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Helton Era to Begin in Statesboro

Updated: Jul 17, 2023

On November 2, 2021, it was announced that Georgia Southern University would be hiring Clay Helton as its 11th head coach. Helton replaces Chad Lunsford who was 28-21 (17-14 SBC) during his time as the man in charge in Statesboro.

Helton, originally from Gainesville, Florida, played QB for both Auburn and Houston in the early 1990s. After graduating from Houston, he became a graduate assistant at Duke University in 1995 and has since made stops at Houston, Memphis, and USC prior to arriving in Statesboro.

Most recently, Helton served as the head coach for the USC Trojans from 2015-2021. He compiled a record of 46-24 during his time leading the Trojans and won a Pac-12 Championship in 2017 and a total of three Pac-12 South Division titles including 2015, 2017, and 2020.

Richard Burkhart / Savannah Morning News

Since the hiring of Helton took place mid-season, he was able to evaluate the roster of players during practices and games while working to solidify the 2022 recruiting class. Between the end of the season and now, there has been quite a bit of turnover in the roster. The new coaching staff put in place by Helton utilized the transfer portal to bring in players to fit a different offensive and defensive schemes.

2022 Georgia Southern Transfer Enrollees

  • Ezra Archie, WR (Monmouth)

  • Lawson Bachelder, WR (Presbyterian)

  • Danny Corbett. OL (Campbell)

  • Jalen Denton, DB (Ole Miss)

  • Ethan Dirrim, TE (Mercer)

  • Colton Fitzgerald, QB (Boise State)

  • Wylan Free, DB (Fresno State)

  • Ethan Ingram, OL (Marshall)

  • Michael Jubran, OL (Presbyterian)

  • Michael Lantz, K (Minnesota)

  • TJ Lewis, WR (Lousiville)

  • Cameron Orr, OL (Elon)

  • Parker Self, WR (Florida State)

  • Jeremy Singleton, WR (Houston)

  • Dylan Snyder, TE (Citadel)

  • Kyle Toole, QB (Troy)

  • Kyle Vantrease, QB (Buffalo)

  • Kristian Varner, DL (UNC)

  • Mari Wingard, DB (Elon)

After running different forms of the spread option over the past several seasons, the Eagles look to reinvent themselves offensively. Based on the history of Clay Helton and new offensive coordinator Bryan Ellis, look for the Eagles to throw the ball around much more. Fans in Statesboro seem most excited about QB Kyle Vantrease. The 6'2", 225 pound transfer from Buffalo looks to live up to some high expectations in Statesboro. During his time at Buffalo, he accumulated 4,755 passing yards and 25 passing touchdowns to go along with 13 rushing touchdowns.

On September 3, 2022 at 6:00 PM, the Clay Helton era at Georgia Southern will officially begin at Allen E. Paulson Stadium in Statesboro. The Eagles will play host to the Morgan State Bears of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The Bears finished 2-9 (1-4 MEAC) last season. The last two games against FCS foes Georgia Southern won by a combined 6 points. As a head coach with quite a bit of experience, look for Coach Helton and company to be ready to roll on Saturday.

AJ Henderson / Georgia Southern Athletics

@SSN_GaSouthern | 8/29/2022

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