- Gabriel Burns
It’s been a successful week for Georgia State: On Saturday, the team grabbed its first bowl win by defeating Western Kentucky 27-17 in Orlando’s Cure Bowl. On Wednesday, it added 16 recruits during the inaugural Dec. 20 early signing period.
“What a great class,” Coach Shawn Elliott said. “Our coaches did a great job solidifying the spots we needed to get in the early signing period. … Becoming bowl eligible, having the success we had this season, it helped.”
Of the 16 players, four come from Georgia. Elliott, a native of South Carolina and former Gamecocks interim coach, put his ties to good use: The Panthers nabbed four South Carolina athletes.
“Anytime you have a relationship with individuals in our profession, it’s going to benefit you,” Elliott said. “So you can kind of see how it led us back to those states (North and South Carolina) and Georgia too.”
The class is trench-heavy. GSU had three defensive end commits, three offensive linemen and a defensive tackle.
At offensive line, Despelado Alexandre is a three-star recruit from Deerfield Beach, Florida’s No. 1 Class 8A team. Brandon Joseph is a local product out of Lawrenceville and made All-Region Class 7A as a junior. Johnathan Bass from Marietta rounds out the group as one who helped pave the way for an explosive Kell High offense.
Defensive end Marlon Young is considered a prize, with Lee Brecheen of Louisiana Football Magazine calling him the best recruit out of Opelousas since former Saints receiver Devery Henderson.
Inside linebacker Blake Carroll was a two-way star at Mountain View. A three-star recruit, he’ll likely stick at linebacker. He had 65 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, three interceptions, two forced and recovered fumbles in his senior year.
D’Angelo Knight is added to the outside linebacker core after a 47-tackle, eight-interception senior year at Fort Dorchester High.
Tre Moore, T.J. Smith and Akeem Smith will beef up the defensive front. Moore had a seven-sack junior season at Strom Thurmond in South Carolina. Akeem was a Virginia Beach standout whose junior season encompassed 12 sacks and 20 tackles for loss. T.J. had a 15-sack senior year at Scotland.
Tyler Gore, a cornerback and receiver from Myrtle Beach, will join the secondary. Gore picked off five passes as a senior, while also breaking up nine passes, forcing three fumbles and blocking two kicks.
In quarterback Dan Ellington and receiver Diondre Champaigne, Elliott added two junior college players to an offense that’s about to undergo a retool.
Ellington is a true dual-threat who passed for 3,211 yards and 27 touchdowns and ran for 392 yards and eight scores at Itawamba last season.
Champaigne averaged 15.1 yards per catch as a freshman at Jones County Community College. At 6-3, 195, he adds size to a smaller set of skill position players.
The following players make up the beginning of the Panthers’ 2018 class:
-Despelado Alexandre, 6-5, 265, OL, Deerfield Beach High, Deerfield Beach, FL
-Johnathan Bass, 6-4, 270, OL, Kell High, Marietta, GA
-Blake Carroll, 6-2, 219, ILB, Mountain View, Lawrenceville, GA
-Diondre Champaigne, 6-3, 195, WR, Jones County (Miss.) JC, North Charleston, SC
-Jacorey Crawford, 6-1, 205, S, Thomson High, Thomson, GA
-Dan Ellington, 6-2, 192, QB, Itawamba (Miss.) CC, Olive Branch, MS
-Tyler Gore, 5-10, 170, CB, North Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, SC
-Dawson Hill, 5-11, 190, RB, South Plantation, Plantation, FL
-Brandon Joseph, 6-2, 280, OL, Central Gwinnett, Lawrenceville, GA
-D’Angelo Knight, 6-2, 215, OLB, Fort Dorchester, North Charleston, SC
-Cornelius McCoy, 5-10, 170, WR, Deerfield High, Deerfield Beach, FL
-Herman McCray, 6-4, 230, TE, Oxbridge Academy, West Palm Beach, FL
-Tre Moore, 6-2, 230, DE, Strom Thurmond, Johnston, SC
-T.J. Smith, 6-3, 242, DE, Scotland High, Laurinburg, NC
-Akeem Smith, 6-0, 292, DT, Bishop Sullivan Catholic, Virginia Beach, VA
-Marlon Young, 6-3, 245, DE, Opelousas High, Opelousas, LA