Ten fast facts from Georgia State’s roster

Helmets with the Georgia State logo sits on a table after a news conference where Shawn Elliott was introduced as the head football coach for Georgia State in Atlanta, Georgia, on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. (DAVID BARNES / AJC file)
Helmets with the Georgia State logo sits on a table after a news conference where Shawn Elliott was introduced as the head football coach for Georgia State in Atlanta, Georgia, on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. (DAVID BARNES / AJC file)

Credit: DAVID BARNES / AJC file

Credit: DAVID BARNES / AJC file

The Georgia State football roster is deeper and more experienced this season. There are nine players returning from last season’s record-setting offense and nine returning defensive starters.

As the Panthers prepare to host the season opener Saturday against No. 19-ranked Louisiana-Lafayette, here are 10 other fast facts about the GSU roster.

1. A winning formula: Shawn Elliott has spent 23 seasons as a Division I football coach. During that time, he’s been a part of 21 winning seasons and 18 teams that reached the playoffs or a bowl game.

2. New faces on staff: There are three new assistant coaches on the GSU staff this season. Brian Landis (inside linebackers), Corey Peoples (cornerbacks) and Dan Ellington (offensive assistant) were added to the staff.

3. Zero hour: Junior receiver Terrance Dixon earned the right to become the first player in GSU history to wear No. 0. Dixon asked to change jersey numbers and was pleasantly surprised when asked if he wanted No. 0. Georgia State has 12 players with single-digit numbers.

4. Doubling-up: Nine players on the roster have duplicate numbers. This is now permitted by the NCAA, as long the players are not on the field at the same time. For example, receiver Jonathan Ifedi and linebacker Trajan Stephens-McQueen both wear No. 6 but one plays offense and the other defense.

5. Lucky No. 13: Dan Ellington wore that number last year. This season it belongs to freshman Christian Thomas, a wide receiver from Greater Atlanta Christian.

6. Making a switch: Last season quarterback Quad Brown won No. 1. This year he will wear No. 4, which was vacated by the graduation of cornerback Khai Anderson.

7. Breaking down the class: This year’s roster includes seven seniors and nine fifth-year seniors – include grad transfers kicker Noel Ruiz (North Carolina A&T) and safety Chris Moore (Virginia). There are 23 juniors, 19 sophomores, 23 redshirt freshmen and 21 freshmen. In addition to the two grad transfers, there are four others on the roster who have earned their undergraduate degree: wide receiver DeAndre Bowman, guard Shamarious Gilmore, Ifedi and receiver Matlin Marshall.

8. Where they’re from: There are 57 players from Georgia on the 103-man roster. South Carolina and Florida are represented by 16 players apiece, followed by Alabama and North Carolina with four apiece, Tennessee and Virginia with two each and Mississippi and Pennsylvania with one.

9. Representing the ATL: There are 24 players on the roster from metro Atlanta. Dacula High in Gwinnett County has three of those: cornerback Jaylon Jones, outside linebacker Victor Heyward and inside linebacker Joseph Lopez. Acworth, Dallas and Jonesboro each have two players on the team.

10. Stepping into the record book: Several Panthers are moving up on the school’s all-time list. Nose guard Dontae Wilson has 8.5 sacks, two away from the record. Stephens-McQueen is No. 6 in tackles (198). Wide receiver Cornelius McCoy in No. 6 with 105 receptions an 1,252 receiving yards.