National Signing Day Review
National Signing Day has come and gone, and even though it will be months before any of the new signees actually step foot on a college practice field, there is a lot to like about Georgia State’s recent class. First and foremost, Coach Elliott and co. put a huge emphasis on strengthening the defensive side of the ball – 12 of the 20 signees were defensive players. Injuries to starting defensive players plagued the Panther’s 2018 season, forcing many younger players into starting roles early in the season. The results spoke for themselves. While that class is another year older, this incoming class will take the responsibility of adopting the mentality of “next man up.”
Before getting into some of my favorites from the 2019 class, I want to throw out a disclaimer: High school film is exactly that – high school film. Some guys dominate high school simply on athleticism or talent alone. It is incredibly difficult to gauge certain aspects of performance by watching high school tape. Also, I am not a scout, just a happy-go-lucky football fan who sometimes thinks he knows what he’s talking about. Now without further ado, here are my top 5 signees from the Georgia State 2019 Signing Class:
Before getting into some of my favorites from the 2019 class, I want to throw out a disclaimer: High school film is exactly that- high school film. Some guys dominate high school simply because they are bigger than the guys lining up across from them. It is incredibly difficult to gauge certain aspects of performance by watching high school tape. Also I am not a scout, just a happy go lucky football fan who sometimes thinks he knows what he’s talking about. Now without further ado, here are my top 5 signees from the Georgia State 2019 Signing Class.
Antavious Lane | 5’9” 180 ATH
Listed as an athlete, Antavious Lane primarily played defensive back in high school. Lane does one thing extremely well; find ways to ensure the ball ends up in his hands. While coverage skills are something young corners learn over time, one of Lane’s biggest strengths is his speed. This is obviously useful in coverage and tackling, and provides him a significant advantage in turnover situations. This is clear based on his multiple defensive touchdowns during his high school career. While a tad on the smaller side, it will be interesting to see if Coach Elliott deploys Lane as a special teams gunner, or utilizes him in nickel and dime sets as a slot cornerback. Either way, his tenacity and ballhawk mentality will be useful to a Georgia State defense that last year struggled to force turnovers.
Miles Dickens | 6’2” 249 DE
Next on our list of recruits to watch in the 2019 signing class is defensive end Miles Dickens. Dickens’ biggest strength lies in his exception pass rushing ability, something the Panthers’ defense sorely missed in the 2018 season. Dickens is a good size for a defensive end, and has above average athletic ability for his size. He is able to get off the line of scrimmage quickly, shedding blockers as he comes off the corner. His size won’t carry him through the college game as easily as it did in high school, but an offseason of strength and conditioning under John Sisk and his staff will do wonders. Look for Dickens to help GSU pile up sack numbers in the future.
Jordan Veneziale | 6’1” 220 ILB
Another defensive recruit that has me really excited is Jordan Veneziale. Jordan is very quick and has great recovery skills. One thing that really stands out on his tape is his versatility. Veneziale is listed as an inside linebacker and spends a majority of his snaps lined up inside. However, he can thrive on the outside in coverage or come down and play off the line of scrimmage. His quickness also helps him get terrific penetration into the backfield, and he could develop into the big time playmaker the Georgia State defense so desperately needs.
Cornelious Brown IV | 6’5” 182 QB
Shifting focus to the offensive side of the ball, one of my favorite prospects out of this class is Cornelious Brown IV. What’s not to like about the kid? He has a cannon for an arm, throws a great deep ball and puts it right where he wants it. Brown is a pro-style quarterback, but he has great pocket presence and can use his legs to get outside of the pocket and extend plays. Like many other young QBs, Brown has some footwork issues, but a summer working with new Georgia State Offensive Coordinator Brad Glenn will do the Calera, Alabama native a world of good. He’s got great size, clocking in at 6 foot 5 inches, and has everything one wants in a prototypical quarterback. Brown is a likely candidate for a redshirt this year, but the QB room continues to improve under this staff. Also, for personal points, he is not shy about his love for Georgia State. Helps the #brand.
Avery Reece | 6’3” 273 TE
Last but certainly not least, we have Avery Reece. Those size numbers should have any scout drooling. In high school, Reece played on both offense and defense. However, he was most productive on the offensive side of the ball, which is exactly where I believe he will excel at Georgia State. His size allows him to be an incredible blocker, his speed allows him to be a deceptively good runner in space and he has better hands than most big men I know. This is why I believe he sticks at tight end long term for the Panthers. What impresses me the most, however, is his pull blocking ability. Avery can come from a variety of angles and forces his way into the second level before the running back behind him even has the ball. Given the increased emphasis placed on the running game at Georgia State under Coach Elliott, that is a huge development – as it sets up misdirection, play actions and bootlegs. Reece has an incredibly varied skill set and has an opportunity to impact the Panthers as soon as this season.
Recruiting is always a numbers game, and it’s not hard to envision an improvement for Georgia State next year. If there’s one thing this staff has shown, it’s that they can recruit well. Heading into year three of the Shawn Elliott era, it will be time to really hone in on the player development. Signees from their first class will be juniors and the production will need to come through. While these guys listed above might not see a ton of playing time, getting them into the fold, on campus and in the weight room is the most important step for now.