Monday at Beautiful Eagle Creek, 71 hopefuls tried out to become walk-ons to the Georgia Southern football Eagles.
They were evaluated and clocked for 40-yard dash and shuttle times, and when all was said and done, 10 were invited back to work with the team.
“I’m very grateful to these kids for coming out,” said GSU coach Jeff Monken. “It takes a lot of courage to come out here and try out for a Division I team. A lot of these guys were high-school players last year and a lot of these guys have been around for two or three years and been to tryouts before.”
There’s not much for the coaches to go on, so their aren’t many opportunities for the students to show what they can do.
“We can’t do anything with a ball,” Monken said, “so we’re really going off of what we see in terms of footwork and the size of the guys. We just look at guys we think can help us out on the scout team.”
Though the drills are designed to measure speed, there are other traits the coaching staff looked for during the hour-long session.
“They’re going to get blocked below the waist and tackled,” Monken said. “We want them to be athletic enough to where they can stay on their feet and protect themselves, and protect our other guys.”
The 10 players selected will have a few weeks to let it sink in. They will join the team on the Monday after the season opener at Samford on Sept. 3.
There is a five-day, NCAA-mandated acclimation period that will begin on Sept. 5 before the walk-ons will be able to dress in full pads, but they’ll still be under close watch by the GSU coaching staff.
“It’s not a golden ticket onto the team,” Monken said. “It’s a chance for them to be evaluated even further.”
Still, there was plenty of talent in the group.
“It’s probably as impressive group as we’ve had,” added Monken. “We my be seeing them play before we know it.”
The Eagles, who had Sunday and Monday off after Saturday’s scrimmage, will return to the practice field today at 3:45 p.m.
Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.