What You Need to Know:
* Georgia State is in its first spring practice under head coach Shawn Elliott Monday with an 8:45 a.m. workout.
* The Spring Game is scheduled for Saturday, April 15, time and location TBA.
* The Panthers return 52 lettermen and 17 starters.


ATLANTA -- With two spring practice sessions now in the books, Georgia State head coach Shawn Elliott and his staff now look forward to Thursday's first practice in pads.

"We have to be a physical football team," Elliott said.

That theme is evident everywhere. It's even printed across the top of the practice schedule: FAST AND PHYSICAL.

"The biggest thing that we are looking for is seeing toughness, effort and discipline," wide receivers coach Trent McKnight said after Tuesday's practice. He was speaking specifically of his wide receivers, but he could have been talking about any position on the field.

"The little things we can clean up as we go, but we want to see the toughness, effort and discipline improve on a daily basis."

McKnight, like the entire GSU staff, is new this season. He previously spent four seasons at Samford, working on the same staff with new offensive coordinator Travis Trickett.

The most familiar name in McKnight's position group is sophomore Penny Hart, who has returned to the field after a season-ending foot injury in 2016. He looks to return his 2015 form, when he was the Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year and a Freshman All-American with 71 receptions for 1,099 yards and eight touchdowns. Also coming off an injury is Todd Boyd (33-352-1), who is not participating in spring drills.

The Panthers red-shirted four receivers last year in Jonathan Ifedi, Matlin Marshall, Bryson Duckworth and Eric Elder.

"We want to give equal reps to everyone and see who steps up," McKnight said. "I tell our guys every day: what you put on film right now is your resume, and that's what we're evaluating as a coaching staff, not what you've done before. We're trying to create competition every day and see who rises to the top.

"We had a few guys step up yesterday and make some plays and then a few more today," he continued. "We just got to have more consistency out of that group. We're working with some young guys who haven't had chance yet to get out there, and we're giving them a chance to show what they can do."

Speaking of Georgia State receivers, 2016 senior Robert Davis is back on campus after his strong performance at the NFL Scouting Combine and continuing his preparations for the upcoming NFL Draft.

Georgia State football will play its first season in the new Georgia State Stadium in 2017, with the inaugural game scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 31 vs. Tennessee State. Season tickets are on sale now, beginning at $100.

2017 SPRING PRACTICE DATES (Subject to change)
Thursday, March 23, 8:45 a.m.
Saturday, March 25 (TBA)
Monday, March 27, 8:45 a.m.
Tuesday, March 28, 8:45 a.m.
Thursday, March 30, 8:45 a.m.
Friday, March 31, 8:45 a.m.
Monday, April 3, 8:45 a.m.
Wednesday, April 5, 8:45 a.m.
Friday, April 7, 8:45 a.m.
Monday, April 10, 8:45 a.m.
Wednesday, April 12, 8:45 a.m.
Friday, April 14, 8:45 a.m.
Saturday, April 15, SPRING GAME, Time & Location TBA