The Georgia State Panthers opened up their 2017 spring practice on Monday , as they are gearing up for another college football season.
This is a new era for the Panthers, as first year head coach Shawn Elliott starts his first spring practice with this Georgia State squad. The Panthers are looking to improve on last years disappointing 3-9 campaign. Just two years removed form their first bowl berth in program history, the Panthers seek to get back to the level of competing in the Sun Belt conference.
The Panthers will have 15 practices before the Blue-White Spring game that will take place on April 15. The game will be held at Grady Stadium in Atlanta.
The Panthers return 17 starters, nine on the offense and seven on the defense; but looks for it to be open competition with a new head coach in place. It will be interesting to see who will be the better fit at quarterback. Connor Manning saw the majority of the playing time, but watch out for Aaron Winchester. As stated by Coach Elliott, the Panthers will run a one-back offense. The defense will have a 3-4 look according tot he coaching staff.
The defense will be led by top returnees including two-time All-Sun Belt cornerback Chandon Sullivan, cornerback Jerome Smith, outside linebacker Michael Shaw and defensive end Mackendy Cheridor. The new defensive coordinator is Nate Fuqua, who was previously at FCS Wofford for 12 years.
On the offensive side of the ball, Travis Trickett from FAU will be the offensive coordinator. One big returnee for the Panthers is junior wide receiver Penny Hart. After a freshman year that saw Hart win Sun Belt Freshman year, Hart suffered a season ending foot injury. He will look to bounce back in a big way in 2017.
The themes for this is years team is physicality. The Panthers have talent on both sides of the ball and can contend in the Sun Belt this year. Fans are excited to see what Coach Elliott and his coaching staff can do.
The Panthers will open up the season in Georgia State Stadium on Thursday, Aug. 31 vs Tennessee State.