ATLANTA--Anthony Midget, who has served as Georgia State's secondary coach and special teams coordinator since 2008, has been elevated to defensive coordinator, head coach Bill Curry announced Friday.

Midget, a former all-American defensive back at Virginia Tech and an Atlanta Falcons draft pick, was a member of the original coaching staff that Curry put together when the program began in 2008. He replaces John Thompson, who left GSU two weeks ago for the defensive coordinator position at FBS program Arkansas State.

Midget, 34, will also coach safeties, and Curry will hire a position coach to round out the defensive staff. Spring practice will begin March 14 as scheduled.

"Every now and then, you run into a coach who is special in every area. We have a special coach in Anthony Midget, and that's the reason he is being promoted at such a young age," said Curry. "He deserves this opportunity.

"Almost four years ago, [Virginia Tech head coach] Frank Beamer called me to recommend this young coach, and since the day he arrived, Anthony has demonstrated the attitude, the skills and the work ethic to make Georgia State football what it should be. He has always gone the extra mile in game preparation, in recruiting and in accountability for his student-athletes.

"He is tough and very demanding," Curry continued. "His defensive backs don't like him every day, but they love him, and that's a special quality to have."

With Midget in place as the coordinator, Georgia State will continue its transition to a 4-2-5 alignment.

"I'm very grateful to Coach Curry and to Director of Athletics Cheryl Levick for giving me this opportunity," said Midget. "I understand the responsibility that goes with this, and I'm ready for the challenge. We have a good staff in place, and we are excited about the players we have.

"Our goal going into the spring is to get the defense to play hard, play fast and play consistently," he continued. "The identity that we want to develop is a hard-nosed defense that plays fast, plays physical and plays for 60-plus minutes, every game. The 4-2-5 scheme, which is what we ran at Virginia Tech, will enable us to take advantage of our speed."

Under Midget, Georgia State's special teams excelled in the 2010 inaugural season. GSU was not eligible for official NCAA statistical rankings, but the Panthers' net punting average (37.34) and kickoff return average (24.20) would have ranked among the top 10 nationally. The GSU specials teams also contributed two kickoff returns for touchdowns and a blocked punt, and placekicker Iain Vance earned third-team all-America recognition. In 2011, the Panthers ranked 23rd nationally in punt return average (11.1).

Midget came to GSU in 2008 after spending the 2007 season as a graduate assistant at Virginia Tech, helping the Hokies to the Atlantic Coast Conference title and a berth in the Fed Ex Orange Bowl.

Midget also served five years (2002-07) coaching at Lake Worth High School in Lake Worth, Fla., where his positions included assistant head coach, defensive coordinator, defensive backs coach and running backs coach. He also coached track, weightlifting and basketball and taught physical education.

A four-year letterwinner (1996-99) and three-year starter at cornerback at Virginia Tech, Midget helped the Hokies to four straight bowl games, capped by an appearance in the BCS National Championship game following the 1999 season.

He earned third-team all-America honors from The Sporting News as well as first-team all-Big East accolades in 1999. The Dean's List student also made the Big East All-Academic Team.

Following his senior season, Midget was selected in the fifth round of the 2000 National Football League draft by the Atlanta Falcons. He also spent time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

A native of Clewiston, Fla., Midget graduated from Virginia Tech in 1999 with a degree in sociology. He has a daughter, Anaiya.