The Panther faithful is one step closer to having a better football team next season after Georgia State’s performance on National Signing Day.
Head coach Trent Miles realized this past season that his team needed to get bigger, stronger and faster if they ever want to win.
The talent deficit was evident as early as the second game of the season, when Georgia State, an FBS (formerly known as Division I-A) program was held to 14 points in a 14-42 loss to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on Sept. 7, 2013, a FCS (formerly known as Division I-AA) program.
“I saw a very poor FCS team in blue today,” Miles said after the Chattanooga game, referring to Georgia State. “I’m just telling it like I see it.”
“It’s a hard dose of reality but that’s where we’re at, and that’s not a Sun Belt team we played today. So, get ready. Be prepared. It’s gonna get tough around here,” Miles said.
As good of a coach Miles was at Indiana State turning its football program around, he can’t teach size.
All season, opposing defenses dominated the undersized offensive line, which allowed 30 sacks, a conference-worst.
It doesn’t matter if you have Ronnie Bell or even current Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (Youtube his recent Super Bowl performance)under center; if you’ve got defenders in your face every play, your offense won’t succeed.
Fortunately, Georgia State picked up plenty of size on Signing Day.
For the offensive line, Miles picked up 6-5, 360-pound Michael Ivory of Louisville, Ky. and 6-6 305-pound Steve Wolgamott of Maize, Kan. Both linemen are bigger than any offensive lineman Georgia State started last season.
The new additions on the offensive line could be key next season as they could possibly replace seniors Ulrick John and Grant King as the bookend tackles.
The biggest prize for Georgia State on Signing Day, however, was the signing of quarterback Nick Arbuckle of Woodland Hills, Calif.
Arbuckle hasn’t taken a single snap for the Panthers, yet he’s changing the culture of the program, according to Miles.
“Before [Arbuckle] got on campus, [he] started on his own without being directed,” Miles said at Wednesday’s Signing Day press conference. ”
Miles said for the first time since he’s been at Georgia State on the weekends, he saw Nick Arbuckle, the wide receivers and the running backs in the office watching film.
Although there’s promise in this year’s recruiting class, the challenge still remains to win a game, which may be difficult if not more because the roster turnover of seniors (27).
Nevertheless, Georgia State is just a young program going into its fifth season of football this fall, still trying to establish its identity.
Prominent football programs like Georgia and Alabama weren’t built in a year, but recruiting helped them greatly to get them where they are today.
At this pace, Georgia State is finally changing its culture and following Miles as he takes the program toward success.