College football: Winter storm not stopping JSU's big recruiting weekend
by Al Muskewitz
Jan 30, 2014 | 2908 views |  0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
New Jacksonville State head football coach John Grass will be paid $181,000 in base salary. (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
New Jacksonville State head football coach John Grass will be paid $181,000 in base salary. (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
The winter storm that locked down the region for days could have taken the bottom out of Jacksonville State’s recruiting effort, but plans are still “full go” for the Gamecocks to hold their biggest weekend of the campaign.

As treacherous road conditions that brought travel to a standstill begin to ease, the Gamecocks expect to host about 20 recruits on this all-important final weekend ahead of Wednesday’s National Signing Day.

But there was a while it was dicey.

“Right now, we plan on everything going as normal,” assistant head coach Jimmy Ogle said this morning. “That’s the plan unless something changes today or tomorrow.”

The Gamecocks have more than a dozen commitments already and are looking to solidify the class with a big final push this weekend. The prospects scheduled to visit are coming from Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia – the three states hardest hit by the storm.

With new head coach John Grass in charge, the Gamecocks were on track for another strong, albeit small, recruiting class loaded with two- and three-star prospects. But because of the way they set up this year’s campaign, the timing of the storm had the potential to derail the entire effort.

“(This weekend) was really crucial,” Ogle said, “because toward the end of the regular season we only scheduled two weekends. There wasn’t a plan on a (coaching) change.

“Even though there are not a lot or a lot to give, there is a lot coming in for us. (The weather) threw a pretty good wrench into the plan (but) everything’s full go. We’ll be ready to rock and roll.”

Ogle was among the thousands of drivers stuck on areas roads when the storm hit. He spent nine hours Tuesday on I-20 westbound returning from recruiting the Atlanta area, working through intermittent cell service, before fortunately being able to secure a hotel room in Douglasville for the night. It wasn’t The Ritz, but it was safe and warm.

“I’m just glad I didn’t get stuck. A lot of folks had it a lot worse off than I did,” Ogle said. “It was the last room. The lady said, ‘We have one room left. It’s a smoking room. Is that all right?’ I said is it off the interstate? Is it warm? She said yes, and I was like I’ll take it.”

Al Muskewitz covers Jacksonville State sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3577.
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