With its first football game less than eight months away, Georgia State went looking for size and defensive players Wednesday and the Panthers got both.
Georgia State signed 18 defensive players and the new class includes 13 players who weigh more than 240 pounds. The group also includes 14 junior college players and one transfer, defensive back Jocquez Fears formerly at Northeastern University.
Coach Bill Curry said the recruiting class helps the Panthers work toward their Sept. 2 opener against Shorter in the Georgia Dome.
“This class was enormous,” Curry said. “In addition to the defensive players we got, we gotten depth on the lines."
Georgia State did not sign many blue chippers on its second-ever signing day, but it was able to keep most of its commitments.
The Panthers even added some late commitments like St. Pius X running back Cole Moon and Florida kicker Pat Baker. Moon, rated the nation’s No. 11 fullback prospect by Rivals.com, is the all-time leading rusher in St. Pius history with 3,761 yards and 56 touchdowns. Baker, from Vero Beach, Fla., made 18 of 26 field goals in his last two seasons, including a 50-yarder last season.
Curry said Moon was a “tough player” and Baker really wanted to play for Georgia State and adds special teams depth.
The only two players who changed their minds on Georgia State before signing day were Cody Tomlinson, a defensive end from Marietta, and Willie Huggins, a defensive lineman from of Clewiston, Fla.
But Curry said he thought the program did a good job of maintaining its commitments.
GSU’s emphasis on defensive players started almost immediately after last year’s signing day, when the Panthers signed 20 offensive players.
“Last year we had a whole lot of offensive guys and that was not by design. But we felt that if a good player wants to commit to us, we’ve got to take it,” Curry said. “What you’re seeing is the result of almost a solid year of work on defensive players.”
Assistant head coach/defensive coordinator John Thompson said bringing in so many defensive signees corrects the roster imbalance. He was especially excited about the addition of brothers Jake and Louie Muasau, who both played linebacker at Phoenix College.
“They bring a temperament and an attitude that is really fun,” Thompson said.
Curry said Georgia State’s willingness to sign so many junior college players was, “because we didn’t feel like we wanted to run on the field with all red-shirted freshmen and a couple of transfers.”
Georgia State could have between 56 and 58 scholarship players on its roster by the time of its season opener.
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