Georgia State Panthers

Turner Field on schedule to be ready for Georgia State season opener

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The Atlanta Braves opened the doors to their brand new baseball stadium over the weekend to fans as the baseball team gets ready to open the 2017 season in their new digs. Meanwhile, at the old home of the Braves, Georgia State University is moving along according to schedule in downsizing and renovating Turner Field to serve as the permanent home of the football program. So far, so good, as the university fully anticipates the stadium will be ready to go for the season opener on August 31 against Tennessee State.

The job that’s being done is incredible,” Athletic Director Charlie Cobb told 11Alive. “Each and every time I walk in, I see something new being done.”

Renovation and construction at Turner Field got started in February. The entire project will be done in phases as the university plans to develop around thew football stadium for an expanding university. As far as the stadium goes, the seating capacity will be retrofitted to hold a capacity of 23,000 fans. That will be the first phase of the master plan, with a second phase to complete building the rest of the stadium and add additional seating for fans.

“We plan on doing some unique things capturing the history of the stadium, but also creating a football facility that speaks to Georgia State,” Cobb said. “One of the stories we want to tell is the fact that it went from being an Olympic venue, to the home of the Braves, and now to the home of Georgia State. I think we can write that third chapter.”

Georgia State previously played its home games in the Georgia Dome, the now former home of the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL. The Falcons are also moving into a new football stadium this season. The Falcons’ new home at Mercedes-Benz Stadium will also welcome some college football action to the stadium this season with the annual Chick-fil-A Kickoff will move to the new stadium from the Georgia Dome. This year’s Chick-fil-A Kickoff features Alabama and Florida State on September 2 and Georgia Tech and Tennessee on September 4. The SEC Championship Game and the Peach Bowl will also be hosted in the new stadium and the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship Game will be played there on January 8, 2018.

Georgia State may have their new home, but perhaps one day they will get to play in the new stadium too.

Georgia State is renaming Turner Field to Georgia State Stadium

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With the doors closing on the Georgia Dome in Atlanta for good, Georgia State’s football program is ready to get started on their very own home field at Turner Field in 2017. The Panthers will kick off the 2017 season at Turner Field against Tennessee state on August 31. The stadium will also have a new name; Georgia State Stadium.

As soon as word broke from the Atlanta Braves that the MLB franchise was going to move to a new location, Georgia State pounce don the opportunity to claim the land holding Turner Field. Knowing the Georgia Dome was going to be abandoned by the Atlanta Falcons (who move into a brand new stadium this year), Georgia State needed to secure a place to play their home games, and getting a chance to have their own stadium all to themselves was highly sought after by the university.

While Georgia State will play its home games in the former home of the Braves, the plan moving forward will be to overhaul the entire venue by making it more fan friendly and better serve the Georgia State football program. For starters, the stadium’s capacity will be reduced from 50,000 for baseball to 23,000 for the football program.

The converted football stadium will also be accompanied by other facilities for the university including shops and residential complexes as part of a university and community effort to develop.

Helmet sticker to Gridiron Now.

Independents and Group of Five National Signing Day Recap: Irish bounce back, Memphis tops AAC

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Outside of the Power Five conferences, recruiting went about as expected in 2017.

Notre Dame continued to pound the national trail and landed a top 12 class full of players who will be expected to play early. BYU managed another impressive group that was one of the most diverse out there. The schools with a talent-rich backyard to draw on did well in the AAC.  Boise State was once again tops in the Mountain West and did better than a few peers in the region. And yes, Lane Kiffin earned that recruiting reputation by pulling in the best class of Conference USA.

Though there wasn’t much drama outside the top schools, there nevertheless was plenty of action for many programs on National Signing Day.

Top recruits (all rankings via 247Sports Composite): No. 67 overall Brock Wright (TE, Notre Dame), No. 154 overall Chaz Ah You (DB, BYU), Aisa Kelemete (DE, Boise State), Nick Robinson (TE, Memphis), Nicholas Sims (RB, Toledo)

Top classes: Notre Dame (No. 11 overall), Memphis (No. 58 overall), Boise State (No. 60 overall), BYU (No. 65 overall), Florida Atlantic (No. 71 overall), Toledo (No. 74 overall), Texas State (No. 87 overall)

Biggest storyline: Irish still land solid recruiting class

Despite the worst season in South Bend since Charlie Weis and a nearly brand new coaching staff, Notre Dame still managed to cobble together a top 12 class on Signing Day. Tight end Brock Wright was the highest rated player and should see early playing time but the number of quality offensive linemen was really evident in the group Brian Kelly signed. Will it be enough to help with a big turnaround? We’ll see.

Biggest surprise: Memphis runs away with things in the AAC but new coaches still fared well

Given all the turnover in the American this year, it should probably come as no surprise that the Tigers pulled the top recruiting class in the conference. That’s a testament to what Mike Norvell is building with the program and the fact that they don’t have to go far for players. Many of the same factors played a role in Scott Frost landing the second-best class at UCF. It was also pretty impressive what Luke Fickell did on the recruiting trail at Cincinnati and Charlie Strong did at USF given those two didn’t have a ton of time to get things lined up.

Don’t sleep on: Boise State, Colorado State

The Broncos were once again the class of the Mountain West on the recruiting trail and fended off several Pac-12 schools for prospects. That will put them firmly in the mix to win the league again in 2017 but don’t overlook another good job by Mike Bobo and staff at Colorado State in landing 17 three-star players.

We’ll see about: Everybody else

Georgia State makes firing of Trent Miles official; Tim Lappano named interim coach

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Georgia State has officially announced the firing of head coach Trent Miles. After reports surfaced Saturday night the coaching change was happening, the school formally announced the change within the program on Sunday. Assistant coach Tim Lappano will continue to serve as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.

“These decisions are never easy to make,” Georgia State Director of Athletics Charlie Cobb said in a released statement. “Coach Miles is a first class guy, who has run a first class program who has always been a true professional and great leader for our program, but we felt the time was right to make a change. We will begin a national search for our next head coach immediately.”

Georgia State has fired a search firm to assist with finding new head coach for the program. Don’t expect Georgia State to make any big waves with its coaching search. The Georgia State job won’t attract a coaching candidate like Les Miles or Tom Herman but will be one likely to give an assistant coach a chance to make the jump to being a head coach, or perhaps a coach from the FCS or below.

This could also alter the future of the program when it comes to satellite camps. Miles had openly welcomed power conference programs to come to Georgia State for football camps. Some programs who have accepted an invitation to Georgia State have included Missouri, N.C. State, Ole Miss, Penn State, Tennessee, USC and Wisconsin. Miles was critical of the NCAA’s initial decision to shutdown satellite camp practices. Whether those continue under a new head coach remains to be seen.

Miles was 9-38 at Georgia State but took the Panthers to a bowl game last season. What’s next for Miles remains unknown of course, although given his years of coaching experience it would be hard to envision him not being on a sideline somewhere in 2017.

Georgia State reportedly fires Trent Miles

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Georgia State has moved on from head coach Trent MilesSports Illustrated‘s Pete Thamel reported Saturday night.

Miles inherited a young program still struggling through obvious growing pains upon his 2013 arrival from Indiana State. His Panthers suffered through a 1-23 start before seemingly breaking through with the program’s first-ever bowl trip — a loss to San Jose State in the Cure Bowl — last season.

The Panthers, however, regressed to 2-8 this season, and Miles’s tenure culminated in a 37-23 loss to Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday.

The move comes at unfortunate timing for Miles, as just this week Georgia State announced an oncoming renovation to Turner Field, which will get the still-establishing program out of the cavernous Georgia Dome.

Georgia State will close its season against Georgia Southern on Saturday before a year-end road trip to Idaho.