After the best season in school history, the Georgia State Football team enters the 2022-23 season with high expectations looming over their heads.
After a lackluster 1-4 start to the season, the Panthers finished with an 8-5 record and won the TaxAct Camellia Bowl on Christmas Day against the Ball State Cardinals. Beating the Cardinals meant GSU had won two of its last three bowl game appearances.
After solidifying themselves in the record books last year, the Panthers are looking to reach greater heights this year. The team made key additions to the roster this offseason, both offensively and defensively.
Zach Conowal, graduate assistant for special teams and recruiting, thinks this year’s recruiting class is not a class to be reckoned with.
“We have a damn good recruiting class,” Conowal said. “KZ Adams, man. He ran for over 3,000 yards in South Carolina. It is good. We also have a lot of good defensive players and we have become much stronger on the offensive line. We certainly have interesting prospects.
Big schools tend to dominate in the transfer gate, but not so fast, the Panthers said.
In the offseason, Georgia State gained an absolute reservoir from Eastern Illinois University. Dawsonville Georgia native, 6’4, 270-pound offensive lineman Bryson Broadway is ready to solidify in this program.
“I’m new to the program,” Broadway said.
“I want to improve my skills because it’s a better competition than what I have [ever] confronted with. I used to play against teams like the University of South Carolina, but now I [will] play these types of guys every week.
“Personally, I want to see myself grow and learn offense to the point where not only do I know my position, but I’ll know what guards do, what crosses do and how to read defense perfectly.”
Despite starting the season 1-4, the Panthers never gave up. Competition is what kept this team going last year. Ironically, competition is exactly what spring football is all about.
It’s open season and the players have the chance to show why they deserve to be on the pitch. Redshirt senior Ben Chukwuma has seen the competition throughout his tenure and seen firsthand how prevalent it was last season.
“There was a lot of competition between the players [last year]”, Chukwuma said. “Everyone wanted to play. Even the scout team was working hard. Everyone was doing their best and that’s what got us to where we ended up last year. everyone went there to take a stand.
The Panthers have many goals for next season, but winning the Sun Belt Conference Championship seems to be the overriding goal for them next season.
“You change a few things from last year, and we’re a 9-4 team, 10-3 last year,” Conowal said. “I’m looking for an SBC Championship, Elliot’s [head coach is] we’re looking for it, and that’s what we expect, so we have to deliver it.
Claiming the conference crown would be a feat that hasn’t been done in the school’s history, but as this program has shown time and time again, rough seas eventually turn into smooth sailing.
Following the spring game, fans can watch the Panthers play their regular season opener against the University of South Carolina on September 3.