December 9, 2016, Atlanta - Shawn Elliott speaks at a press conference where he was introduced as the head football coach for Georgia State in Atlanta, Georgia, on Friday, December 9, 2016. (DAVID BARNES / DAVID.BARNES@AJC.COM)
Photo: David Barnes/DAVID BARNES / AJC
Photo: David Barnes/DAVID BARNES / AJC

Georgia State adds seven players on signing day

Georgia State signed seven players Wednesday on the first day of the spring signing period to complete coach Shawn Elliott’s 2019 recruiting class.

After 13 signed during the early signing period in December, Elliott finishes with 20 new players. 

This will be Elliott’s third season at the helm of the Panthers program. Looking at the group of signees in December, he said they filled the need for the line of scrimmage. The February signees allowed him and his staff the chance to add other components to their roster.

“We felt we met our needs with the line of scrimmage in the first signing class, and could go to the secondary and our skill players and offense in the wide receiver position,” he said. “And certainly we wanted to add a place-kicker, and we met that need as well. Like I said, overall we are pretty happy.”

The group of February signees adds two wide receivers, one defensive lineman, one tight end, a cornerback, a safety and a place-kicker. 

Jamari Thrash and Cadarrius Thompson are the two wide receivers. Thrash recorded 62 catches for 1,410 yards and 18 touchdowns during his junior year at Troup County High School, and 34 catches and 10 touchdowns in his senior year. Thompson, a 2-star recruit from Florence High School in Alabama, caught 31 passes for 549 yards and six touchdowns as a senior.

“(Thompson is a) big, strong guy that can go up and reach for the ball and just gives you great athleticism. He’s somebody that we feel like could be a great deep threat and a tremendous athlete,” Elliott said. “And with Thrash I think he’s got the speed; he’s got the dependable hands that you are looking for.”

Avery Reece is the only tight end in the class. Reece is a 3-star prospect from Belton-Honea Path High School in South Carolina who is recognized for his ability to block. He recorded seven catches for 119 yards and two touchdowns during his junior season. He was chosen to play in the North Carolina-South Carolina Shrine Bowl all-star game. 

On defense, the Panthers add cornerback Cameron Sims from Tennessee. He recorded five interceptions and 32 tackles as a senior. He was named first-team all-state by the Tennessee Sportswriters Association. He won two state titles in 2016 and 2017 for Lausanne Collegiate in Memphis, which advanced to the 2018 semifinals. 

Georgia State’s connection to Deerfield Beach, Fla., continues to grow stronger as GSU added two more players from Deerfield Beach High School. Defensive lineman Miles Dickens joins former teammate Javon Denis in the 2019 class and two former teammates, Despelado Alexandre and Cornelius McCoy, at GSU. Denis signed in December. 

“We’re thrilled to death to have Miles,” Elliott said. “Miles is a guy we really didn’t target early on because I think he was committed elsewhere early on, and then became available. Miles, he turned down a lot of big schools to come here to Georgia State.” 

The Panthers also added one special-teams member with a place-kicker. Michael Hayes is a two-star kicker from Florence, S.C. During his senior season, he scored six of eight attempted field goals and 64 of 65 extra-point attempts. He averaged 40 yards per punt, with 50 yards being his longest punt, and recorded 72 touchbacks on kickoffs. 

“He’s a kicker, he’s a kickoff guy,” Elliott said. “When I say place-kicker, he’s a kickoff guy and also he punts. That’s big when you can get one guy that handles all three phases, and he does all three pretty well.” 

Antavious Lane is a three-star safety from West Palm Beach, Fla. He is one of two members for the 2019 class from Dwyer High School. He joins offensive tackle Ronald Folkes, who signed with the Panthers in December. He will join Herman McCray, a former teammate at Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach, who is a tight end for GSU. 

Georgia State Class of 2019

Player, Pos., Ht., Wt., Hometown

February 

Miles Dickens, DL, 6-2, 249, Deerfield Beach, Fla.   

Michael Hayes, P-PK, 5-9, 186, Florence, S.C.   

Antavious Lane, S, 5-9, 180, West Palm Beach, Fla.   

Avery Reece, TE, 6-2, 273, Belton, S.C.   

Cameron Sims, CB, 6-1, 180, Cordova, Tenn.   

Cadarrius Thompson, WR, 6-3, 180, Florence, Ala.   

Jamari Thrash, WR, 6-0, 180, LaGrange

December

Marcus Anderson, ILB, 5-10, 215, Norman Park

Trey Bonner, OL, 6-3, 278, Gray

Cornelious Brown, QB, 6-5, 180, Calera, Ala.

Jeffrey Clark, DL, 6-0, 265, Powder Springs

Luis Cristobal, OL, 6-0, 301, Miami

Javon Denis, DL, 6-0, 243, Deerfield Beach, Fla.

Ronald Folkes, OT, 6-4, 270, Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Tahji Gilbert, DL, 6-0, 282, Morton, Miss.

Thomas Gore, DL, 6-0, 285, Antoich, Tenn.

Tyreke Harrison, DB, 5-10, 180, Plant City, Fla.

Jay Lepkoske, OLB, 6-1, 204, Sautee Nacoochee

Jaquez Pennimon, DB, 6-0, 185, Macon

Jordan Veneziale, ILB, 6-0, 209, Dallas, Ga.

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