ATLANTA -- "We all know it starts up front."

Those are the words of Georgia State offensive line coach Cedric Williams, and head coach Shawn Elliott, himself a former offensive line coach, would no doubt agree.

The Panthers, who completed Day 3 of preseason practice Friday, open the 2018 season by hosting Atlanta-area foe and 2017 FCS quarterfinalist Kennesaw State on Thursday, Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. at Georgia State Stadium. The game will air on ESPN+.

Williams coaches a GSU offensive line that returns four starters, including preseason All-Sun Belt selections Hunter Atkinson at left tackle and Shamarious Gilmore at left guard, along with seniors Jamal Paxton at center and Gabe Mobley at right guard, plus last year's top backup, Lucas Johnson.

"The guys are flying around, and that's what I emphasize to them every day - having a great attitude and playing with tremendous effort," Williams said.

"Obviously we don't have the pads on yet, but we can always work on playing with great fundamentals."

In addition to the four returning starters, the offensive line features much more depth, albeit young depth, with four redshirt freshmen and three true freshmen.

"Experience is the best teacher," Williams said. "We have five guys who have played a lot of football. It's night and day from our first spring, when we only had seven guys total."

The veteran of the offensive line is Mobley, a three-year starter with two years at center before moving last season to right guard. He has 35 career starts.

"There's a lot of excitement surrounding the program, coming off the bowl game victory and how far we've come the last few years," Mobley said on the eve of preseason camp.

"We feel good about the o-line and the depth that we have. It's good to have people behind to push us and make us better every day."

Mobley is outstanding student who is entering his second year in Georgia State's College of Law, so it's no surprise he is also a student of the game.

"I try to help [the younger linemen] with the mental aspects of the game," he said. "They have the physical tools, so I try to help them mentally."

Season tickets for Panthers' the six-game home schedule at GSU Stadium begin as low as $100. Single-game tickets range from $20 to $25 per game, while group ticket packages are available for groups of 10 more ranging from $10 to $15 per game.

Fans can purchase tickets online at or by calling the ticket office at 404-413-4020 (M-F, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.).