2013 Georgia State Preview - Defense

Posted Jun 26, 2013

CollegeFootballNews.com 2013 Preview - Georgia State Panther Defense

Georgia State Panthers

Preview 2013 - Defense

- 2013 Georgia State Preview | 2013 Georgia State Offense
- 2013 Georgia State Defense | 2013 Georgia State Depth Chart

What You Need To Know: There's experience and size, but new defensive coordinator Jesse Minter has to find something that this group can do well. The run defense was awful, the pass defense worse, and there wasn't enough of a pass rush and there weren't enough takeaways to make up for the issues. The change to a 3-4 should help the cause with a good, deep pack of linebackers in place to potentially start doing more to be disruptive behind the line. There's bulk up front with Theo Agnew and Terrance Woodard two big, active linemen who'll get around the ball, but they have to hold up better. The leadership and experience in the secondary has to translate into production.

Returning Leaders
Tackles: Joseph Peterson, 65
Sacks: Theo Agnew, John Kelly, 2
Interceptions: Several with 1

Star of the defense: Sophomore LB Joseph Peterson
Player who has to step up and be a star: Senior S Arington Jordan
Unsung star on the rise: Junior DE Nermin Delic
Best pro prospect: Peterson
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Peterson, 2) DT Terrance Woodard, 3) DE/DT Theo Agnew
Strength of the defense: Experience, Tackles
Weakness of the defense: Run Defense, Pass Defense

Defensive Line

The defensive front has to find a way to start getting behind the line and needs to be far stronger against the run, and it has to start by getting even more from senior Terrance Woodard, a 6-4, 295-pound veteran who did what he could finishing third on the team with 59 tackles with a sack and 2.5 tackles for loss. Named the team's most valuable defensive player, he's active and he's able to get around the ball and hold up against the run as the team's biggest starting interior presence, but he needs help around him.

Like an extra defensive tackle is 6-4, 280-pound end Theo Agnew, a transfer from UMass who finished second on the team with 60 tackles with two sack and eight tackles for loss. While he's really a tackle in the new 3-4 alignment, wherever he plays he's going to put up big numbers and be a key part of the run defense. While he might not be a speed rusher, he can get into the backfield.

It'll be a battle for playing time on the other side with 6-4, 275-pound junior Norman Delic and 6-0, 250-pound junior Marcus Stetzer each likely to see plenty of action in the rotation. Delic is a transfer from Kentucky after seeing a little time in SEC action. He got banged up and ended up moving over to Georgia State where he sat out last season and ripped it up in practices. While he's big, he's athletic and should be a pass rusher. Stetzer can be a small interior presence but is better as an end making 20 tackles with four tackles for loss. While he's extremely smart in the classroom, he needs to bring more as a pass rusher on the field.

Watch Out For … George Rogers, a huge 6-3, 310-pound transfer from Oklahoma A&M who'll try to bulk things up in the interior behind Woodard. While Woodard hovers around 300 pounds, Rogers is a legitimate big man who can get behind the line and potentially be a dangerous pass rusher and anchor. Also keep an eye on freshman MacKendy Cheridor, arguably the team's top recruit with 6-5, 230-pound size and the versatility to play end or outside linebacker.
Strength: Woodard and Agnew. The Panthers have a good, solid pair of veteran tackles who are active and make lots and lots of plays. Throw Rogers in the mix, and GSU has good bulk in the interior.
Weakness: Pass rush. There isn't any. It'll be the job of the front three to hold up against the run and let the linebackers do the fun stuff, but it would be nice if someone up front could threaten the passer on a consistent basis.
Outlook: The change to a 3-4 should help. Now, Agnew gets to shoot the gap a little more in his new role while hoping for Woodard and Delic to shine. There's the potential here to be the defense's biggest strength.
Unit Rating: 4.5


With the move to the 3-4, the outside linebackers will be asked to do more to get behind the line and start hitting the quarterback. 6-5, 240-pound senior John Kelly was a starting defensive end who'll not be an outside linebacker after making 30 tackles with two sacks and four tackles for loss. Quick off the ball, he has to show he can handle himself in space against the run, but he has the potential to be a laser beam as a pass rusher at times. Working at the other outside spot is 6-1, 210-pound sophomore Tarris Batiste, a transfer from Indiana State who came in this spring and took over a job. Extremely athletic, he runs like a defensive back, and while he's not a pass rusher, he should be in on plays time and again.

6-1, 230-pound senior Robert Ferguson owned one of the inside linebacker jobs last year and now is an even bigger leader. A middle linebacker who'll move over a bit in the new alignment, he made 47 tackles with a pick, but he has great range and with the ability to put up big numbers with plays funneled his way. Joining him again on the inside is 6-0, 220-pound sophomore Joseph Peterson, one of the team's most promising defenders who jumped in as a true freshman and led the team with 65 tackles with three tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. Extremely steady, he made ten tackles against UTSA and came up with seven tackles or more six times. He has All-Sun belt potential.

Part defensive end and part outside linebacker, 6-3, 225-pound sophomore Melvin King will be moved around where needed. He got into the mix as a true freshman making nine stops with 1.5 sacks, but with his combination of size and speed he has the potential and the talent to become a disruptive force. Also trying to find even more playing time is 6-2, 215-pound junior Jarrell Robinson, a spot starter over the last few years with excellent range on the inside. He made 41 tackles with a sack, three broken up passes and four tackles for loss.

Watch Out For … Kight Dallas, a phenomenal get who could've been headed for a far bigger program. The 6-2, 230-pound freshman is a huge hitter and pass rusher who can work inside or out. He'll start out the season as a reserve, but he's way too fast, way too big and way too good to not be a starter very soon.
Strength: The options. The Panthers have several interesting players and options to work around with Ferguson and Peterson two excellent interior presences and Kelly, King, Batitste and Dallas all possible playmakers on the outside.
Weakness: Stopping the run. This should be an athletic, energetic and productive group, but it's going to have to prove it can hold up against anyone with a little bit of power.
Outlook: This is the future of the Georgia State defense. The move to the 3-4 highlights the potential with good young prospects working with some key veterans, but now the production has to start to come. The plays have to be there in the backfield and getting physical against the tougher running games is a must.
Unit Rating: 4.5

Defensive Backs

The pass defense got destroyed throughout last season gets both its starting corners back. 5-10, 165-pound senior Demarius Matthews is a blazer who has no problems hanging around with the faster receivers, but he needs to start making plays. He came up with 21 tackles, but he didn't pick off a pass and he only came with one breakup. Back on the other side is 5-9, 180-pound senior Brent McClendon, a veteran who started from the moment he set foot on campus making 47 tackles with a pick and four broken up passes last season. Extremely active, he can get into the backfield if needed, but he mostly needs to use his experience to start doing more.

Senior Arington Jordan spent last season as a reserve and a special teamer, but now he'll take over one of the starting safety jobs. At 5-11 and 193 pounds, he's not huge, but he gets around and he'll be a willing tackler making eight stops with a broken up pass. 6-2, 212-pound senior Kail Singleton is the team captain with great leadership skills and terrific drive. He got hurt late last season, but he came up with 43 tackles with a pick and a broken up pass. Big, he's physical and can hit, but he has to be stronger against the run and has to find his way around the ball when it's in the air.

Junior Jamal May was injured and missed all of last season, but he's back and ready to be a part of the safety rotation. The 5-10, 190-pounder is an incredible athlete who could shine as a nickel or dime packages. The top backup corner option should be 5-8, 175-pound senior Jamal Ransby, a spot starter who was banged up throughout last season but still finished with 19 tackles with a broken up pass. Fast, he's one of the team's speedier defenders.

Watch Out For … Robert Dowling, a good 5-10, 175-pound corner prospect who can tackle and is dangerous with the ball in his hands. Extremely quick, he should be able to mirror Sun Belt receivers without a problem.
Strength: Veteran corners. McClendon and Matthews are senior leaders who have logged in enough time to know how to handle themselves. They're willing tacklers and good examples for the rest of the defense to work around.
Weakness: Stopping the pass. The Panthers were torched by offenses that tried to throw the forward pass. The secondary allowed 26 touchdown passes with three scores allowed in six of the 11 games. Most teams that didn't put up big passing yards were too busy running.
Outlook: There was no pass rush whatsoever to help the cause, but the secondary didn't do its part, either. There's enough experience to be better, and the depth is loaded with upperclassmen, but there won't be enough big plays to offset the rough days.
Unit Rating: 4

Special Teams

The kicking game needs to be stronger with sophomore Will Lutz likely to take over the placekicking full-time. Lutz only hit 4-of-7 field goals, but all three misses were from deep including a 54-yarder. He doesn't have the best leg, but he should be fine inside 40 yards. He could be used as a punter, too.

6-4, 235-pound junior Matt Hubbard is a big punter who can boom the ball, averaging 43.1 yards per try and putting 12 inside the 20. He nailed an 80-yard bomb and cranked 21 of his 59 tries over 50 yards – he's a weapon.

Top receiver Albert Wilson is a difference maker as a return man. Okay on punt returns, he averaged 9.4 yards per try, but he was outstanding on kickoff returns averaging 25.9 yards per shot with a touchdown. He's fantastic at making the first man miss and is great in the open field.

Watch Out For … Lutz to be solid. He'll get a few shots from 45 yards and beyond, but he should get more chances from closer range. He has to prove himself in the clutch, but he's young and has good upside.
Strength: The punting game. Wilson is a dangerous weapon who'll be a gamechanger at times, but it's Hubbard and the punting that should be one of the team's biggest positives.
Weakness: Punt coverage. Allowing 10.7 yards per try wasn't that big a deal, but the coverage team allowed two scores. The kickoff coverage was a problem, too, allowing 22.7 yards per try.
Outlook: If Lutz is solid, the special teams could be among the best in the Sun Belt. Wilson is deadly and Hubbard has all-star potential. The coverage teams need to be stronger and a few deep field goals would be nice, but overall this should be a plus.
Unit Rating: 6.5

- 2013 Georgia State Preview | 2013 Georgia State Offense
- 2013 Georgia State Defense | 2013 Georgia State Depth Chart