STATESBORO -- Georgia Southern head coach Jeff Monken acknowledged the Eagles did not get every player they went after, but nevertheless he was pleased with his third signing class.
Monken introduced the newest Eagles at a news conference Wednesday afternoon at the school’s Parrish Center which houses the football office.
Georgia Southern signed 24 high school players to join defensive back Tevin Thomas from Copiah-Lincoln Community College who is already enrolled in school and will participate in spring drills. The 6-foot, 200-pound Thomas led the Wesson, Miss., school in tackles last season with 87.
Unlike his previous two classes, Monken and his staff did not sign any players from Middle Georgia, and they ventured out of state for more players than they have in the past.
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Last year’s class, for example, included only two players from outside of Georgia. This year, the Eagles signed 13 in-state players while landing seven from Florida and four from South Carolina.
“As we evaluated these guys and the positions we were recruiting for they happened to be at the top at those positions,” Monken said of the out-of-staters. “They were the best ones available to sign.”
Georgia Southern had numerous holes to fill, the most obvious being at quarterback where Jaybo Shaw finished his eligibility.
The Eagles landed three quarterbacks, including a highly touted pair from Florida: Matt Dobson of North Florida Christian in Monticello and Vegas Harley of Mount Dora.
Both were rated three-star recruits by Rivals.com, rating service and both participated in the Georgia-Florida War of the Border game in Valdosta with Harley being named Florida’s most valuable player.
Harley was a three-year starter and finished his career with 7,910 yards total offense. Dobson led his team to two state championships, starting at safety for two years and at quarterback the past two years, accumulating 5,712 yards offense.
The third quarterback is Kevin Ellison of Habersham Central, where he ran for 5,100 yards and 83 touchdowns while passing for 1,412 yards and 15 touchdowns. He ranks 10th behind Hershel Walker on the all-time Georgia touchdown list, according to the Georgia Southern press release.
“Dobson is a tremendous athlete,” Monken said. “They had a great team, a state championship (Class A) team. He led that team. He’s a good runner, and thrower. We battled this morning (Wednesday) to get Vegas. He didn’t make up his mind until (Wednesday) morning. He can play other positions, too.”
The Eagles also needed help on the offensive and defensive lines and the secondary, and Monken believes they got the help they were looking for.
Georgia Southern lost three starters out of the defensive backfield, and Riyahd Jones, a freshman from Columbus Carver who started seven games last year, left school.
“We needed help in the secondary and at quarterback, and I think we got it,” Monken said. “(Ellison) ran our offense last year, and Kevin’s a good athlete. All of the quarterbacks can play other positions, too, like Jerrick (McKinnon) did.”
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List of Georgia Southern Eagles football signees
STATESBORO, Ga. (AP) -- Football signees announced Wednesday by the Georgia Southern Eagles, with name, position, height, weight, school and hometown:
Dequan Clark, dl, 6-1, 275, Buford HS, Buford, Ga.
Montay Crockett, wr, 6-0, 175, South Pointe High School, Rock Hill, S.C.
James Dean, rb, 6-1, 195, Glynn Academy, Brunswick, Ga.
Deonte Dempsey, dl, 6-3, 245, Victory Christian Academy, Lakeland, Fla.
Matt Dobson, qb, 6-0, 205, North Florida Christian, Monticello, Fla.
Kevin Ellison, qb, 6-0, 180, Habersham Central HS, Cornelia, Ga.
Patrick Flowe, lb, 6-1, 210, Parkview HS, Lilburn, Ga
Darien Foreman, ol, 6-4, 285, Dunwoody HS, Dunwoody, Ga.
Deshawntee Gallon, db, 5-11, 190, Madison County HS, Madison, Fla.
Lanard Govan, ath, 6-2, 230, Savannah Christian Prep, Garden City, Ga.
Tre Griffin, dl, 6-2, 235, North Cobb HS, Powder Springs, Ga.
Vegas Harley, qb, 6-0, 185, Mount Dora HS, Mount Dora, Fla.
Daquan Heard, te, 6-3, 245, Washington-Wilkes HS, Washington, Ga.
Tay Hicklin, db, 5-10, 175, South Pointe HS, Rock Hill, S.C.
Irving Huggins, rb, 6-1, 215, Hargrave Military Academy, St. Cloud, Fla.
Jamal Johnson, dl, 6-3, 240, Southeast Bulloch HS, Statesboro, Ga.
Jermaine Morris, dl, 6-1, 235, Archer HS, Dacula, Ga.
Corey Neely, db, 6-1, 190, South Pointe HS, Rock Hill, S.C.
Grady Redding, db, 5-11, 190, Cocoa HS, Cocoa, Fla.
Diego Rodriguez - Dacula, Ga./Dacula High School - 6’3”/250 - OL
Wintz Terrell, ol, 6-2, 297, Hardee HS, Hardee, Fla.
Shun Tribble, rb, 5-9, 170, Woodruff HS, Enoree, S.C.
Devonte Wheaton, rb, 5-9, 170, Etowah HS, Woodstock, Ga.
Michael Young, ol, 5-11, 265, Tucker HS, Stone Mountain, Ga.