ATLANTA -- Georgia State head coach Trent Miles welcomed his first recruiting class as the Panthers' head coach, announcing on Wednesday's National Signing Day a class of 27 student-athletes, including five who are already enrolled at GSU.
Georgia State's 2013 class includes 21 incoming freshmen and one transfer who signed their paperwork Wednesday. In addition, five new Panthers enrolled this semester and will participate in spring practice, including three junior college transfers, one four-year transfer and one freshman.
Of the 27 newcomers, all but four are from the state of Georgia, including 16 from the metro Atlanta area.
The GSU coaching staff placed a heavy emphasis on bolstering the offensive and defensive lines, adding seven defensive linemen, four offensive linemen and three tight ends. The group also includes four linebackers, four defensive backs, three running backs, one quarterback, and one wide receiver.
"I thought it was an excellent recruiting class for the amount of time that our coaches were able to go out on the road," said Miles, who was named as the second head coach in Georgia State history on Dec. 3.
"I thought they did an outstanding job evaluating the talent, especially the local talent. We added size, speed and some potential impact players to our team."
Miles was pleased with the number local players Georgia State was able to keep at home.
"The football talent in this state is excellent," he said. "It's obvious these kids are all well-coached from a very young age. There is a lot of talent in this state. You can tell that by the number of Georgia kids we signed and will continue to sign.
"We always want to start right here in Atlanta and spread our way out," Miles continued. "It is important to get in all of the areas of Georgia and we will hit all of them. Other than junior colleges and prep schools, we won't leave the state during our spring recruiting. We will recruit every high school in the state of Georgia. There's plenty of talent in this state to go around."
When asked to single out individuals who might make the most immediate impact, Miles noted, "Hopefully they are all impact players at some point. To be honest, you will know a lot better in three years how it worked out."
But the GSU head coach did mention linebacker Kight Dallas of Stephenson High School in Stone Mountain.
"Kight Dallas, a young man from in the Stone Mountain area, Stephenson High School, was actually sent a letter of intent from the University of Arkansas," Miles noted. "He was originally commited to the University of South Carolina and received a letter from another SEC school. He did not sign it, but signed ours. I think that speaks to his ability."
The players who are enrolled this semester will have the advantage of participating in spring practice, including quarterback Clay Chastain from Georgia Military College and Harrison High School, and linebacker Tarris Batiste, a native of Cartersville, Ga. (Cass HS) who played for Miles at Indiana State but has returned to his home state.
Georgia State attracted student-athletes from all areas of metropolitan Atlanta, including linebacker Jameel Spencer from Woodward Academy in College Park and three DeKalb County products in defensive lineman Mackendy Cheridor from Columbia and defensive back Trent Hill from M.L. King, along with Dallas from Stephenson.
The Panthers signed three offensive linemen from football-rich Gwinnett County in 6-2, 275-pound Alex Stoehr of North Gwinnett, 6-5, 290-pound Davis Moore of Loganville, and 6-5, 290-pound Daniel Zeigler of South Gwinnett.
To the Northwest, Georgia State added defensive back Robert Dowling from Lassiter High and then a pair of Paulding County standouts in running back Kyler Neal from East Paulding and defensive lineman Carnell Hopson from South Paulding, in addition to Chastain.
Moving into North Georgia, Georgia State lured defensive back-wide receiver Tyshaun Clemmons of Gordon Central and tight end Sebastian Willer of Calhoun High, in addition to Batiste.
Joining the GSU program from the South Metro area are defensive end Shawayne Lawrence and tight end Bill Teknipp, both from Eagle's Landing, defensive lineman Tevin Jones from Luella High, and Henry County running back Jonathan Jean-Bart, who is already enrolled.
The Panthers also made an impact in Middle Georgia with wide receiver Robert Davis and linebacker Trey Payne, both from Northside-Warner Robins High, and defensive lineman Jalen Lawrence from Westside-Macon.
From outside the state of Georgia, the Panthers added Florida linemen Will Cunningham (Ida Baker HS/Cape Coral) and Brandon Pertile (Countryside HS/Clearwater) and Ohio tight end Keith Rucker from Cincinnati Moeller, along with two junior college players from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in running back Gerald Howse (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and defensive lineman George Rogers (Stillwater, Okla.)
Georgia State's final addition Wednesday was cornerback Bruce Dukes, a transfer from UCF who was a first-team all-state player at Sandy Creek High in 2010.
LB • 6-2, 210
Cass HS / Indiana State
Transfer from Indiana State who is enrolled at GSU for the spring semester ... Played in 10 games as a redshirt freshman in 2012 and collected 24 tackles, three tackles for loss, one pass breakup and one forced fumble ... Three-year starter who played both receiver and safety at Cass High School in Cartersville, Ga. ... First-team all-county and second-team all-region (7-AAAA) ... Scored 17 touchdowns in his career, including 14 receiving, two punt returns and one interception return ... Caught 61 passes for 821 yards.
QB • 6-4, 220
Powder Springs, Ga.
Harrison HS / Georgia Military
Junior college transfer from Georgia Military College who is enrolled at Georgia State for the spring semester ... Rated the No. 70 junior college prospect in the nation by 247Sports ... In nine games at GMC in 2012, he passed for 1,907 yards with 20 touchdowns and only seven interceptions ... Added two touchdowns rushing ... Led coach Bert Williams' squad to a berth in the C.H.A.M.P.S. Heart of Texas Bowl, of which he was MVP in a last-second, 30-23 loss ... Enjoyed a record-setting day in GMC's final regular-season game, completing 21-of-31 passes for 342 yards and five touchdowns in a 43-25 victory over Lackawanna and was named NJCAA Player of the Week ... Played at Harrison High School for coach David Hines.
DE-OLB • 6-5, 230
Versatile defender who could play defensive end or outside linebacker ... All-DeKalb County selection at Columbia High School ... Chosen for the East-West All-Star Game.
DB-WR • 6-1, 205
Gordon Central HS
Two-way standout as a wide receiver and defensive back at Gordon Central High ... Two-time honorable mention all-state selection ... First-team all-area by the Rome News Tribune and first-team all-county by the Calhoun Times as a senior ... Named to the Chattanooga Times Free Press preseason "Dynamite Dozen" before the 2012 season ... Rated among the top 200 prospects in Georgia by 247Sports Caught 45 passes for 794 yards as a senior with six touchdowns receiving and two kickoff returns for scores ... Enjoyed his best game in the 2012 regular-season finale against North Murray with six catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns, 67 yards and one touchdown rushing and two interceptions on defense ... Added 45 receptions for 662 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior ... Played for coach Chad Fisher and helped Gordon Central to back-to-back playoff appearances ... Also an outstanding track performer.
DL • 6-2, 270
Cape Coral, Fla.
Ida Baker HS
Defensive lineman from Ida Baker High ... First-team all-district selection ... First-team all-conference in the Lee County Athletic Conference ... EArned second-team all-area honors ... Chosen for the Dade vs. Florida All-Star Team ... Made 40 tackles with six tackles for loss as a junior ... Added 50 tackles as a senior.
LB • 6-2, 230
Stone Mountain, Ga.
Three-star prospect by Rivals ... Rated among the top 225 prospects in Georgia by 247Sports .. Credited with 95 tackles as a senior at Stephenson High ... Made 25 tackles for loss, including six sacks ... Selected to the 45-man Team U.S. Under-19 National Team, assembled by USA Football that competed in the 2012 IFAF Under-19 World Championship in July at Burger Stadium in Austin, Texas.
WR • 6-3, 190
Warner Robins, Ga.
Explosive receiver with excellent hands and leaping ability ... Earned team awards for Leadership and Hustle at Northside-Warner Robins High School ... Also a standout basketball player who was recently named to the All-Tournament team at the Bear Brawl Tournament.
DB • 5-10, 175
First-team all-region in 5-AAAAAA in the state's largest classification ... Helped Lassiter and head coach Jep Irwin to the region title with an undefeated regular season ... Chosen for the GACA North-South All-Star Game, played in December in Columbus ... Also selected for the Cobb All-Star Senior Bowl ... 22 tackles - 1½ for loss - and three interceptions, the first coming with a 75-yard touchdown return in Lassiter's season opener against Hillgrove ... Averaged 16 yards on punt returns.
CB • 5-10, 187
Sandy Creek HS
Transfer from UCF who will join the GSU program after playing two seasons for the Knights ... Played in eight games as a sophomore in 2012, making six tackles ... First-team all-state selection in 2010 as a senior at Sandy Creek High ... Helped Sandy Creek to back-to-back state titles ... Was rated No. 48 nationally by ESPN, No. 57 by Rivals and No. 63 by Scout ... Member of Atlanta Journal-Constitution Georgia Top 50 and Super Southern 100 ... Grabbed six interceptions as a senior and returned four of them for touchdowns ... Returned two interceptions and three punts for scores as a junior.
DB • 5-10, 175
M.L. King HS
All-DeKalb County selection ... Chosen for DeKalb County All-Star Game ... Rated among the top 225 prospects in Georgia by 247Sports ... Chosen for MVP of the 2010 National Underclassmen Combine ... Team captain at M.L. King High.
DL • 6-2, 255
South Paulding HS
First-team all-region (5-AAAAA) ... Chosen for the GACA North-South All-Star Game, played in December in Columbus.
RB • 6-2, 220
Siegel HS / NE Oklahoma A&M
First-Junior college transfer from NE Oklahoma A&M who enrolled at GSU for the spring semester ... Rushed for 652 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2012, although he was slowed by an ankle injury for part of the season ... First-team all-conference selection in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference ... Helped NEO to a 9-3 record and a No. 13 national ranking ... Top game came in an upset of No. 9-ranked Blinn, when he rushed for 153 yards and four touchdowns and was named state Player of the Week by the Daily Oklahoman ... Added 120 yards and two scores in a win over Ellsworth CC ... Coached by Dale Patterson ... All-region, all-county and all-mid-state at Siegel High ... Rushed for 1,072 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior.
RB • 5-11, 201
Henry County HS
Running back who is also a receiving threat out of the backfield ... Suffered a season-ending knee injury five games into his senior season at Henry County High ... Rushed for 536 yards in his five games ... Three-year starter ... Last name pronounced JON-bart.
DL • 6-4, 260
Locust Grove, Ga.
First-team all-region (2-AAAAAA) in the state's largest classification ... All-Southern Crescent by the Henry Daily Herald ... Played in the D.L. Scott Coalition Bowl East-West All-Star Game ... Made 72 tackles, with six sacks, four pass breakups three fumble recoveries, and one forced fumble ... Also blocked two kicks.
DL • 6-1, 275
First team all-state in Class AAAA by the Associated Press ... First-team All-Middle Georgia by the Macon Telegraph ... First-team all-region ... Finished his senior season with 85 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 10 sacks.
DL • 6-4, 250
Eagles Landing HS
Two-time All-Southern Crescent by the Henry Daily Herald ... State runnerup (Class AAA) in the shot put in 2012.
OL • 6-5, 290
Earned first-team all-region honors in 8-AAAAA as a senior .... Added second-team all-region accolades in 7-AAAA as a junior.
RB • 5-11, 205
East Paulding HS
Honorable mention all-state in Class AAAAA by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution ... Offensive Player of the Year in Region 5-AAAAA ... A 1,000-yard rusher for coach Chuck Goddard ... Helped East Paulding High to an undefeated regular season and a No. 10 final ranking in Class AAAAA ... Second-team all-region as a junior (5-AAAA North).
LB • 6-0, 235
First-team all-state in Class AAAA as a junior ... First-team all-region in 2011 and 2012 ... Three-time All-Middle Georgia pick by the Macon Telegraph ... Finished his senior season with 85 tackles, nine tackles for loss, four fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and two interceptions ... Returned a fumble 73 yards for a touchdown in a state playoff game ... Chosen for the GACA North-South All-Star Game, played in December in Columbus ... Three-year starter for coach Kevin Kinsler.
OL • 6-4, 295
All-District 14 selection ... Key player on an offensive line that paved the way for nearly 200 yards rushing per game ... Chosen to play in the Pinellas County Senior All-Star Game and was named the game's Most Valuable Offensive Lineman ...Played for coach Jared Davis.
DL • 6-3, 310
Stillwater HS / NE Oklahoma A&M
Junior college transfer from NE Oklahoma A&M who enrolled at GSU for the spring semester ... Collected 43 tackles with five tackles for loss in nine games in 2012 ... Helped NEO to a 9-3 record and a No. 13 national ranking ... Added 48 tackles with 18 tackles for loss, six sacks and one interception in 2011 ... Coached by Dale Patterson ... Played his high school football for coach Rusty Atkins at Stillwater High ... Had six sacks and a blocked punt as a senior ... Finished eighth in the state in the shot put.
TE • 6-3, 225
Tight end who played for Moeller High, the 2012 Ohio Division I state champions ... Coached by John Rodenberg ... Father, Keith Rucker, played in the NFL from 1992-97 with five different teams.
LB • 6-2, 210
Linebacker prospect who was a first-team all-region selection in 6-AAA ... Team captain as a senior at Woodward Academy.
OL • 6-2, 275
North Gwinnett HS
Two-time all-state selection ... Named first-team all-state in Georgia's largest classification (Class AAAAAA) by the Atlanta Journal Constitution in 2012 ... Added second-team honors in 2011 ... First-team all-area ... Rated among the top 200 prospects in Georgia by 247Sports ... Three-year starter had a 92 percent blocking grade with 25 pancakes and 20 knockdowns in 2012 ... Two-time all-region and two-time first-team all-county (Gwinnett Daily Post) ... Chosen for the GACA North-South All-Star Game, played in December in Columbus.
TE • 6-5, 225
Eagle's Landing HS
First-team all-region (4-AAA) and all-area in 2011 ... Caught 35 passes for 425 yards, averaging better than 12 yards per catch, and scored seven touchdowns as a junior ... Two-time All-Southern Crescent selection by the Henry Daily Herald ... Coached by his uncle, Joe Teknipp.
TE • 6-5, 255
Played offense and defense at Calhoun High School ... Helped Calhoun win Class AA state title in 2011 ... Named to the Chattanooga Times Free Press preseason "Dynamite Dozen" before the 2012 season ... Native of Germany who moved with his family to the U.S. before his junior year of high school.
OL • 6-5, 260
South Gwinnett HS
Honorable mention all-county selection by the Touchdown Club of Gwinnett ... Chosen to play in the Rivalries of Gwinnett all-star game.
Georgia State University