ATLANTA--Georgia State head coach Trent Miles welcomed his first recruiting class as the Panthers' head coach, announcing on Wednesday's National Signing Day a class of 27 student-athletes, including five who are already enrolled at GSU.
Georgia State's 2013 class includes 21 incoming freshmen and one transfer who signed their paperwork Wednesday. In addition, five new Panthers enrolled this semester and will participate in spring practice, including three junior college transfers, one four-year transfer and one freshman.
Of the 27 newcomers, all but five are from the state of Georgia, including 16 from the metro Atlanta area.
The GSU coaching staff placed a heavy emphasis on bolstering the offensive and defensive lines, adding seven defensive linemen, four offensive linemen and three tight ends. The group also includes four linebackers, four defensive backs, three running backs, one quarterback, and one wide receiver.
"I thought it was an excellent recruiting class for the amount of time that our coaches were able to go out on the road," said Miles, who was named as the second head coach in Georgia State history on Dec. 3.
"I thought they did an outstanding job evaluating the talent, especially the local talent. We added size, speed and some potential impact players to our team."
Miles was pleased with the number local players Georgia State was able to keep at home.
"The football talent in this state is excellent," he said. "It's obvious these kids are all well-coached from a very young age. There is a lot of talent in this state. You can tell that by the number of Georgia kids we signed and will continue to sign.
"We always want to start right here in Atlanta and spread our way out," Miles continued. "It is important to get in all of the areas of Georgia and we will hit all of them. Other than junior colleges and prep schools, we won't leave the state during our spring recruiting. We will recruit every high school in the state of Georgia. There's plenty of talent in this state to go around."
When asked to single out individuals who might make the most immediate impact, Miles noted, "Hopefully they are all impact players at some point. To be honest, you will know a lot better in three years how it worked out."
But the GSU head coach did mention linebacker Kight Dallas of Stephenson High School in Stone Mountain.
"Kight Dallas, a young man from in the Stone Mountain area, Stephenson High School, was actually sent a letter of intent from the University of Arkansas," Miles noted. "He was originally commited to the University of South Carolina and received a letter from another SEC school. He did not sign it, but signed ours. I think that speaks to his ability."
The players who are enrolled this semester will have the advantage of participating in spring practice, including quarterback Clay Chastain from Georgia Military College and Harrison High School, and linebacker Tarris Batiste, a native of Cartersville, Ga. (Cass HS) who played for Miles at Indiana State but has returned to his home state.
Georgia State attracted student-athletes from all areas of metropolitan Atlanta, including linebacker Jameel Spencer from Woodward Academy in College Park and three DeKalb County products in defensive lineman Mackendy Cheridor from Columbia and defensive back Trent Hill from M.L. King, along with Dallas from Stephenson.
The Panthers signed three offensive linemen from football-rich Gwinnett County in 6-2, 275-pound Alex Stoehr of North Gwinnett, 6-5, 290-pound Davis Moore of Loganville, and 6-5, 290-pound Daniel Zeigler of South Gwinnett.
To the Northwest, Georgia State added defensive back Robert Dowling from Lassiter High and then a pair of Paulding County standouts in running back Kyler Neal from East Paulding and defensive lineman Carnell Hopson from South Paulding, in addition to Chastain.
Joining the GSU program from the South Metro area are defensive end Shawayne Lawrence and tight end Bill Teknipp, both from Eagle's Landing, defensive lineman Tevin Jones from Luella High, and Henry County running back Jonathan Jean-Bart, who is already enrolled.
The Panthers also made an impact in Middle Georgia with wide receiver Robert Davis and linebacker Trey Payne, both from Northside-Warner Robins High, and defensive lineman Jalen Lawrence from Westside-Macon.
From outside the state of Georgia, the Panthers added Florida linemen Will Cunningham (Ida Baker HS/Cape Coral) and Brandon Pertile (Countryside HS/Clearwater) and Ohio tight end Keith Rucker from Cincinnati Moeller, along with two junior college players from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in running back Gerald Howse (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and defensive lineman George Rogers (Stillwater, Okla.)
Georgia State's final addition Wednesday was cornerback Bruce Dukes, a transfer from UCF who was a first-team all-state player at Sandy Creek High (Tyrone, Ga.) in 2010.