Georgia State newest member of NCAA Division I

ATLANTA, Ga.-When the Panthers of Georgia State University take the artificial surface at Milan Puskar Stadium for Saturday’s noon encounter with the Mountaineers it won’t only be the team’s first visit to Mountaineer Field, but the first time fans of the old gold and blue will have seen the team in action.

So, it is only appropriate that fans take a moment to discover just who the Panthers are.

  • Georgia State’s season opener against Samford was its first contest as an FBS program as the Panthers made the jump this season to the Sun Belt Conference.

The move to FBS is a two-year transition which began in 2012, when the Panthers played an FCS and CAA schedule. Georgia State began playing football in 2010.

  • The Georgia State coaching staff features several members with both playing and coaching experience in the National Football League.

Head coach Trent Miles spent the 2000 season as an assistant coach on Mike Sherman’s staff with the Green Bay Packers. Offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski served on the Packers’ staff from 1999-2003. He then moved to the Atlanta Falcons as tight ends coach in 2004 and offensive line in 2005 before going back to Green Bay in 2006 as offensive coordinator.

Secondary coach and special teams coordinator J.D. Williams was a first-round draft pick in 1990 by the Buffalo Bills, where he played in four straight Super Bowls. Wide receivers coach Keary Colbert spent six years in the NFL, four of them with the Carolina Panthers.

  • Wide receiver Albert Wilson opened his final season with the Panthers with eight catches for 167 yards in a 31-21 loss to Samford. Wilson leads the Sun Belt Conference in receptions (7.5 pg), receiving yards (149.5 pg) and all-purpose yards (210.5 pg).
  • True freshman wide receiver Robert Davis ranks second to Wilson in the Sun Belt Conference in receptions (5.5 pg) and receiving yards (83.0 pg).
  • Georgia State features a roster with 27 seniors, including 17 who were members of the Panthers’ initial squad which began play in 2009. Seventeen current Panthers appeared in that game on Sept. 2, 2010 – a 41-7 win over Shorter before a crowd of 30,237 fans.

Starting quarterback Ronnie Bell played in seven games in 2012 after transferring from Ohio University. He made his first start against William & Mary, passing for 157 yards, but throwing four interceptions.

For his career the Georgia native has completed 71-of-140 attempts for 983 yards and six touchdowns with 12 interceptions.

  • Starting running back is senior Travis Evans. In four years with the Panthers the Florida native has rushed 251 times for 1,120 yards and seven scores. He is the second leading rusher in GSU history.

Evans also has 48 receptions for 306 yards and two scores.

  • Up front the Panthers will start senior Michael Davis (6-3, 290) at center, senior Harrison Clottey (6-5, 310) and junior Tim Wynn (6-2, 280) at the guards and senior Ulrick John (6-8, 290) and junior A.J. Kaplan (6-4, 295) at tackles.

The remainder of the starting lineup will have junior Sean Jespesen (6-0, 225) at fullback, freshman Keith Tucker (6-3, 232) at tight end and senior Danny Williams (6-4, 210) at the final wide receiver spot.