AT A GLANCE
POSITION COACH: Trent McKnight (5th season at GSU)
RETURNING STARTERS: Redshirt senior Terrance Dixon*, Senior Cornelius McCoy*, Redshirt junior Sam Pinckney*
RETURNING CONTRIBUTORS: Redshirt freshman Kellan Autenrieth, Sophomore Ja’Cyais Credle, Redshirt freshman Jacob Freeman, Redshirt junior Spencer Gaddis, Redshirt senior Donavon Grier, Redshirt freshman Robert Lewis, Redshirt freshman Christian Thomas, Junior Cadarrius Thompson, Redshirt sophomore Jamari Thrash, Redshirt freshman Tailique Williams
NEW NAMES: Freshman Jaylin Tolbert
KEY LOSSES: Senior Jonathan Ifedi (graduated), Super senior Deandre Bowman (switched to OLB), senior Matlin Marshall (graduated)
* = projected starter
While Georgia State has recently placed a strong emphasis on running the ball, the Panthers boast a strong receiving corps that is capable of burning opposing defenses at the drop of the hat. The Panthers return both starters Cornelius McCoy and Sam Pinckney, who each finished their 2020 seasons with All-Sun Belt honors. Pinckney returns after leading the Panthers in receiving last season, and he’ll be looking to solidify his rank among the best Sun Belt pass catchers. Pinckney had four games where he eclipsed over 100 yards receiving, including a season-high 176 in the win against South Alabama. His stability was present too, as he had at least 50 yards in seven of the 10 games last year. Opposite Pinckney is McCoy, who was a versatile security blanket for QB Quad Brown. Despite only playing in seven contests, McCoy was second on the team in receptions and yards. 2020 was McCoy’s 3rd straight All-Sun Belt nomination, and it should surprise no one were he to find his way there by the end of the 2021 season.
Behind Pinckney and McCoy, there is a gaggle of options at the position. The Panthers never quite found a stable option for their third receiver in 2021, but expect Terrance Dixon to reprise his role and get the most touches out of any. McCoy has the versatility to bounce between the outside and the slot, but Dixon spent the majority of the 2021 season as a slot receiver and will likely do so again due to his size and athleticism. Ja’Cyais Credle should get play on the outside as the 6;4” transfer from UCF is entering his first season at Georgia State. Besides them, expect Jamari Thrash and Cadarrius Thompson to rotate in as the true 4th or 5th option, but do not overlook their usefulness. Despite only three multi-reception contests in 2020, Thrash made his hay in important spots for the Panthers, usually finding himself open when the first and second option for Quad was taken. The same goes for Thompson, who only had 4 catches all season but averaged 15 yards per catch over the course of the entire year. That level of efficiency does wonders for a young quarterback. There is certainly intrigue and options at the wide receiver positions behind the two standouts, but it will be important for one of the third options to step up this season to give Quad a more stable option passing the ball.
Next up: Quarterbacks