Meet the Georgia State Panthers incoming 2021 football signees

Georgia State is excited to introduce everyone to the next generation of Panthers to the football team. Photo by Hanna Middleton | The Signal

Georgia State’s 2020 football season came to a close after a dominating 39-19 win in the LendingTree Bowl against Western Kentucky. The win marked head coach Shawn Elliott’s second bowl victory since his hiring in 2017. 

With the season complete, the Panthers will take time off before looking toward the future with the upcoming 2021 recruiting class. 

Since the Dec. 16 early signing period began, the Panthers have signed 14 commits. According to 247Sports, this will be the highest-rated class for the Panthers in their 11-year history. 

The Panthers recruiting class features ten defensive players and four offensive players. It comes as no surprise that the Panthers went heavy on the defensive side of the ball –they are yet to produce any exceptional seasons on that end of the field, ranking 48th, 105th, 121st and 79th in Elliott’s four seasons.

Brylan Lanier, cornerback:

A six-foot three-star recruit out of Cottondale, Alabama, Lanier’s great length and range allow him to make plays in the secondary as well as the line of scrimmage. It’s no surprise Lanier signed with Georgia State. He stated on his YouTube miniseries “The Last Ride” that he “loves Georgia State.” 

Jordan Jones, linebacker:

Jones chose the Panthers over many teams, including home-state teams such as Sun Belt Conference rival Troy and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The 6-foot, 1-inch, 215-pound product is a stat-sheet stuffer. At Smiths Station High School in Alabama, he racked up 98 tackles and two sacks. A three-star, he also garnered All-Area and All-State honors. 

Jamarion Ellis, linebacker:

A three-star recruit out of Eastman, Georgia, Ellis played his high school football at the illustrious IMG Academy. His exceptional speed and solid six-feet t two-inches, 240-pound frame will be used in many ways during his time with the Panthers. During his senior season at IMG, Ellis racked up 29 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. 

Chris Davis, linebacker:

With his eye-popping combination of speed and quickness, Davis is a freak athlete coming off the edge. His ability to beat his man and pressure opposing quarterbacks is pretty scary. A three-star recruit, Davis collected 11 sacks in just six games during his final season at Armwood High School in Seffner, Florida. At 6 feet, 3 inches and 220 pounds, he has the potential to be great and make life a living hell for Sun Belt offensive lineman.

Evan Graham, linebacker: 

A three-star recruit out of Saint Petersburg, Florida, the 6-foot, 2-inch, 218-pound linebacker is a complete football player. In his senior season, he racked up 90 tackles (16 tackles for loss), five pass deflections, three sacks and one lone interception. His ability to make plays on all levels will force the Panther staff to give him playing time. 

Tylon Dunlap, defensive end:

Standing at an even 6 feet tall, the 240-pound edge rusher displays zero quit on the football field. In his junior year at Harding University High School in Charlotte, North Carolina, he collected an outstanding 19 sacks. Those numbers hope to translate to an exceptional Panthers defense that sacked the opposing team’s quarterback 35 times in the 2020 season. 

 Tony McCray, cornerback

At 5 feet, 11inches, McCray brings elite speed to the Panthers’ dreary secondary. He ran a 4.48 in his 40-yard dash, and his four interceptions and 10 pass deflections from the senior year will improve the Panthers’ pass coverage. The three-star recruit will look to boost his new team’s 12 interceptions and 44 deflections during the 2020 campaign. 

Makkah Jordan, safety 

A three-star recruit out of Bradenton, Florida, Jordan gives the Panthers another big-play defensive back. 

The 5-foot, 10-inch, 182-pound safety had 28 solo tackles, eight pass breakups and three interceptions his junior season at Calvary Christian High School. 

Jordan’s fantastic versatility playing both safety and cornerback in high school will be vital for the Panthers. 

Fuches Lewis, defensive tackle

The massive 6-foot, 3-inch, 290-pound lineman hails from Savannah and committed to Georgia State back in July. 

Lewis comes into college football expecting to continue dominating as a stuffing defensive tackle with his exceptional speed. Lewis is one of three Panthers signees who bypassed signing with Conference rival and the No. 9-ranked Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. 

Marquez Bargman, offensive guard

Bargman hails from Port St. Lucie, Florida, the same city as former Panther great and current Miami Dolphins wide receiver Albert Wilson. 

At 6 feet, 3 inches, the three-star recruit is a punishing run blocker. Bargman often uses his 286-pound frame to the fullest and puts opposing players on their backs.  

He joins an offensive line unit that helped the Panthers average a whopping 136.7 yards per game on the ground during the 2020 football season. 

Omarion Hammon, defensive end

Hammon’s signing is one of the more underrated signings nationally.

Considered one of the best pass rushers out of South Carolina, the three-star recruit’s freakish measurements read six-foot four-inches and 250 pounds. 

His ability to play all over the defensive line will help him land snaps quickly in Elliott’s defense. 

Jaquan Dixion, running back

You would think a running back who ran for 4,310 yards on 485 carries would have a chip on his shoulder with a lack of national attention. He only received two Division I offers to play college football, the other coming from North Carolina A&T.

Dixion dominated in high school, averaging 8.9 yards a carry and scoring a total of 73 touchdowns at Green Sea Floyds High School. 

His terrific speed (4.47 40-yard dash time) only scratches the surface of his upside.

While he may only be five-feet-11-inches tall and weigh 185 pounds, Dixion could be one of the biggest steals of the 2021 class. 

Jaylin Tolbert

Tolbert still does not have a determined position with the Panthers, making him a unique signing in the class. He played both quarterback and wide receiver at Greenwood High School.

His decision to sign with the Panthers comes as no surprise — the two-star recruit and current Panther wide receiver Sam Pinckney are good friends. 

At 6 feet, 3 inches, the 207-pound Tolbert passed for 402 yards and five touchdowns while running for another 693 yards and eight touchdowns.

Those stats helped him receive All-State honors and Region Player of the Year honors in Greenwood, South Carolina. 

Montavious Cunningham, offensive lineman

Cunningham is an unranked offensive tackle from Clarke Central High School in neighboring Athens, Georgia. 

At six-feet three-inches and 285 pounds, he brings great size to the Panthers. He also displayed signs of great awareness in high school trenches, especially when it came to pass-blocking. With only a two-star rating, the sky’s the limit for the young offensive tackle. 

Currently, the Panthers 2021 recruiting class is ranked 97th in the country and second in the Sun Belt Conference.

This historic class for the Panthers will improve both sides of the ball and possibly help bring the program’s first Sun Belt Championship to the Center Parc Stadium trophy case.