While the Panthers head to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Oregon Ducks, I caught up with Ben Moore of 247Sports PantherTalk.com for a bit of Q and A to get an insight as to how recruits view the current state of Georgia State football.
Q: From a recruits point of view what is the overall impression of Georgia State football? Are they even on the radar? Is GSU starting to make inroads with better recruits?
A: Recruits still see the program as new and building. Overwhelmingly, when we speak to recruits they know the program hasn’t been around very long and hasn’t established an identity. This can be used as a positive in many ways as recruits want to be part of something that’s building. This staff has done a very good job putting GSU on the radar across the state and has made major in roads to Metro Atlanta prospects. The elite prospects are still going to choose elite programs but they’re often battling with CUSA and MAC schools to keep kids home.
The recruiting has gotten better as this is now the fourth cycle of FBS recruits but head coach Trent Miles has made it very clear that he will hit the junior college ranks hard each cycle. The 2016 cycle will also be smaller because of several greyshirts (prospects who signed in 2015 and delay enrollment).
Q: What are the top 3 things that you might hear recruits say they want to see out of GSU before they commit. Or what, in your opinion, do they need most in order to get on these kids radars? Is a lack of their own stadium a big issue for recruits?
A: Recruits always want to know how quickly they’ll be on the field. No matter what people who follow recruiting say, it’s the number one thing. Academics are important, campus life is too but kids wants to know when they’re going to play. As for the second part of getting on kids radars is having on field success. It’s tremendously difficult to pull kids from winning programs when you’re not winning.
The Georgia Dome has been and still is a huge selling part to recruits because for every high school player in the state, that’s the ultimate goal to make it to the Dome. With GSU completing its football weight room, its practice facility that rivals many in non-Power Five conferences and playing in an NFL venue have always impressed recruits.
Q: I realize it is still months away, but how is recruiting for the Panthers going so far this season?
A: As of this writing, the Panthers have six verbal commits with four coming from the state of Georgia and two coming from the state of North Carolina (Click here for a list of Panther Commits). The skill position players already committed are very productive players from strong programs. The projected class for 2016 will be 18-20 prospects with many coming from Metro Atlanta.
Q: What players should we be keeping an eye on that might end up at GSU?
A Quarterback is always the sexiest position in recruiting and the Panthers are chasing several strong signal callers including Wellington (FL) Blake Dever and Landmark Christian’s Stockton McGuire. I’d also keep an eye on South Carolina Safety KJ Chamberlain who recently visited and is very high on the Panthers at this point.
Q: What are the top 3 recruiting needs for the Panthers must fill come signing day? I suspect Oline will be a position of particular focus?
A: Offensive line is critical and balancing both impact players from the junior college ranks as well players to develop from the high school ranks is likely the most important group in the 2016 cycle. An impact running back is also a priority and the staff already has a commit from speedy back Tra Barnett out of Elbert County HS but will likely take one more player at the position. The secondary is also an area that will be addressed with this class as both corner and safety will graduate a starter this season.
Q: How would you evaluate this staff as recruiters?
A: The staff as a whole are pretty strong recruiters and have gotten bigger players to visit, the issue, to me, is getting impact players to sign. In many battles, they’re losing players to other CUSA, MAC and some lower level P5 schools. The Sun Belt still has a poor reputation amongst high schools in the state and has a connotation of being lower than the other G5 conferences. I don’t necessarily agree with this sentiment but only winning changes this thought process.
Woody Bass is a staff writer at The Collegian and Peach State College Sports and can be found on Twitter as @WoodyBass.
Ben Moore is the publisher of @GSUPantherTalk, part of@247Sports network and can be found on Twitter as @BenMoore247.