Two new quarterbacks fill a vacancy on Southern’s 2016 roster _lowres

Advocate file photo by APRIL BUFFINGTON -- Southern Lab’s Bladrick Veal is one of two quarterbacks who signed with the Jaguars on Wednesday.

Southern signed two quarterbacks and lost one.

The Jaguars chose to bring in multiple quarterbacks in this year’s signing class because former Capitol High quarterback Jarrad Hayes, who got his feet wet as a third-string redshirt freshman last season, has left the program, coach Dawson Odums said.

“That left another window to sign a quarterback,” Odums said as the Jaguars unveiled their 2016 recruiting class Wednesday night. “It was a mutual agreement. I met with him and his parents, and I understand exactly how he feels. He wants a chance to play quarterback and be a starter. He’s a great young man and sorry to see him go because he was good for our program.”

Hayes played in seven games last season. He completed 10 of 16 passes for 119 yards with no touchdown or interceptions.

The appeal of Veal

Odums said he was excited to sign Southern Lab quarterback Bladrick Veal, a three-star recruit who had interest from Nebraska and Michigan.

But he said the other quarterback, Darquez Lee from Shelby (N.C.) High School.

“I think he’s probably the steal of the class,” Odums said, noting that Lee is already 6-2½ and more than 200 pounds. “He may grow into something else.”

But, Odums, joked, there could be one concern about Lee’s size.

“I saw him eat on his visit,” Odums said, “and he might eat his way out of the position.”

Hometown feel

Odums is especially familiar with Lee’s high school, which is Odums’ alma mater and that of cornerback Demerio Houston, who started as a freshman last season.

“I’m familiar with them, and I know they play up, nonconference wise,” Odums said. “When they get to their conference schedule, they’re pretty dominant. They’re as talented as any small school in the country.”

Losing Germany (and players)

Southern lost its recruiting coordinator when Chad Germany, who was also co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, resigned shortly after the season and subsequently took on a similar role with Southwestern Athletic Conference rival Jackson State.

The Tigers, under first-year head coach Tony Hughes, signed four players from Louisiana, including running back Terry Sullivan from Zachary.

“Some of those players wanted to get out of town and ended up going there,” Odums said. “It’s a good football program. Coach Hughes will do a great job there, but it’s always a great rivalry. I don’t think (the Louisiana recruits) will add fuel to the fire.”

A special eye

Odums, who has relinquished his defensive coordinator duties to recently hired Trei Oliver, said he’ll use some of his added free time to get more involved with the special teams.

That unit will continue to be coordinated by Steve Adams, who will also coach the cornerbacks.