STATESBORO — Five student-athletes have enrolled at Georgia Southern University and have joined the Eagle football program. Three offensive and two defensive players will be added to the roster for preseason camp.
Torrance Hunt, a running back from East Carolina; Darius Safford, a cornerback from Lafayette College in Pennsylvania; Spencer Stephens, a tight end from Mt. San Antonio College; Favian Upshaw, a quarterback from Florida International; and Zander Yost, a safety from the U.S. Naval Academy, began preseason practice with the Eagles on Thursday.
Hunt, who graduated from East Carolina this summer, joins the Eagles after earning three letters as a Pirate and playing at running back, wide receiver and defensive back during his career. Hunt averaged 4.5 yards per rush as a junior with a 6.4 average on third-down carries and was ECU’s leading rusher during the final six games of the 2011 season. Listed as a running back for the Eagles, the Durham, N.C., native has one year of eligibility remaining after redshirting in 2009.
A three-year Leopard letter winner and 2012 All-Patriot League selection at Lafayette, Safford graduated in May and has one year of eligibility remaining. He started all 11 games last season and finished the year with 51 tackles and three interceptions. His totals include four tackles for loss for 21 yards and five pass breakups as well as two sacks. One of the highlights of his third season was a 31-yard interception return for a touchdown. The Douglasville, Ga., native was named MVP of the Leopard defensive backs as a sophomore.
California native Stephens, a tight end from Mt. San Antonio College, was part of the Mounties’ teams that went 22-3 in his two-year career and advanced to the national title game his freshman year. At Mt. San Antonio, he tallied 12 receptions for 121 yards (15.1 average) with four touchdowns. Stephens previously played wide receiver and switched to the tight end position as a senior at Villa Park High School.
Upshaw became an Eagle after a redshirt year at Florida International. From Titusville, Fla., Upshaw was a dual-threat quarterback in high school who earned Florida Today All-Space Coast first-team quarterback honors as a junior and Associated Press All-State honorable mention status. A three-sport letter winner at Astronaut High School, Upshaw was the No. 1 high jumper in the state of Florida and was ranked 25th nationally.
Returning to his home state, redshirt freshman safety Yost transferred to Georgia Southern after his first year at the U.S. Naval Academy. Yost is a four-year football letter winner from Wesleyan High School, where he helped guide the Wolves to a state championship and three region titles. The Johns Creek, Ga., native also won eight state medals in track and field during his prep career, finishing in the top five in the state championships in both the 100m and 300m hurdles as a junior and competing as a member of the 4X100m and 4X400m relay teams.
The Georgia Southern football team began practice Thursday on the banks of Beautiful Eagle Creek, and the Eagles open the 2013 season with the 400th game in the modern era of the program Saturday, Aug. 31. Kickoff against Savannah State is set for 6 p.m. at Paulson Stadium.
To buy season tickets, go to GSEagles.com/tickets, call the athletics ticket office at 1-800-GSU-WINS or stop by the Cowart Building at 203 Lanier Drive in Statesboro. Business hours are 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.