New eagles set to take flight

Shakeem Holloway

Seven running backs, six defensive backs, five defensive linemen, two offensive linemen, one quarterback, one long snapper and one very important kicker have all signed to Georgia Southern University’s football team.

Versatility and athleticism seemed to be a constant theme for the Eagles’ 2013 recruiting class. Several of the newly committed players play more than one position, and some even play both offense as well as defense.

It’s an athletic group of guys, and hopefully each year we’re doing a better job than we did the year before getting guys that are more athletic,” head coach Jeff Monken said.

The standout recruit for the Eagles could possibly be Jay Ellison. Ellison started at the varsity level all of his four years in high school and is ranked as the nation’s 34th best defensive tackle.

Ellison is among four other committed defensive linemen, which Monken echoed was necessary with the departure of players such as former Eagle defensive tackle Brent Russell.

GSU recruited seven linemen total, two of them coming on the offensive side of the ball.

Those guys are difficult to find. You’ve got to be strong upfront on both sides of the ball,” Monken said.

This past season, the Eagles ended on a blocked field goal attempt that would have tied the game and possibly sent it to overtime in their playoff loss to North Dakota State University.

Many GSU fans have been clamoring for the Eagles’ need for a kicker and their prayers may have been answered. The Eagles got a commitment from kicker YoungHoe Koo from Ridgewood, N.J.

Monken gave Koo high praise saying he had a strong and accurate leg that would be a valuable addition to GSU.

I feel (Koo) is as good a kicker as we saw all year,” Monken said.

Koo went 32-32 in extra-point kicks, made six field goals, recorded 47 touchbacks and was the team MVP in his senior season.

It is well-known that the Eagles are proficient in the running game with their triple-option offense. This recruiting class is heavy with running backs as they added seven.

Most notable out of this stable of backs, might be running back Keshun Hill from Northside Warner Robins High School. Hill excelled at Northside playing multiple positions such as wide receiver and kick returner.

Hill averaged 10.7 yards per carry as a running back, caught eight receiving touchdowns and returned four kicks for touchdowns.

According to Monken, having skill guys at the running back position was something that he looked for in order to add to their offense and maybe have them play some receiver.

The Eagles also added one very talented quarterback that fits their offense with Alfred “L.A.” Ramsey from Colerain High School in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In our offense there is a specific type of athlete that we look for at quarterback. I think he’s going to be a good player; he’s a physical kid,” Monken said. “We’re hopeful he’s gonna be a really good player in our offense.”

Ramsey is a dual-threat quarterback that totaled over 3,200 yards, running for 18 touchdowns and throwing for 16.

With the athleticism and depth that the Eagles have added, the 2013 season is looking promising.

I think the kids that are coming now recognize Georgia Southern as one of the best football programs in the country, and they want to be a part of a winning tradition,” Monken said.

Whether the Eagles are moving up to a new conference or not will have no effect on the team’s preparation for the upcoming season.

Monken said, “At this point we want to be the best FCS team in the country.”