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15 May 2008

Ex-LSU QB Perrilloux
Set to Join Gamecocks


Perrilloux, MVP of the 2007 SEC Championship Game, is on his way to quarterback the Jacksonville State Gamecocks, a team without a scholarship quarterback on its 2008 roster. Photo: Dave Martin/Associated Press/File


By Al Muskewitz
Star Sports Writers
05-15-2008

Reprinted here in its entirety.

JACKSONVILLE He just won the lottery for the most coveted Division I transfer in the country, but Jacksonville State football coach Jack Crowe wasn't about to predict a national championship for 2008. Instead, he had a more modest, immediate goal in mind.

"I hope it gets us a lead in the Georgia Tech game," Crowe said, referring to the Gamecocks' opener in August. "There are still a lot of things that have to happen (for the biggest prize)."

But the Gamecocks have a better chance of both happening now than they did a couple days ago.

That's because former LSU quarterback Ryan Perrilloux signed the paperwork Wednesday allowing him to transfer to JSU. He is expected to join the Gamecocks on June 1 with two years of eligibility remaining and undoubtedly will draw a lot of attention when practice opens in August and beyond.

"It makes me feel like we're on the verge of a new day," Crowe said. "You've got one of the best players in America who could've gone anywhere. You talk about all these things (in Perrilloux's past), it didn't keep anyone from calling. There were only a few schools I've seen printed (in the running for the quarterback), but I know the list of real schools. It was way bigger."

Perrilloux was considered the top quarterback in the country when he came out of East St. John High School in Reserve, La. He arrived at LSU with the anticipation of playing as a freshman, but he was overtaken by JaMarcus Russell and Matt Flynn, and his relationship within the program deteriorated.

He was dismissed from LSU 10 days ago following a series of off-field problems.

"I'm ready for the transition," Perrilloux told Gannett Louisiana on Wednesday. "I'll always be a Tiger in my heart. I'll miss the fans. I'll miss my teammates and the coaches. But this is a great opportunity for me to move forward. I feel like Jacksonville State is the school I can be successful at ... Coach Crowe has been very supportive of me through all of this. He said he just wants me to move forward and forget about the past."

Attempts by The Star to reach Perrilloux were unsuccessful; there was no answer at his cell phone and its mailbox was full. There also was no answer at the number listed for his mother's home phone.

Alabama A&M was the only other school Perrilloux visited. Jackson State, Alabama State, Alcorn State, Chattanooga and Cal Poly were among the other approximately two-dozen schools interested in the player.

Interestingly, JSU and Alabama A&M open a home-and-home series this fall.

Crowe may not allow himself to project beyond the opener, but plenty of observers anticipate big things for the Gamecocks with Perrilloux in the offense.

The quarterback completed 51 of 75 passes for 694 yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions in 12 games for LSU last year. He also rushed 50 times for 207 yards and two touchdowns. His second start came in the SEC championship game, when Flynn was too hurt to play. Perrilloux completed 20 of 30 passes for 243 yards and a touchdown in a 21-14 victory.

"The thing is, when he's in the game, it's pretty hard to defend," Louisiana-based recruiting guru Max Emfinger said Tuesday. "If he was the best quarterback in the country coming out and he's the best quarterback in that class, he should be the best player in every game he plays, and everybody who comes to the game and knows anything about the game, the team or the teams they are playing should know he's the best player in the game.

"He could throw against national championship caliber teams when he was at LSU. If he keeps his head screwed on and does everything the coach wants him to, there's not a DB or anybody who can stop him from doing anything. He ought to help them win almost every game, irregardless of what's out there ... The only question is what is he gonna do there? Is he gonna get his act together? I think he knows he's in a situation he has to get his act together."

The Gamecocks have been in the market for an experienced quarterback ever since Crowe dismissed rising senior starter Cedric Johnson shortly before the start of spring practice for repeated violations of team rules, a move that left them without a scholarship quarterback on the roster. They have three incoming freshmen waiting in the wings Marquez Ivory of Warner-Robins, Ga.; Brooks Robinson of Opelika; and Nick DeMuro of Raleigh, N.C. They signed another, Casey Weston of Prattville, but he reneged and will play at a junior college in the fall.

Crowe characterized the issues surrounding Johnson's dismissal as different from those related to Perrilloux. Among the incidents linked to the former LSU quarterback were a connection to a counterfeiting ring, attempted entry to a casino with an improper ID and a fight in a nightclub.

Both Crowe and JSU president Bill Meehan believed part of Perrilloux's troubles stemmed from his environment and associations. LSU coach Les Miles reportedly wouldn't release Perrilloux to any Football Championship Subdivision programs in Louisiana for just that reason.

Crowe spent much of the last two weeks doing what he called his "due diligence," investigating Perrilloux's character and incidents leading up to his dismissal at LSU. He determined "every fact I got would not eliminate him" from JSU's program had he been in it when they took place.

University president Bill Meehan met with Perrilloux Tuesday and was satisfied with the answers he received. He said Perrilloux will be treated "like anybody else" once he arrives, subject to same rules and guidelines of any other JSU student.

"We spent about a half-hour talking about his goals and my expectations and he was very straightforward, very honest with me," Meehan said. "I asked him pointed questions about what I read in the papers and he answered them to my satisfaction, honestly and openly. I think he's honest and straightforward. I get to see a lot of college students, and I am taking him for his word."

See story at The Anniston Star's website: www.annistonstar.com .



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