The Georgia Southern Eagles experienced the kind of success that Eagles fans were dreaming of after Paul Johnson left. Since their last national championship, they had been through four head coaches and elicited very little FCS playoff success.
In 2010, they hired Paul Johnson's assistant and running backs coach Jeff Monken to lead the charge. He returned to the Eagles flexbone triple option attack that fans were accustomed to for so many years. The Eagles not only returned to the FCS playoffs but were 60 minutes from playing for the title. This FCS final four finish has the fan base energized and hopes renewed.
So how does this affect recruiting? You would think that recruiting interest is at an all time high. While it may be, Monken and staff don't have but a handful of scholarship to offer. In 2011, Georgia Southern returns all 11 starters on offense and 10 on defense with only starting Weakside LB EJ Webb exhausting his eligibility. Even both kickers are back. They are a lock for an FCS top-five pick when the polls are released in early August.
Prior to today, only cornerback Brandon Simmons out of Jefferson HS in Tampa has been confirmed by major outlets, though the Eagles do claim more commits. Simmons is a tall corner who could move to Safety. At 6'1, 180lbs with long arms, he is a very good athlete and one of the state's better long jumpers. Simmons had no FBS offers to this point but claimed offers from FCS Towson and Youngstown State before deciding on the Eagles in December.
Late Monday afternoon, the Atlanta Journal Constitution's Chip Towers reported via Twitter:
N. Gwinnett C Manrey Saint-Amour committed to Georgia Southern. Co-OL of Year for Gwinnett Co.
Saint-Amour is a 6'2, 250lbs lineman who fits Jeff Monken's smaller, athletic, hard nosed mold for his offensive front 5. He does have a frame that could add another 15-20lbs with proper nutrition and weight training.
While the 2011 recruiting cycle may not elicit many players, 2012 is sure to bring a healthy size class as Georgia Southern will graduate 13 players who are either projected starters or who played significant snaps in 2010.