Like the old "duck" metaphor — above the surface there’s not much going on, but underneath the water its legs are kicking furiously and there’s a frenzy of action — it’s a busy time for Georgia Southern football.
Despite the fact that things seem all quiet on the GSU front, it’s recruiting season.
In college football, there’s usually not much to talk about on the third week in January, but for a team coming off a semifinal playoff run, there’s always something to mention.
In Georgia Southern’s case, there’s a lot less to talk about as far as recruiting goes than there’s been the last four years, and to me, that simple fact is worth talking about.
The last four offseasons have provided fodder for all kinds of speculation. It was always the same story — they’re young, and there’s a truckload of holes on the depth chart that can only be filled with recruiting.
The bad news is that for the fifth season in a row, the Eagles will once again be a young team.
The good news is that these young kids are national semifinalists.
Also, there’s actually going to be senior leadership, most notably quarterback and recent Erk Russell Award recipient Jaybo Shaw on offense, All-Southern Conference defensive tackle Roderick Tinsley on defense and the entire kicking and punting units on special teams.
As for the rest of the depth chart, well, you could field an entire two-deep from returning players, and that is a very welcome change from the way things have gone down in recent memory.
A big reason for that is the 2010 recruiting class, because so many of those 22 kids were asked to play early and had a huge impact on the playoff run.
Tell me if any of these names ring a bell — Robert Brown, Jerick McKinnon, Darries Robinson, Blake Riley, Josh Gebhardt, Tray Butler, Dorian Byrd, Carlos Cave, Zach Lonas, Michael Spaulding and Lavelle Westbrooks.
If they don’t, you weren’t paying attention and if I left any out, well, you get the point.
Then, there’s all the guys who went from role players in 2009 to big-time contributors in 2010.
There were slotbacks J.J. Wilcox, Darreion Robinson and Nico Hickey, as well as Johnathan Bryant who showed promise before his injury against Savannah State.
There were the three sophomore wide receivers who decided to stick around.
There were guys like Josh Rowe, Darius Eubanks, Dion DuBose and, of course, Brent Russell who all looked like seasoned veterans even though they were all playing new positions on defense. And of course we’ll see Derek Heyden and Laron Scott — two of the few who actually played the same position in 2009 and 2010 — back on the field in 2011.
So, when Signing Day, 2011 rolls around on Feb. 2, we’ll get a chance to see what this coaching staff can do with a full recruiting season under its belt.
I expect we’ll see plenty of linemen, linebackers, a lot of defensive backs and a fair share of running backs and quarterbacks.
And hopefully, whoever does end up signing on the dotted line won’t be heard from again until 2012, when they have their redshirt season under their belts.
This coaching staff has already proven it can put together a team, but that is how you build a program.
Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.