring from junior colleges.
Pro-style quarterback Chance Lovertich, strong-side defensive end Jamie Sheriff, and offensive tackle Hayden Burton are all three-star transfers from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Defensive tackle D’ezekius Chapman and cornerback Darrell Luter are all three-star transfers from Pearl River Community Center from Poplarville, Mississippi. The recruit coming out of high school that enrolled early with the University of South Alabama is offensive Andrew McMillian from Long Beach High School in Long Beach, Mississippi.
The Jaguars have acquired multiple local players from high schools in Mobile and Baldwin County. UMS-Wright wide receiver Keyshawn Woodyard, Faith Academy athlete Caullin Lacy, Spanish Fort defensive tackle Carlos Johnson Jr., and McGill Toolen athlete Dallas Diffin are all players that have decided to stay local and contribute significantly for the Jaguars starting in the fall of 2020. Former Hoover cornerback Codey Martin, offensive tackle Nate Howard, inside linebacker Zach Jones, tight end Trent Tyre, Dallas Daffin, and Keyshawn Woodyard are the players that signed with the Jaguars on National Signing Day on February 5th.
The Jaguars finished the 2020 recruiting process ranked 109th in the nation. This is the best finish for the Jaguars since the 2016 Recruiting Class when they finished ranked 87th in the nation. The Jaguars finished with 25 commitments and signees for the 2020 Recruiting Class. They are ranked seventh out of ten teams in the Sun Belt Conference ahead of Georgia State (7-6 in 2019), Coastal Carolina (5-7), and Louisiana-Monroe (5-7). They finished with a higher-ranking recruiting class than Army (5-8), Wyoming (8-5), Utah State (11-2), Nevada (7-6), Central Michigan (8-6; West Division winners), Buffalo (8-5), and Hawaii (10-5).
This 2020 recruiting class is critical for the Jaguars football program with head coach Steve Campbell and his coaching staff going into their third year in 2020. The Jaguars have accounted for a 5-19 record in two seasons under coach Campbell. Many positions needed to be addressed through this recruiting class. Coach Campbell said last December that the defensive line was upgraded significantly due to the six defensive linemen that were acquired through recruiting.
The South Alabama Jaguars will go through an entire offseason of position battles and developing the team dynamics. The Jaguars will start spring training soon and will end the season with a 2020 Spring Game on April 18th, 11 am at the Jim & Frances Yance Practice Fields on USA’s campus.