For Antavious Lane to thrive in 2021, he must make his voice heard

Nicknamed “hit-stick,” Georgia State safety Antavious Lane is excited for what's to come for the Panthers this upcoming season. Photo Submitted by Daniel Wilson

In Georgia State’s short 11-year football history, the Panthers have put five players in the NFL, including wide receiver Albert Wilson and All-Pro kicker Will Lutz.

The Panthers may send more to the NFL soon, which could include 2020 All-Sun Belt Conference safety Antavious Lane. 

A 5-foot, 9-inch safety out of West Palm Beach, the junior was one of the Sun Belt Conference’s top defensive players this past season. But, his journey starting was not easy.

In high school, Lane was a three-star recruit. He recorded 103 tackles and six interceptions (four for touchdowns) and was named First-team Palm Beach All-County in his senior year at Dwyer High School.

Lane gave himself the nickname “hit stick” after his sophomore year at Dwyer, and he has lived up to it at Georgia State. 

After redshirting his freshman season, Lane took full advantage of the opportunity he got his sophomore season. He racked up 55 tackles, a forced fumble and four interceptions, a pick-six, and one forced fumble. 

Arguably, Lane’s most important season performance was back in December against Western Kentucky in the Lending Tree Bowl on Dec. 26, where the Panthers won 39-21.

Lane recorded five tackles and gave Western Kentucky quarterback Tyrell Pigrome his first interception after previously throwing none in 278 straight passing attempts.

In addition to solid stats each game, Lane provides the Panthers with a locker room presence who never hesitates to give teammates recognition.

“The guys up front make my job way easier. Guys like Jeffery Clark and Akeem Smith, those guys can get to the quarterback. They do their job very well, and that’s what makes my job a lot easier,” Lane said.

This season, the Panthers face their most challenging non-conference schedule in the school’s history, facing Army, North Carolina, Charlotte and Auburn.  

Lane is not that focused on the schedule and believes the Panthers are more than capable of competing at a high level this season. 

“I look at the schedule, but I try to focus on what we have here for right now and get better as a team, and I’ll focus on that when that time comes,” Lane said.

The Panthers finished with a 6-4 record last season, and Lane is ready to see the team be an even better team than what they were a season ago.

Luckily, the Panthers bring back 22 of 24 starters from last year, including wide receiver Sam Pinckney, wide receiver Cornelious McCoy, running back Destin Coates, tight end Roger Carter, left guard Shamarious Gilmore, and center Malik Sumter. 

“I’m looking forward to having a better season than last season; hopefully, we can start off stronger than what we finished last season,” Lane said.

Besides being a phenomenal talent on the field, Lane is also a dedicated student off the field. He is an economics major and contributed to the Panther football team reaching a 3.0 GPA last spring semester.

While the Panthers are thriving in the classroom, they’ll look to repeat the success they had in 2020. Antavious Lane’s success could factor heavily on how well the defense does.