Preview 2018: Georgia State Panthers. The Growing Sun Belt Power

Preview 2018: Georgia State Panthers. The Growing Sun Belt Power

2018 Preview

Preview 2018: Georgia State Panthers. The Growing Sun Belt Power

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What You Need To Know About The Georgia State Defense

– Solid throughout last season, the Panther defense has to replace three of the top five tacklers. But there’s hope to be almost as good as the group that finished fourth overall in the Sun Belt allowing 388 yards and 25 points per game.

It starts with the linebacking corps that loses leading tackler James Young, but brings back three good, athletic options starting with all-star Michael Shaw on the outside and Chase Middleton on the inside. Middleton makes more stops, Shaw gets into the backfield.

– There’s not a whole lot of bulk on the front three in the 3-4 alignment, but sophomore Dontae Wilson should be even more of a dangerous pass rusher on the nose. The team’s sack leader has to be the anchor, with ends Marterious Allen and Terry Thomas needing to hold up and hang out behind the line on a more consistent basis. With just 24 tackles for loss, the pressure has to come from several spots.

– The secondary suffers the biggest talent drain after struggling way too often. The versatile Jerome Smith is the only returning starter – he’s a strong veteran corner – but all is not lost. This turned into one of the key areas in spring ball, and a little bit of a surprise. It’ll be a young group of defensive backs, but they’re aggressive. And now they need …

Biggest Key To The Georgia State Defense

A pass rush. There wasn’t one for long stretches of time. The Panthers got behind the line for seven sacks against ULM, and six in the bowl win over pass-first-pass-only WKU. Throw in the four against Idaho, and 17 of the 23 sacks came in just three games. There’s upside in the secondary, but the defense can’t afford to have fewer than two sacks in eight games again.

NEXT: Top Players, Final Prediction & What Will Happen

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