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
"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
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
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
"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