Georgia State’s 3 key players to watch for 2020 season

Georgia State starting quarterback Quad Brown.
Georgia State starting quarterback Quad Brown.

Credit: Ben Ennis

Credit: Ben Ennis

Georgia State aspires to become a contender for the Sun Belt Conference championship. The Panthers have inched closer to making that more than just a dream since Shawn Elliott arrived three years ago, with two winning seasons and two bowl trips over that span.

If they want to take the next step — and play with the big boys such as Appalachian State, Louisiana-Lafayette and Georgia Southern — the Panthers can’t afford to sputter on offense and need to continue to improve on defense. With that in mind, here are three players who will be crucial to the team’s success.

Explore5 keys to Georgia State's season

Quarterback Quad Brown

It hardly seems fair to put the onus on a redshirt freshman who has appeared in only four games, but Brown will need to mature in a hurry and perform at a high level for the Panthers to have a chance. It’s impossible to hide the quarterback on any team, but it’s especially impossible when you compete in a high-octane league like the Sun Belt.

Brown appears to have all the tools needed to get the job done. He has great size (6-foot-5, 200 pounds), has a cannon for an arm and is skilled enough to run the ball. It’s just a matter of how he performs under pressure and how he grows into the role.

He has numerous advantages over others in a similar situation. He knows the system and is surrounded by some outstanding players at other positions.

“He does have a solid group that starts ahead of him,” Elliott said. “The offensive line, the perimeter guys, multiple tight ends that can do a lot for him. That will help him.”

Left guard Shamarious Gilmore

His name is Shamarious, but his friends call him Quion (Da’Quion is his middle name) or Kwon. The 6-3, 295-pound senior from Drew High is a three-year starter and last year helped the team set school records for rushing yards and total offense.

Gilmore is the most decorated player on the team. He was an honorable mention All-Sun Belt choice in 2017 and 2018, a third-team selection in 2019 and a first-team preseason selection this season. He was named to the watch list for the Outland Trophy.

“He’s been playing forever,” Elliott said. “I don’t know many snaps he’s had, but he’s almost played every down the last three seasons. That’s crazy to think about. He’s seen so much football, he just has great knowledge and knows what to expect. No moment is too big for him.”

Gilmore is one of four returning starters on one of the most experienced group of returning linemen in the conference.

ExplorePanthers identify two defensive contributors in camp

Nose guard Dontae Wilson

He’s quiet by nature, but the Jefferson native makes a lot of noise with his play. A two-year starter, Wilson (6-0, 275) was an honorable mention All-Sun Belt selection in 2019 and earned a second-team nod on the 2020 preseason team.

Wilson had 47 tackles, seven tackles for loss and three sacks as a junior. His was at his best against the tricky running attack of Army, where he made 10 tackles in a game played during heavy rain. Wilson ranks third on the school’s all-time list with 8.5 career sacks and is eighth with 16 tackles for loss. He needs two sacks to tie Mackendy Cheridor (2013-17) for the all-time lead.

“He’s the heart of the defense,” Elliott said. “That’s why we’ve got him in the middle. He will continue to do his thing … being disruptive and playing as hard as he can.”