What's the deal with ... Jacksonville State?
August, 31, 2012
By Patrick Dorsey | ESPN.com
Todd Kirkland/Icon SMIOnce a top recruit, Ryan Perrilloux had a successfull JSU career after being dismissed from LSU.We know about the big boys. But what about the little guys? Throughout the 2012 college football season, Playbook Fandom will take a look at some of the less recognizable schools you might see on scoreboards and TV screens.
On Saturday night, the No. 10 Arkansas Razorbacks will take on Jacksonville State. From Florida, right?
Nope. While the FCS/Pioneer League Jacksonville University Dolphins hail from the Sunshine State, the FCS/Ohio Valley Conference Jacksonville State University Gamecocks come from their namesake city in Alabama. So we ask ... what's the deal with JSU?
• It's the friendliest school in the South. Or at least that's its slogan, one the university says is backed up by the National Survey of Student Engagement. Good luck winning that title, Arkansas.
• Speaking of friendly, JSU football coach Jack Crowe is pretty close to the Razorbacks; he coached them from 1990 to 1992 and -- despite a blowup between he and then-athletic director Frank Broyles -- says he feels "nothing but goodwill" toward the school.
• Crowe's team produced one of 2010's best upsets: A 49-48, double-overtime win at Mississippi.
• Founded in 1883 and housing about 8,000 undergraduates, JSU's campus sits on the roots of the Talladega National Forest -- Ricky Bobby would be impressed -- and the school makes use of the geography, offering all sorts of nature classes and, this year, launching a new Mountain Resource Center.
• According to the school, JSU is the only in the history of the NCAA's top two divisions to have won NCAA national championships in football (1992), basketball (1985) and baseball (1990, 1991).
• Its band, the Marching Southerners, carries quite the reputation -- it carried instruments in front of royals for the 2012 London New Year's Parade, which kicked off Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee.
• Notable former Gamecocks athletes include former All-Star closer Todd Jones (Houston Astros, Detroit Tigers and more); former San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers Pro Bowl/All-Pro safety Eric Davis; and ex-LSU star-in-the-making quarterback Ryan Perrilloux, who played two strong seasons in Jacksonville after his dismissal from the Tigers, and now is on the New York Giants' practice squad.
• Notable nonsports alumni include Pulitzer Prize-winning author Rick Bragg and CNN "Headline News" anchor Catherine Callaway.
• On the 2012 football roster is freshman Hamish MacInnes, an Australian punter-to-be who stood out at a recent kicking competition ... but who has never played in an American football game.