By far the deepest and most talented position group of the Panther's defense heading in to 2012 is the secondary. Georgia State returns three senior starters, though one of them has changed positions. Behind those starters is a stable of talented players, most of which have already contributed in some capacity. Leading the group is seniors Brent McClendon, D'mario Gunn, and Demazio Skelton. Gunn and Skelton came to Georgia State last season from Georgia Military Colllege and had an immediate impact. McClendon has been a starter at cornerback in every game for the Panthers and while he doesn't wow you with numbers he is one of the most consistent performers on the team and plays a big time leadership role. Projected to start opposite McClendon at the other corner position is Demarius Matthews. Behind those two are juniors Nate Anthony and Jamal Ransby and sophomore Isaiah Howard. All three of those players have played significant minutes for Georgia State in their first two seasons. Rashad Stewart is junior transfer from Louisville who could start at the free safety position, allowing Gunn to play the hybrid wolf position. Providing depth behind Stewart and Skelton at safety is Jamaal May, Robert Smith, and freshman Ladarion Young.
Brent McClendon- "Buck" has been a model of consistency in his time as a panther. He has started in more than twenty games for the Panthers and is a leader on and off the field. While he hasn't put up flashy numbers in his time in the blue and white, he has been solid with career totals of 67 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions, five pass breakups, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. He is a very versatile defensive back as he has lined up at safety in certain packages and is one of the more sure tacklers on the team.
Demarius Matthews- After serving as primarily a return man in 2010, Matthews burst on the scene in 2011with 33 tackles while leading the team with nine pass breakups. He is one of the fastest players on the team and has great instincts which allows him to cut off routes and get his hands on the ball. However, he did not record any interceptions last season, something defensive coordinator Anthony Midget certainly hopes changes in 2012. He continued his impressive work into the spring where he was named most outstanding player on the defense. Matthews could be one of the most dynamic players on the field for the Panthers this fall.
Jamal Ransby- Ransby is GSU's career leader in interceptions with three over the last two seasons, which i'm sure is something defensive coordinator Anthony Midget wouldn't want him to boast about. Ransby was having a good spring before injuring his knee and missing the majority of camp. He is back to full strength now and will look to be an impacty player this season. There will be a heavy rotation in the secondary, but Ransby is one of the best in the bunch. He will line up with the starters opposite Demarius Matthews.
Isaiah Howard- Howard took a redshirt last season after switching back and forth from offense to defense a couple times. He played in five games as a backup defensive back in 2010, but he has been identified in multiple instances by his peers as one of the leaders of the team. Howard will certainly see the field more this season and will look to add depth behind the talented starting duo of Matthews and Ransby.
Nate Anthony- Anthony moved to defense in 2011 after spending the Panthers' inaugural season at wide receiver. The junior has made the biggest impact thus far on special teams where he plays on the coverage and return units. Look for Anthony to again have a presence in special duties and to add depth at cornerback when called upon.
Myles Morris- Morris signed with the Panthers in 2012 and will be a true freshman this fall. He has served as a return man in the past and could provide depth in that role for GSU this season. However, with the depth at cornerback already in place it is likely he will redshirt.
Chris Jenkins- Jenkins is an athlete that could play anywhere in the secondary and played quarterback in high school. He is one of the better athletes that GSU signed in 2012 and will be a difference maker when his time comes. As with Morris, Jenkins will likely redshirt.
D'Mario Gunn- Gunn moved to safety after starting at cornerback last season. He will also play some in the wolf but has tremendous ball skills that will make him a weapon at free safety. Both positions will allow him to free lance a little and will take advantage of his athleticism and good instincts more than the cornerback position did. Gunn will be one of the biggest difference makers on the field for GSU this season.
Rashad Stewart- The former Louisville transfer played in only three games last fall, but is very talented and has given D'Mario Gunn a battle for the starting free safety spot. During spring camp Stewart was running with the starters and Gunn with the number twos, but that has since been reversed. Stewart will still see significant playing time with Gunn also spending time at the Wolf position and will likely be a star on the special teams unit. He is one of the more talented players on the field at any time and hopefully Panther fans see more results from him in 2012.
Demazio Skelton- Skelton was arguably the best player on the entire defense last fall. He was second on the team in tackles with 61, second on the team in pass breakups with six, and led the team in interceptions with two. He has a knack for making big plays on a team that struggled to come up with those on the defensive side of the ball in 2011. Skelton needs another big year for the Panthers, but hopefully he won't be required to clean up missed tackles as much as he was last season.
Robert Smith- Smith joined the team as a walk on and has since earned his way into the rotation at safety. He will likely be a special teams contributor and provide depth for the top three players.
Jamaal May- May also joined the team after a tryout and has since earned his way onto the field. May will not see the field much, but has earned his stripes on the practice field.
LaDarion Young- The true freshman from Pensacola could make an immediate impact for the Panthers at safety. He is one of the more talented players to sign with the Panthers and will be a play maker throughout his career. However, this season's production may be limited due to the talent that is in front of him. Look for number 20 on defense to make a few big plays and show a glimpse of his bright future.