ATLANTA—As Georgia State continues spring practice, one of the busiest Panthers is senior center Michael Davis.
On the field, Davis centers an offensive line that returns all five starters from 2012, as well as several backups, and off the field, the academic all-star continues to pursue his MBA at Georgia State.
In addition to Davis, also returning on the front five for head coach Trent Miles and offensive line coach Harold Etheridge are left tackle Ulrick John, right tackle Grant King, left guard Tim Wynn and right guard Harrison Clottey, along with top backups in tackle Ramell Davis, guard Cade Yates and center Ronald Martin.
In addition, three promising redshirt freshmen are pushing for playing time on the unit that features six seniors. Joining the mix are Treavor Flannigan, who is working at tackle, Garrett Gorringe at guard and Mark Ruskell at center.
For Davis, the best thing about this spring is his health after suffering serious injuries in both 2010 and 2011. As a redshirt freshman in Georgia State’s inaugural season of 2010, he sustained a season-ending knee injury during the preseason. After fighting his way back to play in the first three games of 2011, he suffered a broken ankle in practice and missed the remainder of that season. He returned to play in every game of 2012, and now he is healthier than ever.
“I don’t remember the last time I was this excited about football,” he said. “I feel like it’s a fresh start. Last fall, I was healthy, but this spring I finally feel like I am who I was before my injuries. I’m excited to go out there and really fly around full speed, without thinking about anything. I don’t even think about my injuries at all.”
A Capital One Academic All-District selection in 2012, Davis completed his bachelor’s degree in 2012 and began work toward his MBA last fall. He will complete his advanced degree in the spring of 2014.
Davis is usually the youngest, and at 6-3 and 290 pounds, probably the largest, person in any of his classes.
“There are a few people who are only a few years older than me, maybe in their mid-20s, but I’m pretty much the youngest person in all my classes,” said Davis. “Most of them know that I am football player, but I feel like I can compete on the same level as them academically. I think my work speaks for itself. They obviously know I had to do something to get into the program, so they treat me like any other student.
“I have selected Business Analysis as the concentration for my MBA,” he continued. “I would like to be a management consultant. Business Analysis focuses on studying businesses, measuring their performance and trying to make them more efficient.”
Efficiency is also a theme on the football field.
“We’ve learned a lot about the new offense because the NCAA rules now allowed us to meet during the offseason,” he said. “It’s not overly complex in terms of the blocking schemes, but we can do a lot out of it, and Coach Jags [Jagodzinski] is really trying to tailor it to our strengths.
“I’m loving the new coaching staff,” he continued. “Coach Etheridge and Coach Miles bring a lot of intensity. I’m excited that they are really raising our expectations for ourselves.”
Georgia State continues spring practice through the April 20 Spring Scrimmage, scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Georgia Dome. Remaining practice dates:
Apr. 5 (Fri.), 5:25 p.m.
Apr. 6 (Sat.), 10:40 a.m.
Apr. 9 (Tue.), 8:55 a.m.
Apr. 11 (Thu.), 8:55 a.m.
Apr. 12 (Fri.), 5:25 p.m.
Apr. 13 (Sat.), 10:40 a.m.
Apr. 16 (Tue.), 8:55 a.m.
Apr. 18 (Thu.), 8:55 a.m.
Apr. 19 (Fri.), 5:25 p.m.
Apr. 20 (Sat.), SPRING SCRIMMAGE, 1 p.m. at Georgia Dome