ATLANTA – As Georgia State’s second week of fall camp continues, there are 23 freshmen who are doing their best to adapt to the college game as they hope to make an impact on the field, either this fall or in the near future.
Georgia State opens the season Aug. 27, when Abilene Christian visits the Georgia Dome to face the Panthers in the first FBS game in the nation.
Last season, Georgia State played 15 true freshmen, and the number who will see action this fall is still to be determined, with competition ongoing for playing time on offense, defense and special teams.
One of these freshmen attempting to make a successful transition to the college game is outside linebacker Michael Shaw.
“The game is definitely faster and more physical,” Shaw said. “It is great though because it is good to learn. Everyone is bigger, faster and stronger in addition to being more experienced.”
A native of Suwanee, Ga., Shaw is not only learning a new system but also a new position. After playing inside linebacker at Lanier High School, Shaw has now moved to the outside. He along with the other freshmen have benefited from a new NCAA rule that allows for plays to meet with coaches during the summer semester.
“It was great coming in during the summer because we not only get to work out and run as we try to get bigger but also meet with the coaches,” Shaw said. “I played inside linebacker in high school so getting here early to begin learning how to play on the outside has been really good. It has allowed me to begin learning the plays and how to line up which has really helped me a lot.”
Lucky for Shaw, redshirt senior linebacker Jarrell Robinson has taken him under his wing in an effort to help with the difficult transition.
“Definitely Jarrell,” Shaw said when asked which veteran was helping him the most. “He took me in and taught me everything: where to go, how to line up and where to put my hands. He has been a great help since I came in.”
Another freshman on the defensive side of the ball who is hoping to make a positive impact on the field this fall is cornerback Chandon Sullivan. A native of Winder, Ga., Sullivan has also noticed a difference in the speed of the game from his time at Winder-Barrow High School.
“It has been a big challenge to adapt to the college game. Coming here from high school, it is a lot different,” Sullivan said. “The game is a lot faster and the guys are bigger so I have to be more mentally tough when I come out here and compete every day.”
Sullivan also benefited from his time on campus this summer.
“The eight weeks that I was here over the summer helped me a lot,” Sullivan said. “It allowed me to begin learning the scheme early and build a bond with the coaches which will hopefully allow for me play as a true freshman.”
On offense, freshman wide receiver Maaseiah Francis is battling against Sullivan and his fellow defensive backs everyday as he also strives to be an asset in the passing game this season. Francis joins the Panthers from Norcross High School.
“It has been a challenge to get used to the new plays and the up-tempo aspects of the offense, but I am learning,” Francis said. “It was helpful to be here during the summer because the offense is quite different from what I was used to in high school. I am going to keep competing for a spot every day. I keep learning the offense and getting better and better while learning from coach [Tim] Lappano.”
Noting the Panthers
- The offensive line took part the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge after practice today. Six Panthers and offensive line coach Harold Etheridge were doused by their teammates. Athletes and coaches from all sports across the country have been taking and passing on the Ice Bucket Challenge to help raise awareness and funds for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. The Challenge was started by former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates, who is battling ALS. The linemen have challenged the GSU volleyball team to complete the challenge within 24 hours.
- Everyone knows about the 105 players that take the field every day to compete but little is said about the support staff that helps make each practice happen. Ten full-time coaches, five graduate assistants, three strength and conditioning coaches, two full time athletic trainers, six graduate assistant athletic trainers, three student athletic trainers, five video coordinators and seven equipment managers.