SSU Coaches Focusing On Recruiting
With the 2019 season over, the Savannah State football staff have now turned their efforts into recruiting mode.
The Tigers will lose 13 seniors off of a squad that posted a overall record of 7-3 which included a 5-0 conference mark in their first season back in Division II.
When asked what positions he deemed as critical needs head coach Shawn Quinn said ‘We are like Noah’s Arc, we need two of everything.” Quinn went on to say that they plan to go after players who line up in the trenches. “We have to continue to load up on the line of scrimmage. We must find a dynamic pass rusher.” With all conference punter and kicker Giovanni Lugo using up his eligibility, Quinn states that finding a kicker ranks high on his priority list . “We will sign one to two kickers if need be.”
In February, SSU was able to sign eight local players and Quinn says that Savannah is their first area to recruit and their success is dependent on them winning over the local talent in Savannah, the coastal empire and Carolina low country. “We always want to do a great job finding folks who want to be Tigers. We have a great city and we want our home town players to stay and be Tigers.”
With Savannah State having their first winning season since 1998, recruiting this time around will be a little easier and Quinn agrees. “Players want to win and for the first time in 20-plus years we can take a losing program off the table. Our players are winners and I think that we are in more homes and recruits have noticed and see we have a chance to compete for a SIAC and national championship.”
The winning record has energized SSU alumni across the state and Quinn hopes that the winning leads to new supporters and sponsorships for the team. “Winning always open up doors in recruiting and having corporations and new people to help sponsor Savannah State Football.”
So far Savannah State has two mid-year commitments that plan to enroll at the university in January. Also planning to join the team in January is Kyle Frazier. The Augusta, Georgia native was one of the 18 signess in February but was unable to play this fall after being diagnosed with cancer. Quinn said that Frazier is cancer free and ready to go in January. “He is excited to be in spring practice with us and we are ecstatic to have him and his family be part of our program.”
The 2020 football schedule is still a work in process but Quinn states that they still have a couple of open dates to fill and hope to finalize that very soon.
Two of the three losses suffered by SSU were from FCS teams (Charleston Southern and Alcorn State). It’s unclear if Savannah State will play any Division I teams in 2020 but if Quinn had his way it would be a done deal.
“We would always love to play an FCS Team every year. We would like to continue the rivalry with Charleston Southern because of the great games between us and the proximity. We have been trying to schedule Mercer but to this point they have avoided playing us. We want to play regional FCS teams within a couple hours of Savannah but scheduling is always a challenge. Most teams generally schedule us for their homecoming and so there are challenges in the getting the games to match the dates. But moving forward we need to schedule with the idea of trying to help our playoff seeding.”
Tigers Split With Kentucky State
The Savannah State men’s and women’s basketball teams split a double header with Kentucky State on November 30 in games held at Tiger Arena. It was the SIAC opener for both schools.
The Kentucky State women started the game with a 11-0 run and held on to top the Lady Tigers 73-69. Amari Heard had 14 rebounds and 11 points for Savannah State. Le’Andrea Gillis led all scorers with 17 points followed by Ta’Kyla Austin who had 15 points, Azhana Maxwell (13 points) and Mia Cooper (11 points). The loss dropped SSU to 3-1 overall and 0-1 in conference action.
Marcus Scott V came off the bench to lead the SSU men to their first victory of the season, a 89- 79 win over a much bigger KSU team. Scott scored a game-high 21 points while Amaru Bryant had 18, Rico Bonds scored 17 and Justice Stanley chipped in 11 points. The Tigers are 1-2 overall and 1-0 in the SIAC.
On November 27, the SSU women defeated Allen 78-73 in Tiger Arena. SSU led from start to finish and led by as many as 15 in the third quarter. Alexus Bryant and Heard posted double-doubles with Bryant getting 14 rebounds and 10 points while Heard had 12 rebounds and 10 points. Gillis scored 19 points for the Lady Tigers while Austin had 15 and Maxwell contributed 14.