Josie Howell, Sports Editor
Jacksonville, Ala. – The 2019 football season for the Jacksonville State University Gamecocks is expected to be one for the books. Last season, Grass had many freshmen and overall new players across the team, he now has a much more experienced team to take on the 2019 season.
Last year, the Gamecocks brought in their 5th consecutive OVC championship and ended with a 7-1 conference record and a 9-4 overall record. Not only have the Gamecocks been chosen as number six overall in the Football Championship Subdivision preseason polls following their 2018 season, but they were also picked to win the Ohio Valley Conference Championship for a sixth year in a row, which has never been done before in OVC history. Fans and players alike are not only excited about making OVC history, but also to have another shot at possibly bringing home a national title with a team that has already proven successful and talented.
Josh Pearson, wide receiver and pre-season All American, is one of the key players to be on the lookout for. Pearson is a talented wide receiver that, according his player profile stats on the JSU Gamecocks website, accounted for well over 1,000 yards for the 2018-2019 season and is expected to bring that same energy and talent in the 2019 season.
Another key player is starting quarterback and Clemson transfer and preseason All American Zerrick Cooper. Cooper brought in well over an incredible 3,000 yards for the 2018 season but after having actual game experience under his belt, he can be expected to have an even better season in 2019.
Safety Marlon Bridges, Defensive Back Yul Gowdy, Line-Backer Jalen Choice, and defensive back Traco Williams will all be key players when it comes to JSU’s defense. According to the player statistic on the JSU Gamecocks website, Gowdy was also named preseason All-American as a sophomore and made a total of 41 tackles for the season as well as 11 tackles for loss. Choice and Williams were both named 2nd Team All-OVC. Williams was able to bring in four interceptions, 66 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, and 10 passes defended. Choice was able to bring in a total of 88 tackles and 12 tackles for loss.
Newcomer Brandon Hudgins is another player to be on the lookout for. While Hudgins still has some in-game college experience to gain, he was named a three-star recruit by scout.com and received offers from multiple universities like Georgia Tech, UAB and South Alabama, just to name a few. Ultimately, Hudgins committed to playing as a linebacker for Jacksonville State. His senior year in high school, Hudgins was named one of the top 60 players of Alabama by Rivals.com and was ranked one of the top 40 Linebackers in the country.
Jacksonville State will be playing a total of seven home games this season, giving them many opportunities for home field advantage. This includes an exciting game against the University of North Alabama, which many fans are excited about given that UN was previously taken off of the gamecocks schedule.
The schedule for the 2019-2020 Gamecocks football schedule is as follows: August 29, Southeastern Louisiana, Hammond, LA. September 7, Chattanooga, at JSU. September 14, Eastern Washington, at JSU. September 21, North Alabama, at JSU. September 28, Austin Peay, Clarksville, TN. October 5, Tennessee State, at JSU. October 12, Eastern Illinois, Charleston, IL. October 19, Southeastern Missouri, at JSU. October 26, Murray State, at JSU. November 2, UT Martin, Martin TN. November 9, Tennessee Tech, Cookeville, TN. November 23, Eastern Kentucky, at JSU.
Photo courtesy of Matt Reynolds/JSU