Signing day never lacks for excitement at Southern University, as it does on college campuses throughout the nation.
But for the second straight year, it will be lacking in bodies at The Bluff.
Southern coach Dawson Odums said he expects to add “seven or eight players” to an experienced program that has won consecutive Southwestern Athletic Conference West Division titles when the national letters of intent are done rolling in Wednesday.
Southern brought in three high school players and six junior college transfers during the December period. All six junior college signees are enrolled and ready to participate in spring practice. The final class tally should be 16 or 17.
The Jaguars signed 18 players in the class of 2019.
“We’ll wrap it up tomorrow, but we always keep our eyes open for a late surprise,” Odums said. “At the end of the day, if we get the ones we’re supposed to tomorrow, we’ll be OK.
“We’re hoping to get a couple of O-linemen, a couple of safeties and a couple of D-linemen. We return a lot of players. We have 32 of our top 44 in the two-deep coming back. That’s not too bad.”
Odums said the program added one transfer, wide receiver Jorien Vallien from Tulane. Vallien, who prepped at Alexandria Senior High, did not play last season. He caught three passes for 19 yards as a freshman in 2018 and also was a high jumper on the track team. He will participate in spring practice and be eligible for the 2020 season.
Former LSU wide receiver Drake Davis enrolled at Southern last fall but has not been added to the roster, Odums said.
Key losses for Southern include defensive tackles Dakavion Champion and Ceajae Bryant, linebacker Calvin Lunkins and safeties Montavius Gaines and B.J. Harris.
On offense, the Jaguars lose offensive tackle Jodeci Harris, guards Jeremiah Abby and center Jaylon Brinson, plus sixth man Mason Sims.
Leading receiver Hunter Register will also be gone, as well as starting tight end Jeremias Houston.
One position that likely won’t be addressed is quarterback. Southern returns its top four quarterbacks from 2019 — Ladarius Skelton, Bubba McDaniel, John Lampley and Harold Blood — and has no plans to sign one in this cycle.
“We may get a surprise; you never know,” Odums said. “All four of our guys are due to come back.”
Odums said spring practice is set to begin April 1 with the spring game April 25.