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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: South Alabama
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  South Alabama and new football coach Kane Wommack have added another Power 5 offensive line transfer for the 2021 season. Justin Stevens, who left Michigan State after one season and briefly committed to Central Michigan, will join the Jaguars this summer in time to participate in fall camp, a source confirmed to AL.com. The 6-foot-6, 300-pound Stevens will have four seasons of eligibility at South Alabama beginning immediately, after the NCAA recently passed a one-time transfer exception for all athletes. Stevens, originally from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, was a three-star prospect in Michigan State's 2020 recruiting class. He opted out of the 2020 season due to concerns over COVID-19, then entered the NCAA transfer portal in April. - Birmingham News

(DS#999 OT) Fr/2024 OT Justin StevensSouth Alabama
News Source: Birmingham News
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  05/10/21 - Carlos DavisSo/2023, South Alabama, 5-09, 205 (DS#999 RB) + More +

  South Alabama running back Carlos Davis has entered the NCAA transfer portal, AL.com has learned. Davis has been indefinitely suspended since February following his arrest on drug-related charges and was not expected to return to the team in the fall. The Muscle Shoals native rushed for a team-best 674 yards and three touchdowns in 2020. With Davis out for the spring, Terrion Avery, A.J. Phillips, Jared Wilson and Tank Miller all battled for carries. That foursome combined for 408 yards and two touchdowns last season. - Birmingham News

(DS#999 RB) So/2023 RB Carlos DavisSouth Alabama
News Source: Birmingham News
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  South Alabama safety Dewayne Betts has entered the NCAA transfer portal, AL.com has confirmed. Betts was suspended indefinitely April 16 following his arrest on charges of receiving stolen property. His suspension was expected to carry over into the 2021 season had he remained with the Jaguars, a source told AL.com. Betts ended 2020 as South Alabama's starting free safety, and worked with the first team at that position during spring practice prior to his suspension. He totaled 39 tackles, two forced fumbles, two pass breakups and an interception last season, his first after transferring from junior college. - Birmingham News

(DS#999 FS) Jr/2022 FS Dewayne Betts Jr.South Alabama
News Source: Birmingham News
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  05/06/21 - Kawaan BakerrSr/2021, South Alabama, 6-1, 210 (DS#56 WR) + More +

  One way or another, Kawaan Baker was going to wind up with the New Orleans Saints. The former South Alabama wide receiver was selected in the seventh round of the 2021 NFL draft on Saturday night, going with the No. 255 overall pick. Had he not been drafted, he was planning on signing with the Saints as an undrafted free agent. "I was on the phone with them, getting a contract over and everything," Baker said. "They put in a call again, and (Saints head coach) Sean Payton was on the phone saying he's got some good news. From there, it was up." The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Baker was a three-year starter at South Alabama, finishing his career with 126 receptions for 1,829 yards and 16 touchdowns. His yardage total is a program record, while the receptions rank second and touchdowns tied for first.

He is just the second South Alabama player drafted by an NFL team in the program's 12-year history, and the first in four years. Tight end Gerald Everett was chosen by the Los Angeles Rams in the second round (No. 44 overall) in 2017. "I am very aware of that," Baker said. "For the Saints to give me the opportunity, it's a blessing. I'm just going to give it up to God and make the most of it." - Birmingham News


(DS#56 WR) rSr/2021 WR Kawaan BakerSouth Alabama
News Source: Birmingham News
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  05/03/21 - Kawaan BakerrSr/2021, South Alabama, 6-1, 210 (DS#56 WR) + More +

  Former South Alabama wide receiver Kawaan Baker was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the seventh round of the 2021 NFL draft on Saturday. Baker (6-foot-1, 210 pounds) was a second-team All-Sun Belt Conference pick in 2020, when he caught 51 passes for 659 yards and eight touchdowns. He finished his career with 27 total touchdowns, 16 receiving and 11 rushing. An Atlanta native, Baker was taken with the 255th overall pick in the draft. He burst onto the draft radar at South Alabama's Pro Day, running the 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds, vertical leaping 39.5 inches and doing 21 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press. Baker becomes the second South Alabama player drafted by an NFL team, after tight end Gerald Everett went to the Los Angeles Rams in the second round of the 2017 draft. - Birmingham News

(DS#56 WR) rSr/2021 WR Kawaan BakerSouth Alabama
News Source: Birmingham News
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  A former Michigan State football offensive lineman doesn't have far to go for his next stop. Justin Stevens announced Friday via Twitter he is transferring to Central Michigan. The redshirt freshman entered the NCAA transfer portal shortly after last Saturday's final spring practice, for which he was not in uniform. "Nothing has ever been more clear to me," Stevens wrote. "I will be attending Central Michigan University for the next four years, trying to achieve my goal of playing in the NFL." The 6-foot-6, 295-pound native of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, opted out of his true freshman season in the fall due to concerns about COVID-19. "This has been an extremely hard decision but due to the certain circumstances and with the main focus being my health having a respiratory condition," Stevens wrote in August when he opted out. Stevens was a three-star prospect according to 247Sports.com's composite rankings in 2020, Mark Dantonio's final recruiting class. - Lansing State Journal

(DS#999 OT) Fr/2024 OT Justin StevensSouth Alabama
News Source: Lansing State Journal
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  04/29/21 - Jake BentleyrSr/2022, South Alabama, 6-4, 220 (DS#18 QB) + More +

  Jake Bentley will enter the 2021 season as South Alabama's starting quarterback, head coach Kane Wommack announced Tuesday. Bentley, a graduate transfer from Utah, took most of the first-team reps for the Jaguars in the spring. He beat out incumbent starter Desmond Trotter, among others, for the position. "We're very excited about what he brings to the table, he has a tremendous attitude and a phenomenal work ethic," Wommack said of Bentley. "He's done a great job learning what we do here, and taking ownership of our offense and team culture." The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Bentley played his high school ball at Opelika, and began his college career at South Carolina. After starting parts of four seasons with the Gamecocks, he transferred to Utah for the 2020 season. - Birmingham News

(DS#18 QB) rSr/2022 QB Jake BentleySouth Alabama
News Source: Birmingham News
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  South Alabama has brought back the No. 5 jersey award for 2021, but has tweaked it slightly. Linebacker A.J. Deshazor will wear the jersey in the Jaguars' Sept. 4 season-opener vs. Southern Miss, but a different player will wear it each week, head coach Kane Wommack said. In the past, it has been presented to one player to wear the entire season. "When I think about A.J. Deshazor, to see him grow to where he is now on the back end of his career, and to see the things that he has done, is something truly special," Wommack said. "We're going to have a different player each week wear the No. 5 jersey each week moving forward, but I can't think of a better person that I would rather walk out there Sept. 4 with that No. 5 jersey. I'm just truly proud of the young man that he's become and the things that he represents for our football team." The No. 5 jersey is awarded in honor of the late Anthony Mostella, a running back on the first South Alabama team. Mostella, who wore No. 5, was killed in a 2010 motorcycle accident. - Birmingham News

(DS#147 OLB) Jr/2022 OLB A.J. DeShazorSouth Alabama
News Source: Birmingham News
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  South Alabama safety Dewayne Betts has been suspended indefinitely for what was termed "violating university and team rules." According to the Mobile County Sheriff's Office online database, the 21-year-old Betts was arrested by University of South Alabama police early Thursday on a charge of third-degree receiving stolen property, a felony. The details of his arrest were not immediately available. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Betts played in all 11 games and started five in 2020 at South Alabama, his first season after transferring from Coahoma (Miss.) Community College. The Memphis, Tenn., native totaled 39 tackles, two forced fumbles and an interception last season, and was listed as the Jaguars' starting free safety this spring. - Birmingham News

(DS#999 FS) Jr/2022 FS Dewayne Betts Jr.South Alabama
News Source: Birmingham News
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  Even without factoring in Bentley, South Alabama's roster contains plenty of Division I experience at the quarterback position. Trotter has started 13 games the last two seasons - including 10 in 2020 - passing for 2,737 yards and 19 touchdowns with just six interceptions. Trotter, a Birmingham native and the grandson of NFL great Ozzie Newsome, has taken mostly second-team reps this spring. In the Jaguars' scrimmages, he's a combined 20-for-35 (57.1%) for 241 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. "Desmond played the most of anyone in the room who is returning from last year, I have really seen him - especially in the last week - take off," Applewhite said. "We've been adding more stuff in our installation that fits his skillset, I've seen really seen him progress the last four to five days. I love his competitiveness; he has a good spirit and is a good teammate. There's a lot of work for all of us in the quarterback room to do, I can't wait to get around to June and July so we can take that next step." After his record-setting career as quarterback at Texas ended in 2001, Applewhite got his first big coaching break when Nick Saban hired him to be Alabama's offensive coordinator in 2007. - Birmingham News

(DS#18 QB) rSo/2023 QB Desmond TrotterSouth Alabama
News Source: Birmingham News
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  South Alabama is transitioning from a 3-man defensive front to a 4-man look this spring, but that's just fine with Gi'Narious Johnson. Johnson played mostly nose tackle for the Jaguars in 2020, and at least in name, he's manning the same spot this spring. But there are different levels of responsibilities to the position in each defense, the Gulfport, Miss., native said. "Three(-man front) is more you're attacking the center, your whole focus is just try to force a double-team and make sure your linebackers are free to make plays," Johnson said. "You've got to be a really selfless person. In a four-man front, you've got a little bit of room to move around. You have more options to try and get one-on-one matchups. If you do get double-teamed, that creates a shortage for the offensive line. You took one guy out, but one (defender) is free. It's easier on the nose tackle." The 6-foot, 295-pound Johnson started all 11 games at nose tackle for South Alabama last season, and his statistics reflect the unheralded nature of the position. He finished with 23 tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack and one pass breakup, with inside linebackers Riley Cole and Nick Mobley combining for 190 stops. - Birmingham News

(DS#999 DT) Jr/2022 DT GiNarious JohnsonSouth Alabama
News Source: Birmingham News
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  04/12/21 - Jalen TolbertrJr/2022, South Alabama, 6-3, 195 (DS#4 WR) + More +

  Jalen Tolbert gave serious thought to making his breakout 2020 season his last one at South Alabama. The redshirt junior wide receiver was a first-team All-Sun Belt Conference pick last fall, catching 64 passes for 1,085 yards and eight touchdowns. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Tolbert was one of just 11 players in the country to reach the 1,000-yard receiving mark during the COVID-shortened season, and did so in only 11 games for a 4-7 Jaguars team. So it wasn't just lip service when Tolbert announced Jan. 8 he would return for a fifth season at his hometown school, rather than enter the NFL draft. The former McGill-Toolen star has set several goals for himself in 2021, the Jaguars' first season under head coach Kane Wommack and his staff, including offensive coordinator Major Applewhite.

"Honestly, I wanted to become a better leader on and off the field before I got to (the NFL) level," Tolbert said. "And I wanted to improve my football smarts, reading coverages more and doing little things that could benefit me at the next level game-wise. So that played a part, and then the opportunity to work with coach Applewhite and coach Wommack was something that I would have chosen to do anyway. So I decided to come back. "And then the last deal was, I would love to play in the Senior Bowl. I'm from here, and I've grown up going to it. So that's what the goal has always been in my mind." - Birmingham News


(DS#4 WR) rJr/2022 WR Jalen TolbertSouth Alabama
News Source: Birmingham News
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  04/07/21 - Jake BentleyrSr/2022, South Alabama, 6-4, 220 (DS#18 QB) + More +

  Saturday was a day to showcase Hancock Whitney Stadium and the South Alabama football program for a number of visiting recruits, and it was also an opportunity to shine for graduate transfer quarterback Jake Bentley. The former Utah and South Carolina standout completed 17 of 28 passes for 214 yards and three touchdowns in the Jaguars' first scrimmage of spring practice. Bentley connected twice on long scoring passes to Jalen Tolbert, hitting the All-Sun Belt receiver on a 56-yard bomb and a 19-yard strike in the end zone. "I thought it went pretty good," Bentley said. "I've been a part of a lot of first scrimmages, but I think overall, today was pretty good. Like any first scrimmage, you're going to have things to clean up - tempo-wise, guys getting set up faster. "But I thought we got after it. It's definitely a day to grow on." Bentley's performance was part of a 434-yard passing day for the Jaguars, who ran 93 plays and totaled 536 yards offensively. Tolbert led all receivers with 121 yards on eight catches, while running back Tank Miller accounted for 85 yards - 33 rushing and 52 receiving. - Birmingham News

(DS#18 QB) rSr/2022 QB Jake BentleySouth Alabama
News Source: Birmingham News
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  Quentin Wilfawn has played in only seven games and recorded only 12 tackles and the major college level, but he's being counted to be a key part of South Alabama's defense in 2021. Approaching the midway point of spring practice, the junior-college transfer has settled in as the Jaguars' first-team Mike (strong inside) linebacker. The 6-foot-1, 240-pound Wilfawn is someone who has definitely stood out thus far, head coach Kane Wommack said. "I like the way he prepares; he's got an urgency to get better," Wommack said. "He's very coachable. He understands the game and he's learning the game better and better every single play. He's got a really nice skill set physically and really runs the ball. So his effort is great. I think if we can continue to just teach him the game within the framework of what we're doing defensively, we'll be very pleased with what he can give us."

The plan in 2020 was for Wilfawn to take on a large role at South Alabama, after he enrolled that January following an excellent two-year career at Northwest Mississippi Community College. But like most teams, the Jaguars had no spring practice due to the COVID-19 pandemic, limiting any chance for Wilfawn to win a starting job in the spring. Again poised to challenge for playing time in the fall, Wilfawn suffered a dislocated elbow during the second day in full pads. Just as he'd recovered from that injury, he was among several Jaguars who missed multiple games due to positive COVID tests or contact tracing. - Birmingham News


(DS#999 ILB) Jr/2022 ILB Quentin WilfawnSouth Alabama
News Source: Birmingham News
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  03/27/21 - Jake BentleyrSr/2022, South Alabama, 6-4, 220 (DS#18 QB) + More +

  It's safe to say South Alabama has never had a quarterback as accomplished as Jake Bentley. The graduate transfer joined the Jaguars this spring after four seasons at South Carolina and one at Utah, a "super" senior granted an extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 39 career games, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Bentley has passed for 8,409 yards and 61 touchdowns. "It feels really good to be back closer to home," Bentley said. "Learning the offense is going really well. And I'm just really excited about what we're doing offensively. The energy and passion that guys have come out with the first few days has been really good. We've made some really good plays and we're really learning a lot. It's been really good."

Not that Bentley has exactly been handed the quarterback job. Head coach Kane Wommack has been explicit that the position remains an open competition between Bentley, incumbent starter Desmond Trotter and freshmen Eli Gainey and Tanner McGee. Still, Bentley has been the first quarterback on the field for most 11-on-11 team drills this spring. For his part, he's embracing the challenge and taking nothing for granted. "We're all learning," Bentley said. "We're all learning this new offense. They do some good things, things we all can learn on and just learn from each other. I think that's something important to do as a football player. It's not to just get too wrapped up in what you're doing, but learn from everyone and taking what you can, information from every rep, to practice." - Birmingham News


(DS#18 QB) rSr/2022 QB Jake BentleySouth Alabama
News Source: Birmingham News
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