ATLANTA — Georgia State coach Bill Curry wondered how many recruits would commit to a program that won’t start play until 2010.
So the longtime coach decided to keep his selling points simple to recruits: Work closely with him and his staff on a daily basis — unlike anywhere else — play each home game at the Georgia Dome and be apart of Georgia State’s first football signing class.
“If they’re at an established program and being a tackling dummy, they’re not going to be coached by the varsity coaches,” Curry said on Wednesday after Georgia State signed 27 players. Fourteen are in-state players and 13 came from outside of Georgia.
“You’re either going to hold a dummy or be the one tackled and not learning,” he added. “But here, you’re all we got.”
Even though Georgia State won’t start play until next fall, Curry believes the full year of practice will help the players build rapport with each other and become more acclimated with the offensive and defensive philosophy.
“It’ll give them time to mesh,” he said. “The working with each other will be the ones on the field on gameday.”
The Panthers signed five running backs, four quarterbacks and four defensive backs, two receivers, one linebacker, three offensive lineman, three defensive linemen and two players who can play multiple positions.
Curry, who is also interim athletic director, wasn’t able to fill every position through this year’s recruiting. But he hopes some of the walk-ons can fill any voids for Georgia State, which will compete in the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly Division I-AA.
Georgia State’s first commit was defensive lineman Eduardo Curry, a 6-2, 295-pounder from South Carolina. Curry compares Curry to Glenn Dorsey, a former All-American player at LSU, who now plays in the NFL for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Another key signee was Drew Little, a 6-4, 238-pound quarterback from McDonough, Ga. He threw for 3,024 yards, 27 touchdowns and eight interceptions during his senior season at Henry County High.
“Drew did have a lot of great receivers around him, but he consistently got the ball out in a hurry to them,” Curry said.
Curry said he was tremendously impressed with Bo Schlechter after watching him on film. Schlechter, a 6-2, 182-pounder from Florida, is listed as a quarterback but Curry sees him playing multiple positions.
“He’s the only triple threat guy I’ve seen in a long time,” Curry said.
Southern signs 30 players
Georgia Southern signed 30 players on Wednesday that includes 16 on offense, 11 on defense, one all-around and two for special teams.
Four of the signees are currently enrolled. Three were part of the 2008 signing class that grayshirted (players who began classes in December) and one is a junior college transfer.
Coach Chris Hatcher was able to address some vacant holes on an Eagle team that lost 17 seniors from last year’s 6-5 team, including All-Americans Chris Covington (linebacker) and Dakota Walker (defensive end).
“When we were evaluating our needs for this recruiting class, both sides of the line were our biggest concerns,” Hatcher said. “Between high school and junior college transfers I felt we addressed those needs.”
One of the those needs were signing six offensive lineman, who average of 300 pounds.
Georgia Southern also signed Patrick Barker, a 6-2, 185-pound wideout from Florida. He made 81 catches for 1,301 yards and 14 touchdowns along kick returns for touchdowns, helping Nease High School reach the playoffs.
Barker could see early playing time along with Javon Mention, an all-conference defensive end who helped Plant High School in Florida win the Class 4-A state championship. He set a county record with 24 sacks.