Drew Little had what many might consider bigger, better opportunities. He most definitely could have signed Division I. Boston College had him up for a visit. Florida State invited him to its camps. Kentucky, UConn, New Mexico, UAB and Middle Tennessee State all came calling.
Then Bill Curry got in his ear and, six months later, he finds himself as the centerpiece of Georgia State’s first football recruiting class. Little, 26 other signees and 44 walkons reported to campus Tuesday to form the Panthers’ first football team.
“It was Coach Curry and everything he brings to the table,” Little said. “I think he’s a good leader and somebody that can set us on the right path for the rest of our lives.”
It’s not at all what the 6-foot-5, 239-pound quarterback was thinking when he was chucking the football around for 9,003 yards and 105 touchdowns at Henry County High a year ago. He always thought he would be the next big thing and some established program somewhere.
“You can come in here and be the start of something,” Little said of his change of heart. “Maybe 20 years from now when Georgia State is playing for national championships you’ll be able to say you were on the first team. That’s really uplifting.”
Clearly the Panthers have a long, long, long way to go before their first season commences in 2010. Right now the football offices are crammed into a makeshift space on the ninth floor of the Citizens Trust Bank building just off campus. Their first practices will be held Friday on a fields behind Martin Luther King Middle School and the Boys and Girls Club down on Hill Street.
But now Georgia State has the most important element of building a football team from scratch and that’s players. And they appear to have the makings of a solid foundation.
Curry gets almost teary-eyed when he talks about Little and the other first-class signees who took a chance and made the leap with Georgia State.
“We are looking for builders,” Curry said. “We’re looking for people like Drew Little to whom it makes sense to be one of the founding fathers something that’s going to last a long, long time and be productive in every constructive way. Drew Little and others like him, who followed his lead, understood the potential for themselves and for our university and for this town. It’s a chance to make a statement and I get goosebumps thinking about the guys that made that kind of commitment that had a lot of other options. It adds to our obligation to do a great job.”
Coming later I’ll put up a photo gallery showing the spartan beginnings of Georgia State football.