The Southern University football program reached into the junior college ranks to reinforce its roster on the NCAA’s early national signing day Wednesday.
Six of the Jaguars nine signees will come from the junior college ranks in hopes of replacing stalwarts on the defensive line, linebacker and at wide receiver. Southern lost defensive tackle Dakavion Champion, end Joe Davis, leading tackler Calvin Lunkins at linebacker and leading receiver Hunter Register.
Southern coach Dawson Odums said he’s not finished and will add more when the spring signing period begins Feb. 5, 2020. Southern lost 18 seniors from the 2019 roster but doesn’t have that many openings for 2020.
All of the junior college signees are expected to enroll in January and be available for 2020 spring practice, Odums said.
“We’ll get a few more in February, probably have 11-14 when we’re done,” Odums said. “We need linebackers, safeties, defensive line and offensive line. We’ve got the defensive line taken care of and we may sign another one there, we’re not in a hurry.
“We think we got three really good linebackers. That’s going to help us with our depth at that position and we shored up the wide receiver room.”
Jadyn Landrum, a 6-0, 220-pound linebacker from Bowie High School in Grand Prairie, Texas, heads up the linebackers added. He is joined by Rahem Shorter (6-0, 196) of Jones CC in Pattison, Miss., and Derrick Williams (6-0, 215) of Miami (Fla.) Central High School.
Southern brought in two wide receivers, hoping to replace Register’s size and skill. Tyquez Hampton (6-3, 208) off Coffeyville Community College via Jacksonville, Fla., fits the bill while Shamar Zaragoza (6-0, 170) brings top end speed from Miami Central High School.
Odums likes defensive lineman Ronell Burbank, a 6-feet-3, 280-pound defensive tackle from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Burbank prepped at Edna Karr in New Orleans and signed with McNeese State before transferring to GCCC. He will help ease the loss of Champion, a premier run-stopper.
Also beefing up the defensive line are end Amauchechukwu Nnaji-Collins (6-2, 242) a Destrehan native from Miami ASA, and nose tackle Letrelle Johnson (6-1, 290) of Southwest Mississippi Community College.
Special teams will get a boost from long snapper Dakota Masters of Jones Community College in Seminary, Miss.
Southern is losing three starters on the offensive line plus sixth man Mason Sims, and starting free safety Montavius Gaines. Odums wants to address those needs in February.
“The next signing period we’re looking at offensive line and safety,” Odums said. “We didn’t have a lot of spots open. Even though we graduated 18 seniors we only had 11 spots open. We got six guys from junior college ball because we needed some guys with playing experience.
Tyquez Hampton, WR, 6'3" 208, Coffeyville Community College, Jacksonville, Florida
Amauchechukwu Nnaji-Collins, DE, 6'2", 242, Miami ASA, Destrehan, Louisiana
Shamar Zaragoza, WR, 6'0", 170, Miami Central, Miami, Florida
Derrick Williams, LB, 6'0" 215, Miami Central, Miami, Florida
Letrelle Johnson, NT, 6'1", 290, Southwest Mississippi Community College
Dakota Masters, LS, 5'10", 196, Jones Community College, Seminary, Mississippi
Ronell Burbank, DT, 6'3", 280, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, New Orleans, Louisiana
Rahem Shorter, LB, 6'0",196, Jones Community College, Pattison, Mississippi
Jadyn Landrum, LB,6'0", 220, Bowie High School, Grand Prairie, Texas