South Alabama Jaguars

Joey Jones
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Jimmie Gipson reverses transfer course, returns to S. Alabama

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On the same day South Alabama added a transfer from Missouri, the Jaguars also added a very familiar face.

In mid-April, it was announced that Jimmie Gipson III was leaving USA as a graduate transfer. Two months later? Forget about that. Pretend it never happened.

In the same press release announcing the addition of Mizzou’s Rocel McWilliams, the Jaguars also confirmed that Gipson has decided to rejoin head coach Joey Jones‘ football team after leaving in the spring.  The school gave no reason for the defensive end’s about-face.

Gipson will be eligible to play in 2016, his final season of eligibility.

After transferring to USA from the JUCO ranks in 2014, Gipson was credited with 6.5 tackles for loss and three sacks.  A torn Achilles tendon suffered in summer workouts in 2015 cost him all of last season.

With his decision to return, Gipson will be ticketed for the role of pass-rushing specialist.

S. Alabama new home for ex-Mizzou DE Rocel McWilliams

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Rocel McWilliams opted to leave Missouri following the football program’s spring game earlier this year.  Now, a couple of months later, the defensive end has officially found a new landing spot.

Following up on speculation that preceded it for the past couple of weeks, South Alabama confirmed that McWilliams has signed a grant-in-aid with the university and is enrolled in classes.  Because of NCAA transfer bylaws, McWilliams will be forced to sit out the 2016 football season.

Beginning in 2017, he would then have two years of eligibility remaining.

A three-star member of the Tigers’ 2014 recruiting class, McWilliams was rated as the No. 50 strongside defensive end in the country.

As a true freshman, McWilliams took a redshirt.  The following season, he saw as much playing time as he did in his first year.

WATCH: Sun Belt hails arrival of championship game with hype video

STATESBORO, GA - NOVEMBER 29:  Head coach Willie Fritz for the Georgia Southern Eagles hoists the Sun Belt Conference trophy after his team defeated the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks on November 29, 2014 at Paulson Stadium in Statesboro, Georgia. Georgia Southern won 22-16.  (Photo by Todd Bennett/Getty Images)
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Summer is the time for blockbusters, so it makes sense the Sun Belt marked yesterday’s blockbuster announcement with a movie trailer-styled hype video.

Beginning in 2018, the Sun Belt will become the 10th and final FBS conference to hold a championship game, once Idaho and New Mexico State have seen the door shut behind them and Coastal Carolina takes their place.

“It’s exciting to know that we’ll join the other nine FBS conferences in holding a championship game,” commissioner Karl Benson said. “The first weekend of December has truly become ‘championship weekend’ in college football. To be able to participate in such a great event is something that coaches, student-athletes and fans will all embrace.”

While details are still being iron out, splitting into two-five team divisions with an eight-game schedule and a championship game at a campus site is the leader in the clubhouse at the moment.

“I think in the early stages, the route that we will take will be on one of our campuses — (not) to predict or speculate five years or seven years into it — but right now, we can expect that it will be on one of those campuses,” Benson said.

Sun Belt announces creation of title game; last league to do so

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Welcome to the postseason party, Sun Belt.

Earlier this month, the Big 12 announced that it had voted unanimously to reinstate the conference’s title game following the 2017 regular season.  A couple of days later, and following up on multiple reports, the Sun Belt has decided to create its own league championship game, only theirs will wait to kick off until after the 2018 regular season.

The league made the announcement at a Wednesday afternoon press conference.

“This is a historic moment that represents yet another step forward for the Sun Belt Conference,” said commissioner Karl Benson. “The membership of the Sun Belt has been engaged in a significant number of advancements for the betterment of the league – to an extent this is the culmination of those efforts. …

“Sun Belt football student-athletes will make everlasting memories playing in the championship game during the upcoming years. This championship will be a first-class experience –- and we look forward to it being a launching-pad for a team to reach the College Football Playoff’s ‘New Year’s Six’ bowl games.”

Prior to today’s announcement, the SBC was the only FBS league that either didn’t already contest a league title game or have one in the works.

Like the Big 12, the SBC benefitted from the deregulation of championship games earlier this year, with the nine FBS conferences, by a 7-2 margin, voting to permit leagues with fewer than the mandated 12 members to hold title games.

The SBC is currently an 11-team conference, but will lose Idaho and New Mexico State following the 2017 season.  However, Coastal Carolina will become a full-fledged FBS member for the 2018 season — they’re joining the conference in football on a provisional basis in 2017 — bringing the league back up to the minimum of 10 members.

The conference has not yet decided whether it will split into two, five-team divisions.  Also to be worked out: whether the title game will be played at a neutral site or at the home stadium of the team that finished with the best record.

NC State officially adds S. Alabama grad transfer, too

RALEIGH, NC - AUGUST 30: Players of the North Carolina State Wolfpack run onto the field prior to their game against the Georgia Southern Eagles at Carter-Finley Stadium on August 30, 2014 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
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Earlier in the day, reports surfaced that former Boise State quarterback Ryan Finley would be transferring to North Carolina State.

Not only did NCSU subsequently confirm that addition, but it was also confirmed that Joe Scelfo has officially been added to the Wolfpack roster as well.  Scelfo left South Alabama in mid-April. with NCSU as his reported destination at the time.

Scelfo had started 25 straight games at center for the Jaguars, including all 12 in 2015.  At the end of that season, he was named first-team All-Sun Belt Conference by both the coaches and media.

Those a very good chance that Scelfo will open the 2016 season as NCSU’s starting center, replacing three-year starter Quinton Schooley.

Like Finley, Scelfo comes to Raleigh as a graduate transfer and will be eligible to play in 2016.  Unlike Finley, Scelfo will have just one season of eligibility remaining.