Before the season I listed the 10 players who I thought would most impact Georgia State’s football season.
Over the next days, I’ll review the list and detail how each player performed in the 1-11, 0-8 in the Sun Belt campaign.
As they were listed, we will count down from 10 to 1.
We started with No. 10 Matt Hubbard, moved on to No. 9 Shawayne Lawrence, No. 8 Robert Davis No. 7 Bruce Dukes, No. 6 Marcus Caffey, No. 5 Tarris Batiste and No. 4 Michael Ivory.
We move on to….
No. 3 Mackendy Cheridor
Here’s what I wrote:
How can Cheridor make a difference? Get to the quarterback, get to the quarterback and, umm, get to the quarterback. Cheridor’s wingspan is almost 70 inches, so even when he can’t get to the quarterback, he can still reach the quarterback.
Cheridor, perhaps more than any other player on Jesse Minter’s defense, should benefit from playing last year. He should now be used to the speed of the game and the calls within the defense that will allow him to play without thinking, a requirement for a position that wants you to get from A to B as quickly as possible.
Best-case scenario: Cheridor posts five sacks. He becomes productive enough that opponents must shift a tight end over, or leave a running back in to help block him, which is one less weapon for the offenses to use.
Even pressures (when the quarterback is forced to move or throw before he’s ready) can result in disruptive plays. It’s not a stat that Georgia State kept last year, but you will notice if Cheridor is affecting the other team.
Worst-case scenario: Cheridor experiences a sophomore slump and opponents are able to block him with a single player. As a result, double-teams can be used in other places and the Panthers are once again mostly unable to get to the quarterback. There aren’t many impactful plays and the defense struggles to get off the field.
So, was it the best-case scenario or worst-case scenario?
The worst-case scenario, mostly.
Until Cheridor sustained his knee injury in the loss at Washington, teams often wouldn’t run to his side, which is a positive.
However, Cheridor wasn’t able to make as many plays as his potential projected as a pass rusher. He posted just one sack, and that came on an option play that originally was credited as a tackle for loss. Teams did try to chip him a lot with a second blocker so, while a compliment, affected his production.
The problem for Georgia State was Cheridor was one of just three players who could sporadically get near the quarterback. The team finished with just 12 sacks, second fewest in the Sun Belt.
Cheridor should be OK for next year after surgery was performed a two months ago.