THERSday Night All-Decade Team: Offense

Written by Brady Weiler and David Salmon

As we continue on in an extended summer without sports, it’s time to look back before we look forward to the 2020 regular season, as we honor the best of Georgia State football from its first decade in existence. Today, in the first of two installments, the team at THERSdayNight.com is now proud to unveil our 2010s All-Decade Offensive Team.

To view our picks for defense and special teams, click here: https://thersdaynight.com/thersday-night-all-decade-team-defense-special-teams/

Quarterback

Photo: GSU Athletics

Nick Arbuckle (2014-2015)

Nick Arbuckle’s two-year stint at Georgia State saw the signal caller rewrite the offensive record book for the Panthers. Arbuckle holds the Georgia State record for career passing yards (7,651), passing touchdowns (51), single season passing yards (4,368, in 2015) – a Sun Belt record as well – and the single season passing touchdowns (28, also in 2015). His prolific 2015 season earned him an All-Sun Belt Conference First Team selection and the 2015 Sun Belt Conference Student-Athlete of the Year award, as he led the program to their first bowl game. Nick is currently a quarterback for the Ottawa RedBlacks of the CFL after three seasons with the Calgary Stampeders.

Dan Ellington (2018-2019)

The most recent Georgia State quarterback, Dan Ellington earns consideration on this All-Decade Team for overseeing the best single season offensive performance in the program’s short history and for leading the program to its largest-ever regular season win total in 2019. While Nick Arbuckle dominates the statistical categories at QB and was a tremendous player in his own right, Dan undoubtedly left the larger impression on the public image of the program as he led Georgia State to the biggest win in program history. The Panthers travelled to Neyland Stadium as 24-point underdogs and came back with an upset of SEC bluebloods Tennessee, 38-30, and Dan’s 22-yard touchdown run to seal the win has become the single-most iconic play in program history.

Photo: Jordan Crawford for THERSday Night

Running Back

Photo: Jordan Crawford for THERSday Night

Tra Barnett (2016-2019)

Most careers aren’t made by one season, but Tra Barnett’s strong 2019 season cemented him as the best running back in Georgia State history. A small back with top-level getaway speed, Barnett started his career as a reserve running back as a freshman in 2016. He became the focal point of Coach Elliott’s rejuvenated rushing attack by his junior year and absolutely exploded in his senior season, setting the school record for rushing yards in a single season (1480), rushing yards in a single game (242 vs Troy) and rushing touchdowns in a single season (12). He also became the all-time career leader in rushing yards off the back of his 2019 campaign, finishing with 2156 yards from scrimmage.

 

Honorable mention: Donald Russell (2011-12)

  • 1412 career rushing yards (3rd in program history)
  • 9 rushing TDs (2nd)

Wide Receiver

Robert Davis (2013-2016)

An all-around weapon at the position, Robert Davis started all 4 years he was at Georgia State and put his name all over the school’s record books. Davis leads in career receptions (222), receiving yards (3,391) and is third in receiving touchdowns (17). Davis still maintains his place in the top 5 in Sun Belt Conference all-time in receiving yards and receptions and he earned All-Sun Belt honors in three seasons – including two First Team selections in 2015 and 2016. Upon leaving Georgia State, Davis went on to be selected in the 2016 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins, the third player in GSU history to be drafted.

Photo: Jason Getz
Photo: GSU Athletics

Penny Hart (2015-2018)

A jack-of-all-trades as a high school athlete at King’s Ridge Christian, Penny Hart came into GSU as an undersized receiver and made a major impact on the Sun Belt instantly. Penny was named the 2015 Sun Belt Freshman of the Year and was voted to the first of his three All-Sun Belt Conference lists after compiling 1099 receiving yards and eight touchdowns his first year on campus. In just three full seasons, Hart finished his career as the 4th leading receiver in Sun Belt Conference history with over 2,900 yards and ranks in the top 5 in Georgia State history in receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, receptions, and all-purpose yards. He is currently on the roster the Seattle Seahawks after going undrafted in 2018 and looks to earn a full-time spot in the upcoming season.

Albert Wilson (2010-2013)

Recruited out of Port St Lucie, Florida as part of the program’s second recruiting class, Albert Wilson remains the most dynamic big-play threat this program has had. Doing it all – from receiving, returning kicks and punts, rushing – Albert’s 26 touchdowns scored is the most in school history. His 97-yard kick return for a touchdown represented the lone bright spot in GSU’s first appearance on national TV at Alabama in 2010. After his time at Georgia State, Wilson was the first Panther invited to the NFL Combine and he’s had a successful career as a slot receiver with the Kansas City Chiefs and his current team, the Miami Dolphins. 

 

Honorable mention: Cornelius McCoy (2018-present)

  • 1252 career receiving yards (6th in program history)
  • All-Sun Belt Honorable Mention 2018, All-Sun Belt Third Team 2019
Photo: GSU Athletics

Tight End

Photo: GSU Athletics

Keith Rucker (2013-2016)

A four-year starter over the entirety of the Trent Miles era, Keith Rucker came on strong as a receiving option during his final two seasons in Atlanta, providing an excellent outlet down the seam for Nick Arbuckle in 2015 and Conner Manning in 2016. In the first bowl season of 2015, he was fourth on the team with 522 receiving yards and joint-second with six touchdowns. Keith finished his collegiate career with 1148 receiving yards and 10 touchdown receptions, both tops for tight ends at Georgia State.

Honorable mention: Roger Carter (2017-present)

  • 6 career receiving TDs through three seasons (2nd all-time among TEs)
  • 2019 All-Sun Belt Honorable Mention

Tackle

Hunter Atkinson (2016-2019)

Coach Miles narrowly missed out on signing Hunter Atkinson as a tight end out of West Hall High School but after a short stay at the University of Georgia, Hunter ended up at Georgia State – this time as an offensive lineman. He broke the huddle in the 2016 opener versus Ball State as the team’s left tackle and locked that position down for his entire career, starting all 49 games and bolstering the left side of the offensive line. His efforts at GSU earned him All-Sun Belt honors his final two seasons – a Third Team spot in 2018 and a First Team spot in 2019 – and an undrafted free agent contract with the Atlanta Falcons this offseason.

Photo: Jordan Crawford for THERSday Night
Photo: Hyosub Shin

Ulrick John (2010-2013)

Ulrick John was a 2010 signee under coach Bill Curry and earned playing time at left tackle on the inaugural team that season. He eventually took over that spot full-time in 2012 and held on through his senior year. In the 2014 NFL Draft, Ulrick became the second Georgia State player – and the first on the offensive side of the ball – to be drafted when the Indianapolis Colts took him with pick #232 of the seventh round. He was also the first Panther pro to get a Super Bowl ring after being a member of the Patriots’ practice squad in the 2018/19 NFL season.

Guard

Joe Gilbert (2010-2011)

After taking a short trip down 1-85 from Georgia Tech and transferring to GSU in 2010, Joe Gilbert started at left guard every game in his two seasons as a Panther, including in the inaugural game against Shorter. The Panthers were conference-less during Joe’s time in the program and so there were no conference honors to be won, but he was named Outstanding Offensive Line Player within the program in 2010 as he helped shore up the run and pass protection efforts.

Photo: GSU Athletics
Photo: Jordan Crawford for THERSday Night

Shamarious Gilmore (2017-present)

Shamarious Gilmore – or Quion – was a holdover from Coach Miles’ time in Atlanta but has come to embody the smash-mouth mentality that Shawn Elliott has tried to instill into his offense from Day 1. After redshirting in 2016, Quion took the left guard spot on Coach Elliott’s first team and has started every game in his career, paving the way for the Panthers rushing attack to improve year on year on year. He’s been on the All-Sun Belt team all three seasons (Honorable Mention in ‘17 and ‘18, Third Team in ‘19) and a strong senior year could see him become the fourth Panther to be taken in the NFL Draft.

Center

Gabe Mobley (2015-2018)

Gabe Mobley arrived at Georgia State from the perennial South Georgia football power Colquitt County and brought some of that winning pedigree with him to college to help the Panthers make history. After taking over at center in the second game of his freshman year, Gabe would be a fixture in the middle of the offensive line the rest of the season and for the rest of his career. Eventually splitting time at center and guard, he was an integral part of the first two bowl teams in program history. Far more impressive, though, were the academic accolades he piled up – including twice appearing on the Sun Belt Conference Commissioner’s List – and the fact he played his final two seasons while attending law school.

Honorable mention: Malik Sumter (2018-present)

  • 18 straight starts from the middle of 2018/2019
  • All-Sun Belt Honorable Mention
Photo: GSU Athletics

Like our list? Have any players you would add? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter (@THERSdayNight) and answer our poll question on who you think the best QB of the 2010s was:

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