Football

After their successful 2018 season, the Eagles are ready to show Eagle Nation what they've been working towards during their spring practice season in the spring game Saturday.

The Georgia Southern Eagles can’t stay off the radar for long and with the Blue and White Spring game being on Saturday, the boys of fall are back in Paulson.

GS brings so much to the table in terms of talent and there are five players that fans should be watching as people crowd into Statesboro so watch a preview of this coming season.

Ty Phillips (96)

The senior nose tackle from Moultrie, Georgia is set to hit the gridiron with his teammates on Saturday. In the 2018 season, Phillips was named as an All-Sun Belt Honorable Mention and started for 11 out of the 13 games he played.

He had 36 tackles on the season and he also had a fumble recovery that he returned 17 yards in the South Carolina State game.

In the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl, Phillips had four tackles against Eastern Michigan and helped bring home that trophy from the defensive side of the ball.

Andrew Cunningham (25)

The redshirt-freshman from Tampa, Florida currently plays for the Eagles as a running back and fans are sure to see more of his name. As a 3-star running back coming out of high school, he is expected to be a backup running back or maybe even lead soon.

Cunningham tallied more than 4,400 career rushing yards during high school and had 70 touchdowns.

Coaches hope to see him perform well and improve his high school average of nine yards per carry and turn that into double digits.

Justin Ellis (97)

As a transfer from Syracuse, the redshirt-sophomore defensive end from Roswell, Georgia is ready to dress out in blue and white for Saturday’s game.

Ellis was named a 3-star defensive end out of high school and was able to get playing time in two games for the Orange, getting a tackle against Central Connecticut under his belt.

Due to NCAA transfer rules, Ellis had to sit out a year before he could play for another team, but through that he was able to learn from teammates and gear up for a successful career at GS.

Jakob Cooper (64)

Cooper is not a new face to GS football, however, the redshirt-senior is ready to return to Paulson in his last spring match up.

In the 2018 season, the offensive lineman started for 11 out of 12 games for the Eagles and was on the field for 673 snaps total.

Cooper played 26 snaps in the opener against SC State, but had a season-high of 71 snaps in his first career start against the University of Massachusetts.

Eagles did not see much of him towards the end of the season and he even missed the bowl game due to injury, but Copper will be one to watch while returning to the field Saturday.

Raymond Johnson III (92)

The junior defensive end from Sumter, South Carolina is gearing up for another season with the Eagles.

Johnson’s last season, adding to his work in spring practice has prepared him for another successful run in 2019 and Eagles are eager to see him perform.

In the 2018 season, Johnson started all 13 games and was selected to be on the All-Sun Belt second team. He recorded 43 total stops on in his last season and 4.5 sacks as well.

Johnson was on the field for a total of 504 plays and led the team with three fumble recoveries to contribute to the Eagles’ comeback season.

Another success for Johnson was that he blocked a PAT (point after touchdown) against SC State and those are not easy to come by.

Fans and coaches are ready to see Johnson return and see what he can do this season to add to his 2018 accomplishments.

Bethany-Grace Bowers, The George-Anne Assisstant Sports Editor, gasports@georgiasouthern.edu

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