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Cherry gives Eagles a little kick

Cherry gives Eagles a little kick

Cherry gives Eagles a little kick

    Luke Cherry thought he was going to spend the semester as a regular student at Florida State, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying to find a football team to play for after high school.
    When Cherry couldn’t find the right college team, he hung up the cleats and headed for the FSU classrooms.
    “I was trying to play in college,” said Cherry, formerly the kicker at Providence School of Jacksonville, Fla., “and the places that were looking at me, I wasn’t a really big fan of. I sent a tape (to Georgia Southern) when coach (Chris) Hatcher was here, and I just never got a response.”
    Cherry’s brother and sister-in-law are missionaries in Haiti, working for “Mission of Hope,” so he paid three visits to his family since last September. Since the earthquake, they’ve helped rebuilding structures, and even on the medical side of things.
     “There’s still so much trauma down there because of the earthquake,” said Cherry. “My brother’s wife Diana, she’s been working with prosthetics. People come in with severed arms and legs, and it’s awesome to see the hope they give them, because they never thought they would walk again.”
    Life continued for Cherry as an FSU student until the Georgia Southern coaching staff went on the hunt for a kickoff guy. They came across the tape Cherry had sent in 2008, dusted it off, took a look at his kickoffs soaring through the end zone and decided they may have found their guy. 
    “Luckily, by the grace of God,” Cherry said, “I got picked out. I got a random phone call one day and I was like, ‘Hello?’ He said, ‘This is coach (C. Ray) Gregory from Georgia Southern, can I talk to you?’ It’s all been great since then.”
    Cherry is now in competition with Billy Greer as the Eagles’ kickoff man.
    “Luke’s in a battle right now,” said defensive line/special teams coach John Scott. “He’s doing a great job. You’re talking about a guy basically coming off the street. He came from not doing anything at Florida State, but he’s got some raw ability to him.”
    “It’s pretty much up to the coaches,” Cherry said about who will get the starting job, “and they keep me out of the loop. I’m fine with that.”
    Greer, Adrian Mora and Chris Rogers are fighting it out for placekicking duties, and punter Charlie Edwards returns for his junior year.
    Special teams is a part of the game Scott and first-year head coach Jeff Monken take seriously.
    “How many games have you seen where the special teams break down,” said Scott, “and it changes the momentum of the game and it causes a team to lose? Special teams to me are just as big as offense or defense.”
    As far as kick return duties, junior Laron Scott, sophomores Johnathan Bryant and Darreion Robinson, and freshmen Darries Robinson and Kevin Martin are in the mix.
    The rest of the special-teams spots will be filled out by guys who are, well, special.
    “Some of those guys play special teams and that’s kind of their thing,” said Monken. “They take a lot of pride in it and they’re really good at it — sometimes better than the starters because they take so much pride in it.”
    The Eagles return to practice today at 2:45 p.m. before the final practice of fall camp at 10:05 a.m. Saturday. Regular practice sessions begin the following Monday, where the scout team will split and the Eagles will begin preparations for the teams on the upcoming schedule, which kicks off September 4 at 6 p.m. at Paulson Stadium.

    Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.

GSU Practice Update
    ➤ Freshman quarterback Ezayi Youyoute sat out of the second half of Thursday's practice with a foot injury. His status has has yet to be determined.

    ➤ Freshman offensive tackle Marcus Howton has elected to leave the team.

    ➤ Athletes from Georgia Southern's fall sports — football, men's and women's soccer, volleyball, cross country and track and field — will participate in "Meet the Eagles" Saturday at 4 p.m. at Paulson Stadium. The event is open to the public and the teams will be available for autograph signings and photographs.   

    ➤ Georgia Southern announced Thursday that single-game tickets for all five regular-season home games are set to go on sale at midnight on Sunday, August 15. They will be available locally at (912) GSU-WINS (478-9467) or 1-800-GSU-WINS (478-9467). They are also available online at:

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