“After practice he came up and told me I got it,” Strachan said. “It was shocking. Lot of hard work.”
The award was confirmation that Strachan had made a complete recovered from the torn left ACL he suffered last season just 17 plays into the historic win at Tennessee that began the 2019 season.
“Had he not torn his ACL, he was going to have an extremely successful year for us,” coach Shawn Elliott said. “He made so many plays in fall camp it wasn’t a secret that he had the ability to create explosive defensive plays. He’s worked extremely hard to get back, and now he’s reaping the benefits.”
Strachan (6-foot-4, 215 pounds) was recruited out of Camden County High School to play safety. He moved to outside linebacker after coach Shawn Elliott and defensive coordinator Nate Fuqua approached him during practice one morning and asked him to line up on the outside and rush the quarterback.
“Coach Elliott told me to come up and rush,” Strachan said. “I was big as a safety and they wanted to see me rush. I had a really good get-off and he said, ‘That’s your new position.’ It was a change, but I’ve adjusted to it.”
The numbers confirm it. Stachan leads the conference with 6.5 tackles for loss and five sacks, which already has tied Christo Bilukidi’s school’s single-season sack record set in 2010. He’s had a sack in three of the four games.
“He’s shown great power and presence,” Elliott said. “He’s got knowledge of stripping the football and getting it out of the quarterback’s hands. He’s done everything we’ve asked.”
Strachan said he still has more to give, thanks to listening to the advice his mother gave him years ago.
“She told me not to wait until it was time to starting putting in the time,” he said. “That’s what I’ve done. I just have to execute. There’s a lot more coming.”
This week’s game: The Panthers (2-2, 1-2 Sun Belt) return home Saturday for a noon start against No. 20-ranked Coastal Carolina (5-0, 3-0) at Center Parc Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPNU and can be heard locally on WRAS-FM 88.5.
Georgia State beat Coastal Carolina 31-21 a year ago and set a school record with 350 yards rushing, with three runners topping 100 yards. Georgia State leads the series 2-1, but the visiting team has won each game. Georgia State is 0-7 against ranked opponents and lost to then-No. 19 Louisiana in overtime to open the season.
This is the first time Coastal Carolina has won its first five games since moving into FBS in 2017. The Chanticleers opened the season with a win at Kansas. Last week they defeated Georgia Southern 28-14.
Starting Coastal Carolina quarterback Grayson McCall, a redshirt freshman, will miss his second consecutive game with an upper-body injury. He will be replaced again by Parkview High School product Fred Payton, who threw for 252 yards against Georgia Southern.
Payton is one of 21 Georgians on the roster. C.J. Marable, who played at Towers, leads the team in rushing (282 yards, four TDs) and is second with 14 receptions. Defensive lineman C.J. Brewer, a senior from Bowdon, has 3.5 sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss, four hurries and a force fumble.