**Note: This was a print-only story**
The Crimson White spoke to Signal sports editor David Norwood in Atlanta, Ga., to get his take on the Georgia State football program since its inception in 2010, its transition to FBS this season and who the team’s top playmakers are heading into its second visit to Tuscaloosa.
Crimson White: Georgia State football’s first season was just three years ago in 2010. The Panthers also happened to play their first-ever FBS opponent, Alabama, that year. How far has the program come since then?
David Norwood: Despite the program being young, it has grown quite a bit. It started as a FCS independent for its first two years, before becoming a member of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) in its third season. Now, Georgia State is a FBS team competing in the Sun Belt Conference.
Also, Georgia State managed to produce NFL talent such as DT Christo Bilukidi of the Oakland Raiders, OLB Jake Muasau (formerly of the New York Giants), RB Donald Russell (formerly of the Atlanta Falcons), TE Emmanuel Ogbuehi (formerly of the Washington Redskins).
CW: Speaking of FBS, this season marks the first for Georgia State in the Football Bowl Subdivision. How has the program adjusted so far from having an FCS schedule to a full-time FBS schedule this season?
DN: It’s kind of early to tell. The team is just now getting to the full-time FBS portion of their schedule after playing Jacksonville State, their last FBS opponent this season. After the Alabama game Saturday would be a better opportunity to gauge how they’ve adjusted to full-time FBS play since they’ll be playing FBS teams until the season concludes.
CW: Albert Wilson is currently 3rd in the nation in all-purpose yards per game with 201.8 per game. What kind of threat can he bring to the table as both a receiver and a returner?
DN: Anytime he has the ball in his hands, he’s dangerous. As a receiver, he’s a deep threat that stretches the field which opens up the running game and short passing game. As a returner, he could beat you with his agility and speed, running east-west dodging defenders or he could run behind the wedge and take it straight to the house.
CW: Outside of Wilson, who are some of the other top offensive weapons for the Panthers?
DN: Freshman wide receiver Robert Davis, fifth-year senior running back Travis Evans and redshirt sophomore quarterback Ronnie Bell are the players you should also look out for on the offense. Davis is second on the team in receptions and receiving yards with 17 receptions, 241 receiving yards and a touchdown. Evans leads the team with rushing with 188 rushing yards and a touchdown. Bell leads the team in passing with 774 yards passing and five touchdowns.
CW: What about on the defensive side of the ball? Who can create some problems for Alabama offense still working its way into a groove this season?
DN: Redshirt sophomore linebacker Tarris Batiste, fifth-year senior defensive end Theo Agnew and fifth-year senior cornerback Brent McClendon would be the players to look out for on the defense. Batiste leads the team in both tackles and tackles for loss with 24 and 4.5, respectively. Agnew leads the team in quarterback hurries with two. McClendon leads the team in interceptions with two.