Middleton joins Senior Bowl
Molly Middleton has joined the Reese’s Senior Bowl staff as media relations coordinator. She had previously worked for the game the past three years as an intern and has now been hired on a full-time basis. She is a Mobile native and graduate of UMS-Wright. She also graduated from the University of Alabama, where she was a communications assistant in the school’s athletics department. She recently worked in sports communications and was with the business and operations department for a staffing and recruiting company in Nashville.
Wommack 1st and 10 speaker
South Alabama head football coach Kane Wommack will be the guest speaker at tonight’s (Wednesday, Sept. 22) 1st and 10 Club meeting at the Mobile Marriott, located at 3101 Airport Blvd. The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. Wommack is in his first year as the Jaguars’ head coach and he has led the team to a 3-0 start to the season. He is the first speaker for the club this season. Other scheduled guests include Alabama assistant coach Sal Sunseri on Monday, Oct. 25, St. Michael head football coach and former NFL standout quarterback Philip Rivers on Monday, Nov. 15, and the head coaches of the participating teams in the LendingTree Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 14. For further information, contact the Lending Tree Bowl, which conducts the 1st and 10 Club meetings. The office can be reached by phone at 251-635-0011 or online at lendingtreebowl.com.
Senior Bowl adds Ticket Launch
The Reese’s Senior Bowl hosted its first-ever Ticket Launch on Sept. 15 and has already provided two exclusive ticket presales. The first presale was for the fan base that includes Senior Bowl Committee members and recurring ticket purchasers, with the other available for South Alabama season ticket holders. After those presales, only around 14,000 tickets remained available for the 2022 game at South Alabama’s Hancock Whitney Stadium. This year’s game will be played on Feb. 5 at 1:30 p.m. It will be televised by the NFL Network. “Our staff is excited to roll out our 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl Ticket Launch, and we anticipate a quick sellout,” Executive Director Jim Nagy said. “The move to Hancock Whitney Stadium was a game-changer last year, especially when it came to the overall fan experience. Being on campus at the University of South Alabama provided a true family-friendly atmosphere, and despite being at only one-quarter capacity, there was still incredible energy in the stadium on game day.” Ticket options include: chairback seats $55, benchback seats $35 and $40, and bleacher seats $12, $18, $25 and $40. Contact the Senior Bowl at 251-438-2276 or purchase tickets online at seniorbowl.com/tickets.
The USGA’s U.S. Women’s Senior Open concluded last Thursday — one day later than scheduled because of a rainstorm on Wednesday — at Point Clear’s Lakewood Golf Club. Despite the weather issues later in the tournament, the event was a success, both in the competition, the performance and conditions of the golf course, and the economic impact for the Fairhope area.
Keeping tabs all along the way and planning for the event for more than two years — the event was supposed to be played at Lakewood last year but was postponed until this year because of COVID-19 concerns — was Lakewood Director of Golf Niall Fraser. He and his staff were busy throughout the week of play and with other events associated with the tournament. It was one of just 14 USGA events staged across the country this year.
Fraser said he was pleased with the results and how the course held up under championship competition. He spoke with Lagniappe following the completion of play on Thursday.
Q: Now that it’s over, how does it feel?
A: I just told my assistant pro, “Now we’ve got to go find something else to do; now we’ve got to go chase something else to bring.” It’s almost like a load off your shoulders, but it’s been so exciting the last two years planning for it and actually having it here. Then we got the rain and the next day you have to get the place ready. But it’s on to new things.
Q: You had a lot of rain (Wednesday) and then another inch of rain pops up early (Thursday) morning. How do you feel your folks responded to the challenge in getting the course ready for play?
A: We had five inches over the last 24 hours, an inch and two-tenths at 4 o’clock this morning. The crew was out there working. We had some bunkers that had water. We had to get out of there and get the bunkers put back together. There was some question as to whether the fairways would be ready, but you know what? The sun came out, the fairways started to dry out and we got the tournament in. You couldn’t ask for more.
Q: When you look back over the past two years, what will you remember most about the experience?
A: Two years ago there was no problem, even though we’ve got lots of things to plan. So many little things and getting to that last week and the week of, just small, little things that you have to do and make sure you have — Do we have enough ice? Do we have enough snacks? Do we have enough water? — just those little things that make the tournament great. I told my staff that sometimes it’s like a food event with golf in between because there’s so much of that goes on. We served 2,200 lunches, almost 2,000 breakfasts, just things like that. Plus, you’ve got 132 golfers out there and if there’s lightning you have to get them in [to the clubhouse] safely. There’s just so many things that you have to plan for. It was a great education; now we look for what’s next.
Q: What are your plans for (Friday)? Are you going to sleep in?
Ex-Jags, McGill star charged with murder
Former South Alabama and McGill-Toolen football player Jereme Jones has been charged with first-degree murder following a shooting Saturday morning at the Golden Nugget Casino in Biloxi.
He is being held at the Harrison County Adult Detention Center in Mississippi under a $1 million bond, which was set by Harrison County Justice Court Judge Albert Fountain, according to news reports by WLOX TV in the Gulfport-Biloxi area.
Jones, 30, who played wide receiver for the Jaguars from 2010-14 and graduated from McGill-Toolen in 2009, is charged with allegedly shooting Randy Johnson, 41, of Gulfport several times at close range. Johnson, who was employed by King’s Barber Shop in Gulfport and is the father of two daughters and a son, was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to reports by the Associated Press and WLOX, the two men became engaged in a “physical altercation” outside the casino. One of the reports noted Johnson ran back into the casino and, according to witness accounts to police, Jones followed, allegedly shooting Johnson inside the casino.
Jones reportedly fled the scene on foot and was later arrested near the Biloxi Bay Bridge by police. He was armed with a gun at the time of his arrest, according to reports.
News reports noted it is not known at this time if the men knew each other previously or what may have triggered the incident and shooting. The investigation was continuing on Sunday. Apparently, around 12:30 a.m. Saturday, area police departments received several 911 calls concerning a disturbance at the casino.
At McGill-Toolen, Jones was an honorable mention all-state receiver and first-team all-region selection as a wide receiver. He was a key member of the team’s success during his time there. He arrived at South Alabama for the 2009 season and was redshirted. He would spend four seasons on the field for the Jags from 2010-14.
In 2010, he caught 21 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns, returned seven kickoffs for 167 yards and had 18 punt returns for 155 yards. As a sophomore in 2011, he had 45 catches for seven touchdowns and 513 yards. He followed that up the next season with 40 catches for 457 yards and three TDs. As a senior in 2014, he caught 36 passes for 378 yards and two touchdowns.
His senior year, Jones, who previously had worn jersey No. 11, was awarded the No. 5 jersey. It was presented to a senior player who had earned the respect of his coaches and teammates during his time with the team and to honor former player Anthony Mostella, who was the first to wear the number at South Alabama. Mostella died in a motorcycle accident while still on the Jags’ roster. Then head coach Joey Jones, who also coached Mostella at Birmingham-Southern, started the tradition of presenting the jersey to a senior member of the team. The tradition was halted during Steve Campbell’s three years as head coach, but was recently reinstated by current head coach Kane Wommack, who changed the tradition in that it is awarded to a different player each game.
NFL.com named Jones to its 14-player “Freakish Athletes List” in 2014. The list seeks to recognize college football players for their “freakish” athletic abilities. In listing Jones, the article noted Jones, a senior for the Jags at the time, could run a 4.48 40-yard dash, bench press 365 pounds and squat 545 pounds, despite his 5-foot-8, 160-pound frame. He also had a 37.5-inch vertical leap and a long jump of 10 feet, 1 inch.
He would later play two seasons (2017-18) for the Green Bay Blizzard of the Indoor Football League where he caught 14 passes for 196 yards and four touchdowns over the two seasons. He also had a rushing TD on 10 carries.
On his Instagram account, he describes himself as a “coach, mentor, entrepreneur.” His LinkedIn account notes he coached wide receivers at McGill-Toolen from 2015-16 and was a retail sales consultant for AT&T.
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