TUESDAY, JUNE 11, 2002
JU Football Signing Class Nears 40 With Addition of Providence High Receiver
June 11, 2002
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville University head football coach Steve Gilbert has announced the signing of nearly 40 players to letters of intent for the upcoming 2002 season. JU, which is coming off its first winning season (6-5) and captured the 2001 Pioneer Football League Southern Division Championship, will have to replace 25 seniors as the program enters its fifth season.
"With us losing 25 experienced seniors our recruiting philosophy is different this year," said Steve Gilbert, who is entering his fifth season at JU. "The majority of our recruits last year came in knowing that they would probably be redshirted. This year, we are letting players know that they will have an opportunity to come in and compete immediately for playing time."
Highlighting this year's signing class is wide receiver Peter Clifford from Providence High School. Clifford is a two-time all-state honoree who was the top receiver in the area and ranked second in the state last season with 63 receptions for 1,125 yards. The 5-foot-11, 165-pound wideout also plans to play baseball at JU after hitting .450 with eight home runs en route to all-state honors as a senior.
"Pete really bolsters what I feel will be our top receiving corp to date," says Gilbert. "With the return of Jon Turner, who was an All-PFL performer last season, we have a number of different types of receivers who will be competing for playing time this fall."
This year's signing class includes 21 defensive and 18 offensive players, including six linebackers and five defensive lineman as the Dolphins look to fill the void of losing their starting front seven from a year ago. JU also signed six wide receivers and six offensive linemen, but hope that newly signed running back Steven Battle from Raines High School will help negate some of the loss of All-American Brent Alexander, who rushed for a school-record 1,089 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2001. "We expect Steven to come and compete immediately for playing time at the fullback position," says Gilbert, who also serves as the Dolphins' running back coach. "He should help bolster our running game, which features returnee Emmett Akins and redshirt freshman Chad Davis."
JU will continue to sign players into July as the Dolphins prepare to open training camp on August 14. The Dolphins' fifth season opener will be on Sept. 7 against Lenoir-Rhyne at 1 p.m. at D.B. Milne Field.
2002 Jacksonville University Football Signees