Georgia State started classes for the spring semester on Monday and with it several new football players began to arrive.
The Panthers signed nine junior college players, some of whom enrolled in the spring and some of whom may arrive later.
So many junior college players were signed for two reasons: to increase the experience and maturation of the team in order to quicken the process of becoming more competitive, and to continue to balance the classes. Georgia State lost 14 seniors off last year’s 1-11 team, five of whom were starters.
In addition, there are a few transfers from Alabama-Birmingham and three high school players who went through the grayshirt process of sitting out the fall semester to enroll in the spring.
The players are listed below. I asked coach Trent Miles about a few of them in separate interviews. His thoughts are included beside each name.
Junior College players
Tre Campbell, Scottsdale, S, 6-1, 200: “Big, rangy safety, can run and cover a lot of ground.”
The Panthers return a few players at safety, including Nate Simon, Tarris Batiste and Bryan Williams, who is recovering from an injury. Additionally, Ronald Peterkin redshirted last year.
Kendrick Dorn, San Bernardino Valley, RB, 6-1, 210: “A good-size back, 200-something pounds with good acceleration and change of direction. Good speed and vision. Can pull away. Looking for him to compete right away.”
This position can be looked at as half-empty, half-full. The Panthers return Marcus Caffey, Kyler Neal and Jonathan Jean-Bart, but Neal and Jean-Bart are trying to come back from season-ending knee injuries. Caffey was inconsistent and had some issues with fumbles last year.
DeQueszman Kelley, Coffeyville CC, DL: 6-2, 285: “Brings size and athletic ability to our line. Can play nose or move out and play defensive tackle, maybe end. Smart, young man. Has three years to play. He’s an athletic big guy which we sorely need on the defensive line.”
Julien Laurent, New Mexico Military, DL, 6-3, 325: “Another three for three player. He’s a bigger, definitely an inside guy. Brings brains, toughness and girth to the inside position on our defensive front.”
Kelley and Laurent should boost what would be considered the most disappoint position group last year, defensive line. The starters were all sophomores and were expected to learn from playing as a freshmen. Instead, the group had just one sack and 8 ½ tackles for loss. Additionally, teams rushed for more than 300 yards per game against the Panthers.
Kameron Myers, East Mississippi, WR, 5-8, 175: Myers recently signed. He would seem to be the type of player to fill the slot role held by Avery Sweeting.
Kelvin Rainey, Iowa Western, LB, 6-3, 225: “A bounce-back from South Carolina. He’s a rangy, very athletic outside linebacker who can run. He can move. He’s got length and he’s tough.”
Kaleb Ringer, Butler, LB, 6-1, 238: “A big 238-pound ex-Michigan guy. Good nose for the ball, tough physical inside linebacker. Very aggressive inside guy.”
The Panthers return Joseph Peterson, the team’s heart, Trey Payne, Malik Ricks and others at inside linebacker. But it’s no secret the team has to get tougher and bigger up the middle if it hopes to stop teams from rushing for more than 300 yards per game against them.
Dom Roldan, Grossmont, OL, 6-5, 340: “Huge. About 6-5, 354 pounds. Moves his feet well. Tough guy. Right tackle.”
Roldan should compete for a starting position on a line that lost two starters at right tackle and center. Additionally, starting left tackle Michael Ivory suffered a season-ending foot injury last year. Miles said Ivory’s rehab is going well and he should be ready for spring ball, barring any setbacks.
The line desperately needs more depth and competition. The loss of Ivory last year caused all sorts of shuffling and problems for the production of the group.
Tyler Simonsen, San Bernardino, OL, 6-2, 313: “Another inside offensive linemen. He can move really well. Moves well. physical.”
Again, more depth on the line should create more competition. The group returns starters Taylor Evans and Alex Stoehr, as well as spot starters and rotational players Steve Wolgamott, Jah-Mai Davidson, Davis Moore, Akil Hawkins, Sebastian Willer, Mark Ruskell and Gabe Mobley, a freshman who redshirted last year.
High School Players
Ed Curney, Carver, 5-11, 220, LB.
Ari Werts, Stephenson, 6-4, 220, TE: The position would seem to be deep with Joel Ruiz, Keith Rucker and Bill Teknipp. However, Rucker had some injury issues and Teknipp didn’t play a lot, so there’s a chance for Werts to compete.
Lucas Johnson, Cass 6-4, 260, OL: Johnson likely weighs a lot more than 260 now. More depth and competition.
Transfers from Alabama-Birmingham
Bobby Baker, DB, 6-3, 185: He missed the final games because of an injury. Before going to UAB, he played at Pierce College, which is where Georgia State quarterback Nick Arbuckle played.
DeMarcus Kirk, RB: