In his first signing class as Georgia Southern’s head coach, and the Eagles’ first class as a Football Bowl Subdivision program, Willie Fritz focused on the trenches.
Of the 17 players who signed Wednesday and the three transfers who came into the program after the 2013 season, half are linemen. Five weigh more than 300 pounds, including 6-foot-5, 340-pound offensive lineman Christian Taylor from Lexington, S.C.
“We were looking for guys who we thought were FBS-talented football players,” Fritz said about the class. “There are a lot of offensive linemen that will be playing next year for us who are seniors. We really thought we needed to beef up in that area.”
The Eagles signed only three freshmen skill players on offense: running back Ryan Peterson of Ocilla (Irwin County), tight end Luke Lewallen of Marietta (Dominion Christian) and wide receiver Kameron Maye (Murphy/Mobile, Ala.). A pair of running backs, Lakenderic Thomas and Derek Keaton, transferred to GSU from junior college in January.
Two Statesboro High players will join the Eagles as preferred walk-ons, defensive back Jacob Schofill and wide receiver Joe Corless. Fritz said that “at least 10” of the signees already were being recruited by GSU when he was hired Jan. 10, including a pair of junior-college cornerbacks from Texas, Darrius White and Caleb Williams.
One key during the process was staying with the players who already had committed to GSU before former coach Jeff Monken left for Army, something Fritz said was important to GSU Director of Athletics Tom Kleinlein.
“TK told me when I came in, ‘Hey, these kids are committed to us. We want to be committed to them.’ Thank goodness when I watched tape — they were good football players,” Fritz said, laughing.