Georgia State’s Justin Abraham an artist on and off the football field

Georgia State linebacker Justin Abraham

Credit: Georgia State Athletics

Credit: Georgia State Athletics

Georgia State linebacker Justin Abraham

Turns out that Georgia State’s Justin Abraham can create more than chaos.

The senior inside linebacker is an art major whose medium is sculpture. The hands that grab opposing quarterbacks and the arms that knock the opposition out of the way also are adept at creating exhibition-quality artwork. His work will be part of an art show on the GSU campus from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 11.

“I’m already an artist, but I want to be a world-renowned artist,” he said.

Abraham prefers to work with metal and wood. At 6-foot-1, 230 pounds, he’s big enough and strong enough to handle the demands of sculpting. And he’s dedicated to his art, spending time on it every day.

“It’s more about the process than doing the physical work,” he said. “The physical part is easy. It’s the thought that comes with it, figuring out where you’re going to put stuff is the hard part. It’s been coming out good.”

Abraham is his own worst critic and can be hard on himself.

“I criticize myself on football, but I’ve coaches who criticize me on football,” he said. “When it comes to art, there’s not a lot of people who will come up to you and say, ‘Your stuff is garbage.’”

The artwork is another layer that makes Abraham — a self-professed “country boy” — one of the more interesting and multidimensional members of the Panthers squad. He’s also a NASCAR fan, having grown up in Hartsville, South Carolina, just 14 miles from the famed Darlington Raceway.

“I grew up working on cars and my grandaddy took me to my first one when I was probably like 12 or 13,” he said. “I’ve been to a few.”

He came to Georgia State after getting his first offer from then-coach Shawn Elliott. His other options were Coastal Carolina (“too close to home”) and Liberty University (“too cold”). Abraham moved into the starting lineup as a sophomore and finished with 82 tackles in 2023, tying for a game-high six tackles in the Potato Bowl.

With the graduation of Jontrey Hunter, Abraham is expected to be one of the top players on defense this fall. He has 148 total career tackles and needs 58 tackles to tie Quavian White and Robert Ferguson for 10th place on the all-time list.

Abraham said the transition to the new coaching staff is going well this spring.

“I love it and I’m having fun,” he said. “(The staff) is doing a good job making sure the boys are elevated, emotionally and mentally, and making sure we’re still having fun. I’ve been enjoying it since they came in.”

New head coach Dell McGee has seen enough of Abraham to recognize his potential impact on the team.

“He’s a vocal leader,” McGee said. “He’s experienced. He’s a confident young man. Just glad that he’s providing leadership to our younger guys and on the defense. He’s going to be counted on heavily this season.”

The outgoing Abraham doesn’t mind talking.

“I’m a field general, always talking and pointing,” he said. “I’ll be talking and not even know I’m talking half the time. But I’ve got to be on point, having those sets of eyes on me, knowing they look up to me on and off the field.”

The Panthers will complete spring practice next week, then host the annual Blue-White game at 4 p.m. Friday.