|Perrilloux boosts Jacksonville State to favored status |
|Posted: Wednesday, July 23, 2008 6:11 pm |
|NASHVILLE (AP) — Jacksonville State, boosted by the addition of ex-LSU quarterback Ryan Perrilloux, is the preseason pick to win the Ohio Valley Conference. |
Jacksonville State, which returns six starters on each side of the ball from a 2007 team that finished 6-5 (5-3 in the OVC), received six first-place votes and 113 total points in a poll of OVC head coaches and sports information directors. The Gamecocks narrowly edged defending champion Eastern Kentucky (111 points, six first-place votes) and Eastern Illinois (108 points, six first-place votes).
Perrilloux, a 6-foot-3, 233-pound junior, was the Most Valuable Player of the SEC Championship Game a year ago, completing 20-of-30 passes for 245 yards and a touchdown against Tennessee.
The Tigers went on to defeat Ohio State to win the ECS Championship.
However, Perrilloux was dismissed from the LSU team for disciplinary reasons back in May.
Asked where his team would be picked to finish were it not for Perrillouxs arrival, Coach Jack Crowe said, “Middle of the pack. I couldnt see us being anything but middle without a feature player, and hes the only feature player that you can say (we have).”
Crowe said he did his homework before allowing the troubled former Tigers star to join his program.
“I had a lot of conversations with people I knew, people that I had a background with, that knew him personally, starting with (LSU coach) Les (Miles), his high school coach, the strength coach at LSU, the academic adviser, and it was a consistent story. Most of it was bad decisions because of environmental issues,” Crowe said. “Nobody even intimated that there wasnt an upside to all this.”
Eastern Kentucky, under the direction of new coach Dean Hood, and defending champion Eastern Illinois both split the first-place vote evenly with Jacksonville State.
“Since we first joined this league in 1996, this is as even as its ever been,” said Eastern Illinois coach Bob Spoo, entering his 21st season as the Panthers head coach. “Any of the teams in this league can win it. I really believe that.”
Eastern Kentucky went a perfect 8-0 in the OVC in 2007. Even though the Colonels, winners of 19 conference championships, lost Coach Danny Hope, they return quarterback Allan Holland, the 2008 OVC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year.
Eastern Illinois, 7-1 in the OVC and 8-4 overall in 2007, boasts Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Pierre Walters among its returnees.
Beyond the top three, Tennessee State (4-3, 5-6 in 2007) is picked fourth with 84 points, followed by UT Martin (4-4, 4-7) with 69 points and Tennessee Tech (2-6, 4-7) with 55 points.
Austin Peay, which finished third in the league and 7-4 overall in its first scholarship football season in 10 years a year ago, was picked seventh with 50 points, followed by Murray State (1-7, 2-9) with 36 points and Southeast Missouri (1-6, 3-8) with 22 points.