During each college football camp, there are players that emerge that were overlooked for various reasons: they transferred in from a far-off college, they’ve been deep on the depth chart, other players at their position take the spotlight, etc.
Here are five players at Georgia State’s camp who are starting to emerge as potential starters, or who may not start but should play a lot based upon their production in camp:
5-8, 185 pounds
Almost every practice, Bateman will get the ball, disappear behind the line for a second, and then emerge through a tiny hole and take off down the field. This happens time after time.
The position group seemed deep at the beginning of camp with Kyler Neal, Kendrick Dorn, Marcus Caffey, Krysten Hammon and Demarcus Kirk. Bateman was just another player on the depth chart with not much known about him because he was transferring in from a community college in California.
Now, Hammon and Kirk are gone and Bateman is taking advantage of his opportunity.
“A dynamic football player with great vision and natural speed,” coach Trent Miles said. “Great sense for finding the hole. Right height he can hide behind big guys on zone blocking and pick a hole to come through. Great acceleration, tough kid.”
Bateman rushed for 1,135 yards at Long Beach City College and caught 36 passes for 452 yards. If he can pass block, he can be a weapon in the offense.
5-10, 165 pounds
Coaches were high on Smith during the spring, saying he was one of the team’s most improved players. He has continued to get better in camp and is usually the nickelback when the secondary switches to five men.
“Excellent ability,” Miles said. “Every day he is getting better. Short corner, but at the same time you couldn’t tell him that he’s short because he’s so competitive. You’d think he is 6-foot. He does a great job of competing every day and he’s got speed.”
Smith may not win a starting job because Bruce Dukes and Chandon Sullivan are seemingly ensconced at those spots. But if either of them were to falter or sustain an injury, Smith may become the starter.
6-2, 240 pounds
Defensive coordinator Jesse Minter was reciting a list of players who could play and Allen’s was one of the first mentioned.
“A beast,” Miles said. “An excellent talent that’s a great kid from a great family. His motor runs the way you want a d-lineman’s motor to run. He only knows one speed. He’s physical.”
The defensive line remains one of Georgia State’s biggest question marks after two years of lackluster production. If the starters can’t make plays, Allen may get an opportunity.
Bryant might have played last year if not for a broken hand sustained during a pass-rushing drill early in the season.
He is a run-plugger on a team that needs to find someone who can step into the hole and prevent 3-yard gains from becoming 5-yard gains or more.
“Downhill linebacker that plays all out,” Miles said. “Not afraid of big collisions.”
Willer’s name was dropped throughout last year by Miles when asked to discuss players who were catching his eye.
Willer seems to be fulfilling his potential.
After playing mostly just on the point after and field goals teams last year, Willer is the starter at right tackle and, when he remembers to bend his knees, seems to be handling the role well despite competition from transfer Dom Roldan.
“Athletic tackle, type of tackle we want to recruit: long tall lean guy that comes in at 245-250 and grows to be 280,” Miles said. “He’s still young. We need big, long athletic tackles.”