Newcomers, vets and more could shine before the 2021 football season

Georgia State has five talented players to watch headed into their first spring game on Friday. Photo by Matt Siciliano-Salazar | The Signal

Georgia State will hit the field for their first spring practice on April 16 at Center Parc Stadium. While many of Shawn Elliott’s men deserve a spotlight, here are five Panthers to watch.

No. 1 Mikele Colasurudo, Quarterback

2020 was an eventful year for the redshirt freshman, but not in the best way. Colasurdo went down with COVID-19 and suffered from its lingering effects. He wasn’t able to participate in many workouts due to lockdown and hurt his ability to compete with starting quarterback Cornelius Brown. While he may not have seen much of the gridiron, Colasurdo has been working hard going into spring practice.

While fans got glimpses of his play in garbage time against Coastal Carolina and Western Kentucky, the outside forces robbed him of an opportunity to show his talent to fans. 

2021 could bring a new opportunity for Colasurdo to show off his talents in spring practice. He’s currently behind Brown and Furman transfer Darren Grainger, but no one should be surprised if he ends up in a battle for the starting job. 

No. 2 Shamar McCollum, Outside Linebacker

The Panthers had one of the best front sevens in the nation, but with it came the departure of outside linebacker Jordan Strachan to South Carolina. Strachan led the nation with 10.5 sacks and earned a spot on the 2020 All-Sun Belt Conference third team. 

McCollum transferred from Wake Forest and, in two seasons, racked up 24 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. For the Panthers to even have a shot in just their first four games, the pass rush has to get pressure on the quarterback. 

No. 3 Dawson Hill, Running Back

Georgia State prides itself on its rushing attack, and in the last two seasons, it’s been a focal point. However, injuries have severely limited Hill from taking advantage of the opportunity. The redshirt junior has suffered through a nagging shoulder injury throughout his tenure at Georgia State.

Hill has failed to be a factor in 2019 or 2020 and managed a measly 21-yards in just four carries over his college career. Hill will start the season behind starter Destin Coastes, Tucker Gregg and Jamyest Williams on the depth chart.

Hill will be a player to watch as he seeks his first significant role in the Panther offense in the 2021 season. 

No. 4 Miles Dickens, Defensive End

Dickens is a name to watch simply because the highest ranked 2018 recruit didn’t see any significant reps in 2020. The loss of Strachan leaves a hole in the front seven and provides Dickens a considerable opportunity to get playing time.

While it will be complicated with Hadrick Willis and Jeffrey Clark, a good spring could propel Dickens to more reps in the season. Hopefully, with a solid showing in the spring, it won’t be long until we witness another star pass rusher for the Panthers in the fall.

No. 5 Ja’Cyais Credle, Wide Receiver

Finally, Central Florida transfer Ja’Cyais Credle hopes to add another explosive target for Brown. While Sam Pickney is the WR1, the addition of Credle will look to add another explosive target. 

Georgia State didn’t have an issue on offense. Still, with Pickney emerging as the top receiver, it’ll be interesting to see if Credle can be the number two receiver heading into the season.