A veteran team returns to Georgia State as the Panthers are led by a stout defense, four returning starters on the offensive line, and a dynamic dual-threat quarterback. Just who cracks the list of the top 10 players returning to Atlanta for the 2022 college football season? And how far can their quarterback Darren Grainger carry them in his second season as the starting signal-caller?
Top 10 returning players at Georgia State
The countdown to the regular season continues here during Pro Football Network’s Top 10 Returning Players series. We’ve crossed the country to the Sun Belt and are firmly entrenching ourselves across the southeastern portion of the country with our look into each FBS team. Looking only at players returning to their same team from a season ago — we’ll deal with transfers later –, we’re counting down all the top 10 players returning to action on every team. Here are the top returners from Georgia State.
10) Malik Sumter, C
It’s a veteran unit returning to the Panthers this season and Malik Sumter leads the group. After pairing with the great Shamarious Gilmore over the past four seasons, Sumter returns to anchor the line for a final season. Sumter has a wide base with terrific hands in the trenches. He anchors well and is equally efficient in all facets on offense.
9) Tucker Gregg, RB
Leading the team with 953 rushing yards last year, Tucker Gregg wore defenses down with his gritty performance. Gregg now has well over 1,500 rushing yards, most of which have come over the past two seasons and has averaged a healthy 5.0 yards or more per carry through his career. He packs a punch when he meets defenders in the hole and creates yardage on his own just fine.
8) Jamyest Williams, RB
Averaging 6.7 yards per carry last season, Jamyest Williams burst onto the scene. He ran for nine touchdowns and had 859 yards playing opposite Gregg. Williams hasn’t had the chance to be featured in the receiving game, but with his ability to find the smallest of creases, it’s only a matter of time. He’s compact and speedy, using a quick first step to jab by defenders in the blink of an eye.
7) Thomas Gore, DT
It was a pretty dominant display for the big man on the inside this past season, as Thomas Gore’s role expanded into more of an every-game starter down the stretch. He took over the Arkansas State game at times last year and put on a display of power in others. Gore is a true nose tackle who thrives when he lines up over the center. He can bully his way through the line with a rare combination of speed and power.
6) Quavian White, CB
Coming through with his seventh career interception last year, Quavian White continues to showcase what makes him a special cornerback. White has the quicks to stay with any speedy receiver but the stickiness in his coverage ability to play with even the biggest receivers. He’s a sound tackler in space, and if he doesn’t make the interception, White has proven to be able to break up even perfectly-thrown passes into his coverage.
5) Jordan Veneziale, LB
One of the top linebackers in the Sun Belt last year, Jordan Veneziale returns to Georgia State for another go next to his potential All-Sun Belt partner in crime just below him here. Veneziale racked up 52 solo tackles and a whopping 97 total tackles last year. He was tremendous when he blitzed, ripping through the line for four sacks and eight total tackles for loss. Like his cohort on the inside of this Panthers defense, Veneziale is a terror for opposing offenses to game plan around due to his terrific ability in every facet.
4) Blake Carroll, LB
Coming through with 89 total tackles last year, Blake Carroll finished second on the team. But it was his 11.5 total tackles for loss that showcased his ability to read and react as well as run the alley and completely blow up the intended point of attack for opposing rushing offenses.
Carroll is an efficient blitzer, timing his shots perfectly, and finishing even better. He plays well in coverage and has a knack for finding the football. Carroll is absolutely a name to know on this talented Georgia State defense.
3) Bryquice Brown, CB
With two interceptions and a ridiculous 11 pass breakups to his credit last year, Bryquice Brown is back to lock down one side of the field for Georgia State in 2022. Brown is a master of his craft, exploding onto the scene last year. He’s long and has great range with surprising speed that he uses to cover up any minor error or just simply jump routes. He limits plays — both big and small — and won’t let ball carriers get by him easily. Brown locks down one side of the field in coverage and stymies run plays all the same.
2) Antavious Lane, S
Antavious Lane led the team with five interceptions last season, one of which he returned for a touchdown. Showcasing an all-around ability in 2021, Lane is a heat-seeking missile in run defense where he comes downhill with a vengeance and closes space on underneath passing lanes equally as well. He also limits receivers in his coverage very well, leading the way to his five picks and another six pass breakups. Lane is good at timing his plays and comes up big in the clutch. He’ll be a force on defense in his redshirt-junior season.
1) Darren Grainger, QB
With an exquisite arm and terrific mobility, Darren Grainger returns as one of the top potential signal-callers in the Sun Belt. With his familiarity growing in terms of his knowledge of the offense, Grainger is the perfect quarterback to lead this team once again in 2022.
Considering the fact that he basically caught fire to end the 2021 season, expectations are very high for the 6’4″ QB. Grainger had his issues with consistency last season, but when he’s on his game, there are few who can move the pocket the way he does, scramble with the greatest of ease, or sling it downfield all the same.
Honorable mention players returning to Georgia State in 2022
- Javon Denis, DT
- Travis Glover, OT
- Pat Bartlett, G
- Johnathan Bass, OT
- Jamari Thrash, WR
- Jaylon Jones, CB