DJ writes about Georgia State football for Panther Talk.
Georgia State joins the ranks of college football, with former Alabama head coach Bill Curry at the helm. Curry has put together two impressive recruiting classes guided by a veteran coaching staff.
Former Georgia Tech offensive coordinator John Bond will showcase two years of preparation in form of a spread offense he first implemented at Northern Illinois when the Huskies won a pair of MAC Western Division titles and two bowl games. Defensive coordinator John Thompson looks to bring an opportunistic style of defense he has been crafting since his tenure at Mississippi and throughout his stints at Florida, Arkansas, South Carolina and LSU.
On the recruiting front, Curry has turned to assistant head coach George Pugh, who has over 25 years of experience mining and developing football talent across the country. The results thus far have raised a few eyebrows, as the brand new Panther program has landed a considerable amount of FBS recruits.
Parris Lee, the former Rivals.com no. 62 running back in the nation, passed on offers from UCF and South Florida to jumpstart the young GSU program. In the secondary, the Panthers will look for leadership from Fred Barnes, the former Scout.com nationally ranked safety prospect.
The GSU linebacker corps could be the deepest of all positions, led by a pair of hard-hitting Samoans, Jake and Louie Muasau. Coming out of high school, Jake had an offer from Nebraska, while Louie was offered by Arizona, but the two brothers ended up taking the junior college route before landing at GSU. Joining them at outside linebacker is Robert Ferguson, the Florida prospect who turned down a pair of Big East programs to come to GSU.
The FBS transfer pipeline has been kind so far to Curry and his staff. It started when the former UCF receiver Sidney Haynes came to GSU in 2009, followed by center Ben Jacoby from Ball State. Fresh off of an ACC Championship, guard Joseph Gilbert and offensive tackle Clyde Yandell graduated from Georgia Tech in July and enrolled in Georgia State’s MBA program as they look to provide invaluable talent and experience to the Panthers’ offensive line for the next two years. Former Auburn tight end Bailey Woods followed the same path after graduating in May and enrolling at GSU in June.
The story that caught the most national attention this summer has been the transfer of Star Jackson, the former Alabama backup quarterback who looks to be the leading candidate for the starting role at GSU. The Panthers will need all the experience they can get, as the season starts on September 2 in the Georgia Dome against Shorter College and ends in Tuscaloosa against the defending national champion, the Alabama Crimson Tide.