Some GSU recruiting thoughts

Greetings, all-

Hope you all enjoyed national signing day. It still befuddles me a little bit how much interest there is in recruiting in general and signing day in particular, specifically about how people can get so excited or disappointed that a player they’ve never seen before is or isn’t coming to their school, but, to use a phrase, it is what it is.

Anyway, a couple thoughts on the class.

- Obviously, the coaches are happy with the players they’ve signed, but disappointed that so many got away. As coach Bill Curry put it Wednesday, “We certainly didn’t get everyone we wanted, but we got most of the ones we wanted.”

GSU was shooting for 12 and got nine. There may still be some more signings, though. You probably read about some of the de-commits, like defensive tackles Fatu Ulale, a junior college guy who switched to New Mexico at the last minute, and Jakari Kinnie, who switched to Jacksonville State. Those in particular hurt because the defensive line is a  need area, and you’d think certainly Ulale could have helped immediately.

- It’s a defense-heavy class – three defensive backs, two linemen and a linebacker – which is what they were going for. The two priorities this year were defensive line and safety.

- Any coach will tell you that big defensive linemen are the toughest guys to find. Defensive coordinator John Thompson undoubtedly would have been delighted to have added four to his depth chart, but will take two. I’m going to guess through the rest of the week and perhaps beyond the coaches will be looking under rocks and checking for news on possible transfers to add linemen.

- While, admittedly, never having seen them play, I would expect the three Georgia Military College transfers to challenge quickly for playing time. Cornerback D’Mario Gunn has already enrolled and will have the benefit of playing in spring practice and getting into strength coach Ken Coggins‘ program. GMC coach Bert Williams called him a lockdown corner who he often used in man coverage on the other team’s best receiver.

“He’s got a lot of physical talent,” Williams said. “He’s got good feet, good hips, he can turn and run and has a good feel for man coverage.”

He was also offered by BCS FBS mid-majors Toledo and Middle Tennessee State and also South Alabama. Given the Panthers’ relative inexperience at corner and his headstart, he’ll have a strong shot at a starting job. At 6-foot-0 and 185 pounds, he’ll also be the team’s biggest corner.

Linebacker Qwontez Mallory (6-2, 235) is a high-energy player with speed and intensity, Williams said. He also is an excellent special teams guy. Make of this what you will – Williams said in December that Mallory was 6-1, 215. Either, as I imagine is often the case, everyone’s bigger on signing day, or he put on some heft since last fall. Again, he’ll bring experience and will have an opportunity to get in the rotation. Curry said he tackles well, which was sometimes an issue last fall.

Williams gave safety Demazio Skelton a pretty high compliment. He said Skelton split time in 2009 with Jakar Hamilton, who started five games for Georgia in 2010, and said the two were comparable talent-wise. Williams said Skelton hits hard and has coverage skills.

The other safety in the class, Nick Henderson of Roswell High, mostly played a flexed-out tight end for the Hornets. Henderson, as I wrote, is the son of Steve Henderson, who played for Curry at Georgia Tech. That makes three sons of former Curry players on the roster. I suppose none of you need to be sold on Curry, but I’d have to think that there isn’t a much better endorsement for a coach than to have a former player send his son to play for him. It’s also an indication that the coach is not young, but that’s besides the point.

Henderson was a highly productive tight end for Roswell but will switch over to defense. You can see some highlights here.

File this under not very useful but sort of interesting – Curry taught Steve Henderson how to long snap. Henderson taught his son. And now Nick Henderson may do some long snapping for Curry.

Hope this is interesting. More Friday, hopefully.

16 comments Add your comment


February 3rd, 2011
4:02 pm

Tough to lose two D-linemen at the last minute. Looking forward to see which transfer makes an immediate impact. Go GSU!


February 3rd, 2011
4:18 pm

Losing linemen IS tough but we at least got two. I am heartened by the fact that Roderick Thompson out of Mays has the potential to be a beast.


February 3rd, 2011
4:50 pm

I think it’s pretty awesome that two generations in some families are being coached by the same man

VSU Alumnus

February 3rd, 2011
7:35 pm

Ken, How is the 2011 schedule looking? In 2012 Valdosta State is flying to Dallas to play in Cowboy Stadium. The Gulf South Conference is partnering with the Lone Star Conference because both conferences need games.If we can fly to Dallas we can bus up I-75 to the dome. Its time to play. Go Panthers and Blazers !!!


February 4th, 2011
9:15 am

Good work Ken!

Remember that the Panthers will also return NG Eduardo Curry who took a Medical RS in 2010. He’s 6′2, 300lbs and would have been a rotation guy in 2010.

Coach Coggins has been working with the lineman and several are noticeable bigger on both sides of the ball. Looking forward to Spring Practice in about a month.

GSU Dave

February 4th, 2011
9:23 am

Not so much disappointed by the actual players who didn’t commit, but more the positions they would have filled. Size on the DL was a big area of need, but regardless there should be a big improvement from last year based on experience/health alone.


February 4th, 2011
9:24 am

Great work Ken! Thanks for the coverage!

Jee S. You

February 4th, 2011
9:31 am

Keep it coming Ken!
(Oh, and its “FBS mid-majors”, not “BCS” – just gotta keep it straight or people will never figure out where we are in the mix.)


February 4th, 2011
10:31 am

there is a solid DB in school now at Ga State Tevin Yarbrough gainesville high 2009 state runner up team can help now great tackling and cover guy look for him

GSU Mens BB Fan

February 4th, 2011
11:25 am

Ken Sugiura

February 4th, 2011
12:29 pm

thanks, all. eduardo curry could indeed be a big help, literally and otherwise.

Ken Sugiura

February 4th, 2011
12:30 pm

jee – you’re right. thanks for pointing that out. will fix.

Nurse McDougle.

February 4th, 2011
12:55 pm

BCS is actually not incorrect, as all FBS conferences are members of the BCS, but FBS is more correct, I guess. Does that make any sense?


February 5th, 2011
12:43 pm

With GSU being a new and prosperous program while having a legendary coach, who wouldn’t want to come to GSU? A young kid could get some good exposure playing at Georgia State.

I think way too much is put on national signing day. The kids dressing in suits, playing the hat game, and now even puppies are involved. Check your ego at the door. It means nothing until you step out on that field with other athletes.

I’m excited for the fall to see how the Panthers improved in the off season. It should be just as if not more electrifying as 2010.


February 5th, 2011
1:13 pm

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We have team forums for the Falcons, Bulldogs, Hawks, Braves, Yellow Jackets, Thrashers, etc. Please register and post! Be apart of a huge site in the early days of existence. See ya there!

Jee S. You

February 7th, 2011
3:42 pm

Nurse- no, you are incorrect. There are six “BCS conferences” (conferences that automatically qualify to place a team in the BCS): ACC, SEC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, PAC 10. The other FBS conferences, C-USA, MAC, Mountain West, Sunbelt and WAC, are not “BCS conferences” as they do not automatically qualify for the BCS.