Football expands 2017 roster with JUCO transfers


Tulane football charges onto the field against Southern University on Sep. 10.

In the wake of a 4-9, 1-7 American Athletic Conference season, head coach Willie Fritz has found a new source of talent: junior college transfers.

Athletes use time in JUCO to gain experience and put together a resume with the hopes of transferring to a different program. Often, these players get recruited out of high school, but do not receive significant game time, or faced a series of disciplinary or academic issues at the Division I level. Fritz and Tulane football have used this system to get higher levels of talent.

The centerpiece of Fritz’s three JUCO acquisitions is dual-threat quarterback Jonathan Banks.

Banks, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound passer, was a four-star recruit out of high school who began his college career at Kansas State University. He transferred to Independence Community College after one year with the Jayhawks, and racked up 1,338 passing yards, 615 rushing yards and a combined 16 touchdowns last season.

Fritz said he expects Banks to be in the mix for Tulane’s starting quarterback position next season, as he still has two years of eligibility remaining.

“He has good size, good arm strength and good speed,” Fritz said. “We’re excited that he will be able to be here this spring, pick our offense up and compete for a starting position.”

Fritz also added Jabril Clewis, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound receiver who started his career at San Diego State University before transferring to Grossmont College in El Cajon, California. He had 34 catches for 600 yards and four touchdowns last season.

“Jabril has great size, speed and physicality as a receiver,” Fritz said in a statement. “We wanted to get bigger at the receiver position and we certainly did with the addition of Jabril.”

The final JUCO transfer was 6-foot-3, 295-pound interior offensive lineman Dominique Briggs. Briggs has played on both sides of the line, but Fritz believes his role with the Wave will be either as a guard or a center.

“He has a great work ethic and really enjoys practicing and playing the game,” Fritz said.  “We look for him to be a contributor at the center or guard positions on the offensive line.”

Though Briggs did not transfer from a Division I school to Coffeyville Community College,  Fritz knows his way around Coffeyville football. He served as the school’s defensive coordinator from 1987-90 and helped lead the team to a JUCO national championship in 1990.

With three additions to the roster for spring practice and high school recruiting heating up, the Green Wave continues to seek new talent and improve for the 2017 season.

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