Georgia State is waiting to hear from the NCAA if transfers Theo Agnew, Nermin Delic and Ronnie Bell will be allowed to play football this season.
Normally, players that transfer from a FBS school to a FCS school don’t have to sit out a year. However, Georgia State’s transition this year from the Colonial Athletic Association, which plays football on the FCS level, to next year being in the Sun Belt, which plays on the FBS level, has complicated the transition process.
Coach Bill Curry said the NCAA could notify Georgia State of its decision any time. The Panthers open the season Aug. 30 against South Carolina State.
Agnew and Delic are penciled in to start on the defensive line in coordinator Anthony Midget’s 4-2-5 scheme. Agnew, who transferred from Massachusetts, is a 280-pound defensive end. Delic, a Tunnel Hill native who transferred from Kentucky, is a 280-pound defensive tackle.
Bell, a Sandy Creek High product who transferred from Ohio, is competing at quarterback. He is currently on the third team, behind starter Ben McLane and backup Kelton Hill. After redshirting last season at Ohio, Bell said he would really like to play this year, rather than have to sit out another year. Bell went 29-1 at Sandy Creek, with his only loss coming in his first start. He passed for 4,675 yards, 44 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in high school. He also rushed for nine touchdowns.
Curry said the impact would be big if Delic and Agnew have to sit out a year, but he’s confident that the players behind them — Terrance Woodard and true freshmen Melvin King, from Hinesville, and Joe Lockley (already one of the strongest players on the team), from Portal, — will step in and play well.
What may or may not be complicating the issue is Georgia State hasn’t received its FBS application back from the NCAA. It was sent in May and was expected to be approved in late July. Also, while Bell and Delic enrolled at Georgia State in June, Agnew hasn’t begun classes yet.
Curry said Georgia State’s compliance office is working hard to show the NCAA that the school didn’t know it was going to move to FBS when it began conversations with Bell in November last year and Agnew in March this year.
More from Bell
Bell said he’s glad to be back in Atlanta and that the offense has improved since he enrolled.
He ran a similar offense at Ohio, which has made the transition easier. He said the lingo is similar, but the formations are different.
To earn playing time, he said he needs to improve his consistency and his timing with the receivers, running backs and offensive line.
Curry said Bell has a “gifted arm” but that he’s still learning the system.
“He obviously has enormous talent,” Curry said.
Curry’s bloody nose
Curry wants his team, and his coaches, to be more aggressive this year. So, when he saw one of his offensive linemen holding during the first full-pads scrimmage on Sunday, Curry decided to lead by example.
Curry won’t say what he did, but he has a big, bloody scar across the bridge of his nose to show for it.
“I don’t think he will hold again,” he said with a nostalgic smile.
Curry being his self-effacing self followed that up by saying that it’s evident his nose, which is flatter than it used to be, has seen a lot worse from his years in the NFL.
A few players either didn’t participate in Monday’s practice, or left the practice with what appeared to be minor injuries.
Wide receiver Albert Wilson was held out for precautionary measures. Curry said Wilson, whom he said practices as hard as anyone on the team, has some muscle tweaks. Lockley (shoulder), Delic (knee) and wide Jordan Giles (elbow) also sat out a few sessions.
One player who has battled injuries for most of the past two years is happy to be back on the field. Former Chamblee High standout Michael Davis, who missed all of the 2010 season with a knee injury and the last eight games last year with a broken ankle, is starting at center and fully healthy.
Davis, who can also play either guard position, will be one of the four new starters on the offensive line. He said each day they are improving as they learn each other’s nuances.