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9 May 2008

JSU Still in Hunt for Perrilloux

By Al Muskewitz
Star Sports Writer

Reprinted here in its entirety.

JACKSONVILLE — Despite the continuing swirl of conflicting information, Jacksonville State football coach Jack Crowe remains in the chase for former LSU quarterback Ryan Perrilloux.

The Gamecocks’ head coach admitted Thursday he was ready to pull out of the race for the talented but troubled player — until he received a spate of new information later in the day that included indications the race was down to JSU and Alabama A&M.

Adding to the intrigue is the fact JSU and A&M start a home-and-home series this fall.

“This morning I was 90 percent out because I felt I didn’t think my questions were being answered,” Crowe said. “I got my questions answered, but I don’t have all the facts, and I’m hanging around to see if I can confirm some of the things I’ve heard.

“Sooner or later, the facts are gonna come out. I think there is discrepancy enough of what’s been said that I need to stay in there long enough to know the truth. I just don’t know enough to walk away. Am I all the way in, no. Am I all the way out, no. Before I line up and play against this guy, I’d like to have a reason (if he pulls out).”

Perrilloux, at one time considered the nation’s top prep quarterback prospect, was dismissed from the LSU football team Friday after a series of off-the-field problems. The Gamecocks were contacted over the weekend and have been in the chase ever since.

The reason JSU and A&M remain in the mix is Perrilloux can play right away if he transfers to a non-Football Bowl Subdivision program.

Crowe has been doing what he called “my due diligence” ever since LSU coaches contacted him. Crowe has repeatedly said throughout the process he would not compromise the integrity of the program or the university for any player.

In addition to Perrilloux’s previously documented transgressions, Tiger Weekly reported Wednesday a failed drug test for the player. With a reported two-strikes-and-out drug policy at JSU, any drug infraction would raise a red flag.

“We’re not going to take a guy with a failed drug test,” Crowe said.

Crowe dismissed starting quarterback Cedric Johnson for repeated breaches in discipline, which included a drug and weapon incident, right before the start of spring practice. The decision left the Gamecocks without a scholarship quarterback on the roster.

Perrilloux’s mother, Bobbie Breaux, declined to comment on her son’s football future when contacted by The Star Wednesday.

“Right now I’m not doing any interviews,” she said from her home in Louisiana. “When Ryan makes his decision, then I may be available to talk. I don’t have any comment right now.”

LSU coach Les Miles spent nearly an hour last week defending the one-time top prospect’s character. After meeting with JSU president Bill Meehan about the situation, Crowe said he was told the Gamecocks could continue to pursue Perrilloux if Miles’ positive assertions could be affirmed.

Beyond a personal meeting with Perrilloux, Crowe’s sources of credible facts will include public authorities for assurances of no outstanding criminal charges, LSU authorities for academic and university policy assurances, and the LSU football program.

“And what anybody else (says), I really don’t care about,” Crowe said. “I don’t have the facts of all three of those (yet) ... I was not going to eliminate the possibility on hearsay but fact, and when I heard confusing facts, I tried to get more facts. I’m just waiting to hear the rest of the story, the only real story I put any credibility to.”

Crowe said the Gamecocks would try to have four quarterbacks on campus when camp opens in August. They already have three — all true freshmen, Marquez Ivory of Warner-Robins, Ga.; Opelika’s Brooks Robinson; and recently committed Nick DeMuro of Raleigh, N.C.

DeMuro, 5-10 and 193 pounds, passed for 4,050 yards and 40 touchdowns for Athens Drive High School last fall. He was coached by Jeff Smouse, father of JSU offensive line coach Scott Smouse, one of the first Jax State assistants contacted by LSU in the Perrilloux situation.

About Al Muskewitz

Al Muskewitz covers golf and Jacksonville State University sports teams for The Anniston Star.

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