#104 Georgia Southern Football 2017 Preview

Georgia Southern Eagles
Overall Rank: #104
#5 Sun Belt
See Georgia Southern Team PageGeorgia Southern LogoBuy Georgia Southern Football Tickets
Coach Tyson Summers had a pretty tough opening campaign at Georgia Southern. The Eagles managed to win five games during a very tough schedule, but that is not what the fans in Statesboro have come to expect from their team. Coach Summers is a defensive coach and the triple option attack took a big step back last season. The addition of offensive coordinator Bryan Cook gives hope that the option offense will come a bit closer to being like it used to be.
2016 Record: 5-7, 4-4
2016 Bowl: None
Coach: Tyson Summers (5-7 at Georgia Southern, 5-7 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Bryan Cook
Defensive Coordinator: Lorenzo Costantini
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Wesley Fields, RB, 492 yards
Passing: Seth Shuman, QB, 357 yards
Receiving: Myles Campbell, WR, 384 yards
Tackles: Joshua Moon, S, 72
Sacks: Chris DeLaRosa, LB, 1.5
Interceptions: Joshua Moon, S, 2
Other Key Returnees: RB L.A. Ramsby, OT Jeremiah Culbreth, CB Jessie Liptrot, DE Logan Hunt, S Jay Bowdry
Key Losses: QB Kevin Ellison, QB Fabian Upshaw, RB Matt Breida, WR BJ Johnson III, WR Montay Crockett, OL Andy Kwon, LB Ukeme Eligwe, LB Ironhead Gallon, CB Darius Jones, DE Tre Griffin, K Younghoe Koo
There are a lot of new faces though. Gone are quarterbacks Kevin Ellison and Fabian Upshaw and running back Matt Breida. Those three have been the face of the program for years. Last year was a bit of a setback in their production, but there is no easy way to replace them. Sophomore Seth Shuman got some valuable experience as a freshman last season and will look to take over the starting quarterback job. He will have competition though with redshirt freshman Shai Werts providing most of it. Wesley Fields is the team’s top returning rusher with 492 yards. Demarcus Godfrey and L.A. Ramsby have some experience too. With some new talent coming in at wide receiver and enough experience and talent on the line, this offense could be better than it was last season.
The defense was not too bad last year and Coach Summers is bringing in some good talent too. He will need that talent since there is not too much returning. The line has to replace most of their regular rotation and it will be up to Logan Hunt and Darrius Sapp to anchor an inexperienced line. The top linebackers are gone too, but Chris DeLaRosa and Todd Bradley should be ready to step up. The secondary returns a bit more talent with Jessie Liptrot and Jay Bowdry, but the unit was not particularly strong in 2016. Georgia Southern should be able to put together a decent defense, but depth could quickly become an issue if injuries become a major problem.
The Bottom Line:
Coach Summers and company have a lot to prove this season. The option offense needs to start looking better and the young talent on defense will have to step up right away. The schedule is a little bit easier this year so getting back to a bowl game is certainly a very real possibility. Barring a major surprise this should not be a team that can compete for a Sun Belt title, but a bowl game would take Georgia Southern a step in the right direction.
Projected Bowl: Arizona Bowl
2016 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 224.2 (29th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense: 155.7 (117, 11)
Total Offense: 379.8 (91, 6)
Scoring Offense: 26.6 (78, 5)
Rushing Defense: 167.1 (58, 6)
Pass Defense: 229.5 (69, 6)
Total Defense: 396.6 (58, 7)
Scoring Defense: 26.5 (52, 5)
Turnover Margin: 0.08 (54, 5)
Sacks: 0.92 (124, 9)
Sacks Allowed: 1.00 (8, 2)