Even though the Jaguars signed 4 junior college transfers to come in and help along the defensive front, there is still a lot of experience returning.
Leading the way among Jag returnees is defensive end Alex Page. The redshirt senior has played in every game of his USA career including 28 starts. Last fall, Page was South Alabama’s most consistent defensive lineman as well as its most disruptive. On the year, he recorded 64 tackles, 11.5 TFL, 6 sacks and 5 QB hurries. Redshirt junior Will Thompson has been a productive back-up over the past two season combining for 35 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 4 QB hurries, 2 forced fumbles and 3 fumble recoveries. Jay Minor redshirted in 2012, but he had a track record at Prattville High School of being able to get to the QB. If he can continue to add strength and size, he’ll bring an element of speed to the DE position.
There are a lot of experienced bodies this spring at the two interior DL positions. Only Andy Dagleish, a significant member of the rotation for the past 3 years, has graduated and moved on.
Redshirt senior Randon Carnathan (17 tackles, 1.5 TFL and 5 QB hurries in 2012) will miss the spring recovering from injury. The rest of the group should be available. Montavious Williams is one of South Alabama’s most consistent defensive tackles, if not the flashiest. In 2012, the redshirt senior racked up 29 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery. Redshirt senior Romelle Jones battled nagging injuries throughout the 2012 campaign but still managed 18 tackles and 2 TFL. He should be healthy for spring football and is one of the more athletic interior defensive lineman with the ability to slide out to DE. Redshirt senior Ceasare Johnson has yet to see the field for South Alabama. He redshirted his first year on campus, then missed the 2012 season with a blood clot issue. He’s ready to go this spring, and he was impressive last spring and in fall camp before his condition was discovered. Johnson (6’5,275) adds a different dimension of size and athleticism and has shown some ability to get into the opponents backfield. Walkon DT Jesse Kelley is undersized but physical and he does a nice job holding up against the run. The redshirt junior posted 22 tackles, 4 TFL and 1 sack last fall. Redshirt junior Shane Doty has bounced back and forth from OL to DL on more than one occasion, but it hasn’t resulted in his seeing the field much. He is described by the staff as strong and athletic, one of the reasons he’s been moved twice from OL to DL. If he’s going to make a push for playing time, it needs to start this spring, posthaste.
The Jack LB position is bolstered by the return of Senior Pat Moore who transferred in from Northeast Miss. JC and became a force for South Alabama (especially after the season ending injury to then senior Anthony Taylor early in the season). He’s a disruptive player, notching 30 tackles, 9 TFL, 4.5 sacks and 4 QB hurries while knocking down 3 passes in 2012. The rest of the depth at Jack LB is nowhere close to the other positions along the DL in experience or performance. Fellow senior Ridge James is another junior college transfer fight for playing time at the Jack LB position. He didn’t make the immediate impact of Pat Moore, but he did play in the last 4 games of the season and picking up 1 TFL. Late roster addition Alvin Arnold spent the 2012 season as a redshirt.
It’s a critical spring for the returning DL who need to position themselves well before an influx of junior college DL show up to push for playing time.