Fritz’s class compliments current roster

Will Cheney

New Georgia Southern University head coach Willie Fritz announced his 2014 signing class on Wednesday, Feb. 5, and it was just what the doctor ordered.

With the senior presence the 2013 edition of the Eagles sported, there were many shoes left to fill following the season finale in Gainesville, Fl. Losses of linebacker Kyle Oehlbeck, corner Lavelle Westbrooks, defensive linemen Blake Riley, Javon Mention, Josh Gebhardt and Justice Ejike left a monumental void in the Eagle defense heading into 2014.

Eight of the 17 signees play on the defensive side of the ball, including Darius Sapp (Valdosta) who was the No. 121-ranked defensive tackle in the country, according to ESPN. Talent on defense will be key in the pass-happy Sun Belt Conference.

Another glaring positive from Fritz’s class was the quality and quantity of offensive linemen. The class features five offensive linemen, including guard Trayvon Williams (Camden) and tackle Christian Taylor (White Knoll/Lexington, S.C.), who were ranked No. 48 and No. 150 nationally at their respective positions according to ESPN. Taylor, all 340 lbs of him, has the potential to be an imposing force to FBS defensive linemen in the future.

The class is, however, lacking in quarterbacks and receivers. That normally would not pose a problem, unless injuries plague the team during the season; though I believe it would be hard for the team to be more injury-laden than last season’s group. I believe the group the Eagles currently have is up to the task. The spread-option is the perfect opportunity for redshirt sophomore quarterback Kevin Ellison and the receivers to showcase their skills more effectively.

Receivers like seniors Zach Walker and Kentrellis Showers could prove very valuable in the new-found passing game. Keep an eye on junior B.J. Johnson. He is a big, physical receiver that I believe can flourish with the transition to the spread and will be the primary target for any and all Eagle quarterbacks in 2014.

A class that saw only two running backs, junior Ken Thomas, a transfer from East Mississippi Community College, and freshman Ryan Peterson (Ocilia). Running back depth will not be a problem for the Eagles in 2014. A healthy senior Dominique Swope, coupled with junior Nardo Govan and redshirt sophomore Irving Huggins will be a great asset for GSU this season; not to mention redshirt senior Tray Butler and a healthy junior James Dean.

All in all, Fritz’s first recruiting class at GSU was a success. He filled the positions he needed to fill and did so with talent. It will be interesting to see what the future holds once these players develop.