Albany State football coach Mike White says several new players will be signed by the time the Rams take the field Monday for their first spring practice.
ALBANY — Albany State coach Mike White is still looking for his quarterback.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Rams football team is beginning to take shape.
As the team prepares for its first spring practice Feb. 25, White revealed on Monday that several new players — including some local talent — could commit to ASU by the end of the week.
Nine players signed with the Rams on National Signing Day on Feb. 6, but since then White and his coaching staff haven’t stopped hitting the recruiting trail.
“We have some offers out, but we still don’t have the paperwork back,” White said. “We are hoping in the next few days to have something.”
One player to sign with ASU since National Signing Day is Central Macon defensive back Owen Brown, who was co-MVP of his high school team last season after intercepting four passes and running two INTs back for TDs.
“He’s a kid who has three or four guys on his (high school) coaching staff who played (at ASU),” White said. “He is very familiar with our coverages. He was very fresh with his football knowledge when I met him. He talked the same language that we talk here.”
However, none of the current offers on the table are for a quarterback — a position the Rams desperately need to fill with the graduation of David Kooi and Keenan Grissett.
“That was a goal, to have one (QB) in here before spring,” White said. “Going forward, we just don’t want to get in the same situation as last year.”
Last year, the Rams were dealing with the graduation of star QB Stanley Jennings and didn’t sign his replacement — Kooi — until days before training camp started.
Kooi’s late arrival and unfamiliarity with the playbook were evident in the first four games, when he threw two TDs and five interceptions and connected on less than 50 percent of his passes.
“I think if we are in the same situation that we were in last year with Kooi, that’s going to be a negative,” White said. “We need to get the problem solved before then.”
On National Signing Day, White said he had been pursuing two QBs, but one signed with Bethune-Cookman and the other has stopped communicating with Albany State.
“That trail just went cold on us,” said White, who hesitated to name either QB. “This is just part of the recruiting process. The only thing you can do is just kind of go back out fishing and looking to see what is still out there.”
One quarterback ASU had its eyes on was Herald Super 6er and Early County star Jacori Taylor, who recently signed with East Central Mississippi Community College.
Taylor was one of several local players — including Lee County running back and Herald People’s Choice Player of the Year Kenneth Hurley and Monroe safety Jawaski Randle — who the Rams were interested in.
Hurley (Benedict College) and Randle (Miles College) both stayed in Albany State’s conference.
“We were looking at (Hurley) and really liked him a lot, but we just felt we already had what he has,” White said, referring to players like speedy back Adrian Alexander and slot receiver Jessie Atkins who are similar players to Hurley. “We were going back and forth (with Hurley), but we thought he was like some receivers and backs we already had.”
While Hurley wasn’t offered a scholarship at ASU, Randle just simply chose to leave Albany — a situation that White and his coaching staff run into often.
“It’s an opportunity for them to get out of town and play somewhere else,” White said. “We were after a local kid last year, but he felt like playing in a bigger city would be a better fit for him because he has been here his whole life. Even if he was living on campus, he would feel like he was still living at home.”
White said the lack of local players in the 2013 signing class could change soon.
“That could change by the end of this week,” White said. “We have seen some guys and liked some guys from here. We definitely have some ball players in town.”