ATLANTA—Jimmy Smith, a highly-successful Georgia prep coach who won two state titles at Cedar Grove High School, has joined the Georgia State program as running backs coach, head coach Shawn Elliott announced.


Smith’s hiring completes a GSU staff that features six new assistant coaches as the Panthers open spring practice next week on Tuesday, March 12.


Smith spent the last 12 years at Cedar Grove in Metro Atlanta, including the last six years as athletic director, head football coach and head track coach.


Over the last four seasons, he has led Cedar Grove to two Class AAA state championships in 2016 and 2018 as well as berths in the state final four in 2015 and 2017, compiling 51 victories in that time. The 2016 state title was the first in school history. His overall record in six seasons is 67-14-1.


“We are thrilled to complete our staff with an outstanding coach who built a very successful high school program right here in Atlanta, just a few miles from our campus,” Elliott said. “Not only is Jimmy Smith a tremendous coach and person with deep ties to this city and to the great high school football culture here in Georgia, but he is a Georgia State graduate, having earned his master’s degree here.”


Smith has earned numerous coaching accolades, including two-time Georgia Coach of the Year in Class AAA (2016 and 2018) as well as multiple region and county Coach of the Year honors.


He has coached six prep All-Americans, and more than 30 of his former student-athletes have gone on to play at the college level.


As the head track coach, Smith has led Cedar Grove to the last four state titles (2015-18), also the first state titles in school history. He was honored as the 2018 Region 5-AAA Athletic Director of the Year.


Smith originally went to Cedar Grove in January 2007 as an assistant football coach, working with receivers and defensive backs. He was elevated to offensive coordinator in 2010 and spent three seasons in that role before taking over as head coach.


He began his coaching career at Darlington (S.C.) High School, his alma mater, where he spent one season (2005) as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.


Smith was a standout quarterback at Tennessee State, which he helped to Ohio Valley Conference titles in 1998 and 1999.


He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Fayetteville State in 2002 and added a master’s of education from Georgia State in 2009.


Smith, a native of Darlington, S.C., and his wife Quanisha have a son, Jermaine II, and a daughter, Joss.




Shawn Elliott, Head Coach (3rd Year)

Nate Fuqua, Defensive Coordinator/Outside Linebackers (3rd Year)

Brad Glenn, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks (1st Year)

Thomas Austin, Offensive Line (1st Year)

Chris Collins, Safeties/Recruiting Coordinator (3rd Year)

Brad Lawing, Defensive Line (1st Year)

Trent McKnight, Receivers (3rd Year)

Aairon Savage, Cornerbacks (1st Year)

Jimmy Smith, Running Backs (1st Year)

Josh Stepp, Tight Ends (3rd Year)

Shiel Wood, Inside Linebackers/Special Teams (1st Year)