AT A GLANCE
POSITION COACH: Cory Peoples (2nd year at GSU, 1st year as passing game coordinator)
RETURNING STARTERS: Senior Jaylon Jones* (11 pass breakups in 2020), senior Quavian White* (3 interceptions, 8 pass breakups in 2020)
RETURNING CONTRIBUTORS: Sophomore Bryquice Brown (1 interception, 5 pass breakups in 2020), sophomore Cameron Sims (1 interception, 1 pass breakup in 2020), junior Courtney Williams (Moved over from safety during 2021 spring practice)
NEW NAMES: Freshman Tony McCray Jr
KEY LOSSES: Evan Jones, Brylan Lanier (incoming freshman who left during 2021 fall camp)
* = projected starter
The cornerback position for Georgia State is defined more by its starters than perhaps any other position on this side of the ball. Quavian White and Jaylon Jones have lined up on the outside each season they’ve played at Georgia State, tallying up the stats and improving year on year to now represent a steadying force on the outside of Nate Fuqua’s defense. The pair are jointly tied on 17 pass breakups over their career, one behind the school record shared by the last great cornerback duo at Georgia State, Jerome Smith and current Green Bay Packer Chandon Sullivan. Additionally, Quavian’s next interception will tie him with Chandon’s record 7 career picks. Quavian and Jaylon are the guys at this position, and success against the pass will start and finish with them. There are some potent passing attacks spread all through Georgia State’s schedule, and indeed in the Sun Belt Conference, so this unit will have to withstand an onslaught all season long.
For Quavian, a sporadic return man on special teams with breakaway speed, the goal will be to turn some more of his INTs into big returns and even the first pick-six (or pick-sixes) of his time here. Where Jaylon can improve the most is by turning that impressive 11 pass breakups from a year ago into a mix of PBUs as well as interceptions. He’s had some plays – most notably in last year’s season opener against Louisiana – where if he had held onto the ball rather than just being able to bat it away, there was nothing but green grass in front of him all the way down the field.
Even with the emphasis on the work of the two projected starters, whatever the reserves at corner can offer can help the defense reach another echelon. Both Bryquice Brown and Cam Sims had promising freshman seasons with standout moments, each tallying a single interception in 2020. Brown’s development in particular will be one to watch. He showed real flashes of brilliant ball skills, with his 5 pass breakups coming in far fewer snaps than Jones and White. Courtney Williams is also an interesting case, having traded places with Tyler Gore and moved to cornerback after spending his first three years in Atlanta at safety. It remains to be seen where he fits in the rotation, but at 6’2”, his size offers an intriguing option to play on the outside and allow Quavian White (5’10”) to come in and play the slot if the opposing team has a particularly dangerous weapon who operates on the inside.
NEXT UP: Special Teams