Two ways Georgia State can become quickly competitive in Sun Belt

Georgia State football is struggling on the field and at the turnstiles as it continues its warp-drive ascent to college football’s highest level: the FBS, where bowl games are the goal. The team is 0-6 with some fans already wondering if it will be 0-12 next year when the school joins the Sun Belt Conference.

How can the team avoid a similar fate next year in front of similarly small crowds?

Georgia State’s program appears seems to be on solid ground in two key areas. The team practices in a state-of-the-art facility and plays in the Georgia Dome. Student fees support the expense of the football team. There are two ingredients remaining: the shoulders of 17- and 18-year-olds, as well as job vacancy No. 0602767 , the ID for “Head Coach – Football” listed on Georgia State’s jobs requisition website.

Coaching and recruiting are interconnected. Coaches evaluate the talent, recruit the talent and are responsible for developing it. Georgia State’s results the past two season indicate the team hasn’t been strong, or has been unlucky, in those areas.

Georgia State has had 67 high school football players sign since the first Signing Day in 2009. Within that group consistent players like Mark Hogan, Jordan Giles and Danny Williams have emerged. Not including this year’s freshmen class, which haven’t had time to develop, just four players that are still with the team – Terrance Woodard, Albert Wilson, Grant King and Ulrick John – could be considered consistent impact performers, or players that could likely start and play well on another team.

Curry won’t blame the players, saying he believes the next coach will inherit a talented group with a will to win. If they can win this year, they will help the next coach recruit by stressing the positives of the program. Curry blames himself for not helping the players fulfill their potential.

“I can’t say anything differently and I can’t be kind,” he said. “It ought to be better. It ought to be a lot better. If anybody had known the answers about what to do we would have done it.”

Getting an improved class of recruits should improve the chances of winning. Winning more games should improve attendance, which has sunk to its lowest levels in the past two games with less than 10,000 fans showing up to watch losses to Richmond and New Hampshire.

“Any start-up program is recruiting, is getting the players,” said Dan Reeves, who served as a consultant at Georgia State when it was considering starting a football program. “Any good program has great players. That’s one of the reasons I think it’s going to be a good job: there’s an awful lot of athletes here in Georgia.”

Recruiting is an inexact science. Curry has used a mix of high school recruits and transfers in his first four Signing Day classes with mixed success. For every solid recruit like Wilson, there have been un-productive players like end A.J. Portee who transferred in from Connecticut and has since been dismissed from the team for rules violations.

The timing of the move to the Sun Belt is helping recruiting, but it occurred faster than Curry hoped. He said he’d love to have had six more years to build a talent and recruiting base before the school agreed to leave the Colonial Athletic Association, but the opportunity to move up was too good to pass on so they are working to give the next staff as many good players as possible.

“Since the day we’ve got here, we’ve had really good players tell us, ‘If you were FBS, I’d commit to you today,’ he said. “Well, they’re not diving over the fences to jump in the boat right now, but we are getting really good commitments.”

The current coaching staff has secured eight commitments in the 2013 class, including three two-star players, according to Rivals.com’s rankings. Players with two-stars (out of a five-star system) may not seem like difference-makers, but Georgia State’s list is comparable with most the teams from the Sun Belt, which doesn’t have a team with more than five three-star commitments, according to Rivals’ rankings.

Led by quarterback Oshay Carter, all three of Georgia State’s two-star commitments play on offense. The other two, Devonte Washington and Calvain Holmes, are wide receivers.

By comparison, the Panthers had two two-star commitments in the 2012 class, and two in the 2011 class. They also had two three-star commitments and two two-stars in the 2010 class, led by offensive lineman Tim Wynn, defensive back Demarius Matthews and running back Cole Moon. While Wynn and Matthews have become starters, Moon has yet to find a place in the starting lineup. The inaugural class of 2009 was loaded with two-star players and one three-star player who have compiled a 9-19 win-loss record, including this year’s 0-6 mark.

The next coaching staff will have more scholarships to work with as they build the talent base. The Panthers are using 68 scholarships this year and will go up to 85 next year. That increase, combined with seniors using up eligibility, will give the next staff a lot of chances to stock the roster.

Old Dominion is in a similar situation as Georgia State. It is leaving the CAA for Conference USA. However, where Georgia State has struggled in recruiting the Monarchs have succeeded, making the playoffs last year. The team is undefeated this year and its 22 starters on offense and defense feature just three transfers. The rest were high school signees. Of all of the high school signees, less than were five three-star recruits, several more were two-star recruits and the majority were unrated.

ODU coach Bobby Wilder said the key to continuing that success as an FBS team will be to continue to recruit well.

“You need to have good football players if you are going to be a good football team,” he said. “The coaching is pretty consistent when you get to this level of competition, whether it’s the CAA or Conference USA. It’s going to be quality coaching so you aren’t going to outsmart a lot of people, you need to be a program that recruits a lot of really good student-athletes.”

Other headlines

Changes coming on Georgia State’s special teams

Notes, quotes and observations after Georgia State’s loss to New Hampshire

New Hampshire rains on Georgia State’s cash drop, game

– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu

35 comments Add your comment

Duh

October 10th, 2012
8:22 am

So ODU doesn’t have a better roster, for the most part.

I knew it.

It all comes down to coaching.

GSU student

October 10th, 2012
9:00 am

What can we do to make it better correlate to what do the people in AD need to do in order to attract students and Alumni to the game? If we can someone answer this question then we can move forward with a better future.

Noah Langdale

October 10th, 2012
9:21 am

The trolls really got trolled in the last blog! Well done, Panther fans!

I don't get it. We are currently 8th nationally, which would be good for first in the SBC, according to Nielsen Ratings. Confused.

October 10th, 2012
9:54 am

<———————————————————— This is funny.

Paddy

October 10th, 2012
9:59 am

GSU student………..those are 2 very good questions. My answer is that those questions should have been addressed in the planning stage before the team played its first ever game, not the year it goes to Div 1. You can still have a good future. Had that $10,000 cash drop been used on selling group tickets in the off season, you would be better served. Game Day Experience is a non-issue if there are no fans in the stadium. As everyone saw, the cash drop did not sell any tickets, did it?

J. Bond

October 10th, 2012
10:15 am

The Sun Belt is really putting itself on the map with some wins and close games against SEC teams. That should help our recruiting to a degree and keep more talent in-state and in-city. The Falcons were miserable until they got the right management in place, so how quickly we improve is really up to Becker. It’ll be difficult to hear the naysayers once we starting winning consistently and building a passionate fan base in an underrated sports climate. Winning cures all, and especially in this city, where we’re not the only show in town.

Roy kittles

October 10th, 2012
10:16 am

I look no further than western kentucky. Team didnt win made a coaching change and have turned around very quickly (only loss this year is to a very good Alabama team). Players will eventualy come and so will fans.its amzzing that this team has 8 recruits commiting with the uncertanity in who the next coach will be and if any off the coordinators will remain.

GaDawg

October 10th, 2012
10:24 am

I wonder how many 2 star or any star players New Hampshire has on their team?

Panthers

October 10th, 2012
10:50 am

Trolls keep on trolling. Just one quick point I would like to make…. your words can never be as disappointing as the season is for us. I wish you all the best of luck and that you lose all of your games and slip into mediocrity as soon as possible. Tech – Nice game against Middle Tenn. UGA – nice game against South Carolina. Southern – who cares, but nice game against the Citadel. That will be all.

Trolling is getting easier and easier.....

October 10th, 2012
11:03 am

one quick point you should make……Southern was brought up by a panther fan responding to a uga fan…………
i love how panther fans are quick to tell everyone how great they are and how everyone else is terrible but they are the first to claim the spoils of others victors. first it was fcs is crappy caa is the best and has the toughest conference so gag state obviously must good. then it’s sunbelt is just the first stop in our fbs domination as the sec will be knocking soon but the sunbelt has a few teams with some big upsets and suddenly gag state has something to do with that and will bring in even better recruits. gag state’s fan base is quite possibly the most uneducated in all of football.

@Panthers ------>

October 10th, 2012
11:05 am

GAST – Nice game against ____________.

peachy

October 10th, 2012
11:19 am

I’ll be back after you win a few games. It’s no fun kicking you while you’re down. I had actually hoped for a good rivalry between between State and Southern, but a rivalry requires each team to be able to beat the other.

Georgia State is preparing to play big boy football and haters like myself are as jealous as they come. So much so that I try and chime in on every GSU thread. I hate that I have to sit in a cow pasture and root for little boy football against little bo

October 10th, 2012
11:26 am

<————————————————————————– That is all!

I keep trying to tell people how bad Georgia State is for going winless thus far after 2.5 years of playing football. But don't tell anyone that after 25-Plus years in, we only won 3, count 'em, 3 games. Shhhhhhh!

October 10th, 2012
11:29 am

<———————————————————————————— That is all!

acm

October 10th, 2012
12:21 pm

You might be more convincing if you actually learned how to post comments. There is a Name field and a Comment field. The Name field is not for the comment.

Trolling is getting easier and easier.....

October 10th, 2012
12:40 pm

gag state getting ready to play big boy football is by far one of the worst come backs i’ve ever read. you guys can’t even play naia or d2 football. all you can point to is “potential” and last i checked….that don’t put W’s in the column or butts in the seats. potential this, potential that………can you go ahead and tell me the winning lotto numbers for tonight?

Bills

October 10th, 2012
12:41 pm

The rush to FBS has not helped. But being FBS can help with a good recruiter/coach. Curry is a fine man, but his leaving means opportunities for the next step are waiting

hbcuclassics

October 10th, 2012
5:03 pm

HBCU Classic Sports

Black College Power Poll
Week 6

1. Tennessee State
2. Alabama A&M
3. Howard
4. Winston Salem
5. Bethune
6. UAPB
7. Alabama State
8. Miles
9. Tuskegee
10. Morgan State

http://www.hbcuclassics.com

Who Knew

October 10th, 2012
5:21 pm

Hey look!

There’s a black power poll! Who knew?

[...] Two ways Georgia State can become quickly competitive in the Sun Belt [...]

Ptc dawg

October 10th, 2012
9:43 pm

1. They could play using the team from Statesboro

2. Or hope for forfeits.

Tygoo

October 10th, 2012
10:44 pm

Go Panthers! Beat those goober-squeezers from the Statesboro cow college.

diamonddaveincali

October 10th, 2012
11:44 pm

Enter your comments here

diamonddaveincali

October 10th, 2012
11:46 pm

this move will take some time to show a reward but as a GSU grad, and ex panther soccer player living in Hollywood, I like the progress being made. We have had too many players get in trouble, and leave.

STATEment

October 11th, 2012
8:11 am

Dave is right…I know who you recruit reflects on the coach and pore decision, but you like we said at the time, you have to take chances as a start up program, we did and so many of the backfired…(Moody, Star Jackson, Portee, Little, etc., etc.). Not team in the country could take the hits we have taken at the positions we took them at and still perform well.

Everything is in place for success here at GSU, but we just need a coach that can properly utilize all of the resources we have available.

Devil's advocate

October 11th, 2012
11:06 am

Maybe better coaches wouldn’t have had so many players leave the program.

[...] Two ways Georgia State can become quickly competitive in the Sun Belt [...]

Is it me

October 11th, 2012
1:37 pm

I’ve said it before and I will say it again; “GSU has not had success on the field since they took Kelton Hill out of the quarterback position!” We should have stayed the course……A freshman quarterback is not going to be successful (early on) at this level, I don’t care how many high school championships he won!

GSWHO????

October 12th, 2012
9:58 am

GSU will go winless in the Sunbelt for the first 3 years, they can not even beat or compete with FCS teams, how will they compete with established teams? They have lost every game by almost 30 points, just fold the team and start a rugby team.

What happened to Bill Curry is the god of football? Funny how time and losing changes even the die hard fans. There was a reason he did not coach for years and years, no one wanted him.

[...] Two ways Georgia State can become quickly competitive in the Sun Belt [...]

I like Bill Curry, but...

October 15th, 2012
9:43 am

the Sun Belt decision is all about money and finding schools within a decent distance. Anyone who says otherwise is kidding themselves. We’re going to be a doormat for a middle of the road non-qualifying conference for a while. Even with the new staff–whoever it is–coming, I’m predicting at least two more difficult seasons for sure. It will probably end up being about 4 more tough seasons before we begin to win consistently.

[...] Two ways Georgia State can become quickly competitive in the Sun Belt [...]

[...] Two ways Georgia State can become quickly competitive in the Sun Belt [...]

shep

October 15th, 2012
11:21 am

What happened to STAR Jackson from Alabama?

[...] Two ways Georgia State can become quickly competitive in the Sun Belt [...]