Georgia Southern Eagles football
2024 Georgia Southern Eagles football team
First season1924; 100 years ago[a]
Athletic directorJared Benko
Head coachClay Helton
2nd season, 12–14 (.462)
StadiumPaulson Stadium
(capacity: 25,000)
Field surfaceArtificial turf
LocationStatesboro, Georgia
NCAA divisionDivision I FBS
ConferenceSun Belt Conference
All-time record418–253–10 [1] (.621)
Bowl record3–3 (.500)
Claimed national titlesDiv. I FCS: 6 (1985, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1999, 2000)
Conference titles11
RivalriesAppalachian State (rivalry)
Georgia State (rivalry)
Consensus All-Americans95
ColorsBlue and white[2]
Fight songEagle Fanfare
Georgia Southern Fight Song
MascotFreedom (live); GUS (costume)
Marching bandSouthern Pride Marching Band

The Georgia Southern Eagles football program represents Georgia Southern University in football as part of the Sun Belt Conference. The current head coach is Clay Helton. The Eagles have won six FCS (I-AA) national championships and have produced two Walter Payton Award winners. Georgia Southern first continuously fielded a football team in 1924, but play was suspended for World War II and did not return until 1981. The Eagles competed as an FCS independent from 1984 to 1992 and as a member of the Southern Conference from 1993 to 2013, winning 10 SoCon championships. In 2014, Georgia Southern moved to the FBS level and joined the Sun Belt Conference, winning the conference championship outright in its first year. Georgia Southern's main Sun Belt rivals are Appalachian State and Georgia State.


See also: List of Georgia Southern Eagles football seasons

Early history

As First District A&M, the school began organizing football teams as early as 1909.[3] However, the college first continuously fielded a team in 1924. In 1929, B.L. "Crook" Smith, a sports standout from Mercer University, was hired as football coach and athletics director and would lead the football team for 13 seasons. Football was suspended in 1941 at the outset of World War II and would not return for 41 years.

Erk Russell (1981–1989)

In 1978, President Dale Lick decided that football should be revived at Georgia Southern College. Despite a faculty senate vote against renewing the sport, Lick worked to generate support for the endeavor. In 1982, the school hired Erk Russell, the popular and charismatic defensive coordinator at Georgia, to coach the new football team. On the hire, humorist Lewis Grizzard said, "When they landed Erk Russell, they got themselves a franchise."[4] The Eagles fielded a club team in 1982 and 1983 and began official NCAA Division I-AA play in 1984. The next year, the Eagles would win their first Division I-AA national championship in Tacoma, Washington, defeating Furman, in only the team's fourth year in existence, second as a varsity team. The Eagles would return to Tacoma the next year and win the championship vs. Arkansas State. In 1989, the Eagles became the first college team to go 15–0 in the 20th century, winning the national championship on their home field vs. Stephen F. Austin. Soon after the game, Russell retired.

Tim Stowers (1990–1995)

Tim Stowers was hired to succeed Russell after Georgia Southern's 1989 (15–0) national title. Stowers was the 1989 offensive coordinator, one of only two coordinators since 1900 to direct an offense of a team with a 15–0 record. Stowers led the Eagles to their fourth I-AA championship against Nevada in his first season. He also won Georgia Southern's first Southern Conference Title in 1993, the Eagles' first year in the league, and was named 1993 Southern Conference Coach of the Year. However, despite these accomplishments, Stowers was never able to live up to the expectations set by Russell and was fired in 1995 after a 9–4 record by then-new athletics director Sam Baker, who never saw Stowers coach a game.

Frank Ellwood (1996)

Stowers was succeeded by interim coach Frank Ellwood for one year. The 1996 season was the first losing season in the modern era as the Eagles fell to 4–7.

Paul Johnson (1997–2001)

The next coach for the Eagles was Paul Johnson, a former offensive coordinator for Erk Russell's 1985 and 1986 championship teams. Johnson found instant success, taking the Eagles to the playoffs in his first season. He, along with Eagle legend Adrian N. Peterson, reached the 1998 national championship; however, the Eagles lost the game to UMass in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Eagles rebounded under Johnson and won back-to-back national championships in 1999 (vs. Youngstown State) and 2000 (vs. Montana). Both championships were won in Chattanooga. After the 2001 season, Johnson resigned to become the head coach of Navy.

Mike Sewak (2002–2005)

Johnson was succeeded by Mike Sewak. Despite winning the Southern Conference championship twice in his tenure (outright title in 2002 and shared title in 2004), his lack of postseason success as well as a falling out with former head coach Erk Russell led to his firing after the 2005 season.

Brian VanGorder (2006)

Brian VanGorder, a former defensive coordinator at Georgia, was hired to succeed Sewak. In the first of many controversial moves, VanGorder scrapped Georgia Southern's famed triple-option offense and did away with certain traditions, such as the team's arrival at home games on yellow school buses. Erk Russell had also died unexpectedly of a stroke on the eve the first game of the 2006 season after addressing the team on the night before. VanGorder led the team to a 3–8 record, the worst record during Georgia Southern's FCS tenure. After his one year as coach, VanGorder resigned to take an assistant coach position at the University of South Carolina, but accepted a job with the Atlanta Falcons five weeks later.

Chris Hatcher (2007–2009)

Chris Hatcher, formerly the head coach at Valdosta State, which he led to the 2004 NCAA Division II Football Championship, was named the new head coach on January 19, 2007. Hatcher led the Eagles back to a winning record with a 7–4 finish, barely missing the FCS playoffs. However, Hatcher could not replicate the success of his first season, going 11–11 in the following two seasons, and he was fired after the conclusion of the 2009 season, the team's third modern era season with a losing record at 5–6, and the second within four years.

Jeff Monken (2010–2013)

On November 29, 2009, school officials announced that Jeff Monken, a longtime assistant coach under Paul Johnson, would become the next head coach of the Eagles. Monken's hiring signaled the return of the triple-option offense which brought success to the program in years past. In Monken's first year, the Eagles finished the regular season with a 7–4 record and made their first playoff appearance since 2005, advancing to the semifinals, where the Eagles fell to the Delaware Blue Hens.

During the 2011 season, Georgia Southern was ranked No. 1 in the FCS for the first time since the 2001 season.[5] Additionally, Georgia Southern clinched the Southern Conference Football Championship for the first time since 2004 and first time outright since 2002.[6] The Eagles finished the 2011 regular season with a 9–2 record; however, they were ousted in the semifinals for a second straight year by the eventual FCS champion North Dakota State Bison. In the 2012 season, the Eagles finished the regular season with an 8–3 record with a share of the Southern Conference Championship; however, the Eagles fell for a third straight time in what was ultimately the team's final FCS playoff game in the FCS semifinals, losing a rematch of the previous year's semifinal game against North Dakota State. In the team's final FCS season, the Eagles compiled a 7–4 record. In the final game of that season, the Eagles earned an upset win over Florida 26–20, the Eagles' first win over a Power Five FBS team, and the Gators' first loss to an FCS program. On December 24, 2013, Monken resigned to become the next head coach of Army.[7][8]

After years of rumors and fan speculation, Georgia Southern announced its intentions to move to the Football Bowl Subdivision level in April 2012. The university plans to raise $36.6 million over eight years to accommodate the move. Paulson Stadium would be expanded to FBS-standards by constructing a 57,000 square feet (5,295 m2) football operations center in the eastern end of the stadium and adding 6,300 seats on the north stands.[9] Additionally, students voted in favor of raising student athletic fees by $100 to accommodate the move. $25 of the fee increase would be used for the stadium expansion project while the remaining $75 is implemented as the "FBS Fee".[10]

On July 27, 2012, then-Athletics Director Sam Baker resigned. Baker was an ardent supporter of remaining in the FCS despite then-university president Brooks Keel's proclamation, mainly due to the financial ramifications of moving to a higher level. On November 12, 2012, President Keel named Tom Kleinlein as athletics director.[11] On March 27, 2013, Georgia Southern announced its move to the Sun Belt Conference on July 1, 2014, becoming bowl-eligible in 2015. In the 2013 season, Georgia Southern's football schedule remained the same, but the team was ineligible for the Southern Conference title as well as postseason play. The university paid the Southern Conference $600,000 in exit fees.[12]

Willie Fritz (2014–2015)

On January 10, 2014, Willie Fritz, formerly the head coach of Sam Houston State, was named as the Eagles' ninth modern era head coach and first of the FBS era.[13] In the Eagles' first FBS season, the team finished the season 9–3 overall and was undefeated in Sun Belt Conference play at 8–0, winning the outright conference championship. The Eagles became only the third team ever to win a conference title in its first FBS season, after Nevada in 1992 (Big West Conference) and Marshall in 1997 (Mid-American Conference). They were also the first team ever to go unbeaten in conference play in their first FBS season.[14] Since the Eagles were under transitional status, the university filed for a postseason waiver to allow the Eagles to play in a bowl game; however, the NCAA denied Georgia Southern's waiver request and a subsequent appeal since enough full member FBS teams became bowl-eligible during the season. In the 2015 season, Fritz led the Eagles to an 8-4 record, receiving their first bowl bid to the GoDaddy Bowl on December 23, 2015 against Bowling Green.

On December 11, 2015, Fritz resigned as the Eagles head coach to accept the head coaching position at Tulane.[15] Assistant head coach and running backs coach Dell McGee was appointed as interim head coach for the GoDaddy Bowl game, where Georgia Southern defeated Bowling Green 58–27.

Tyson Summers (2016–2017)

Tyson Summers was hired on December 21, 2015 to succeed Fritz. Summers had served as safeties coach for Georgia Southern during the 2006 season under Brian VanGorder, and held the defensive coordinator and safeties coach roles at Colorado State in 2015.[16] During Summers' first season in 2016, Georgia Southern suffered its first losing season in the FBS era, and fourth overall in the modern era.[17] Summers was fired on October 22, 2017 after starting the 2017 season with a six-game losing streak.

Chad Lunsford (2017–2021)

After Summers was fired, assistant head coach Chad Lunsford was appointed as interim head coach for the rest of the 2017 season.[18] Lunsford was officially named head coach on November 27, 2017.[19] He finished out the 2017 season at 2-4. The overall record of 2-10 was the worst record in the program's overall history and marked the first time in the modern era that the Eagles posted back-to-back losing seasons.

In Lunsford's first official season as head coach, he led the Eagles back to a winning record and bowl eligibility, finishing the regular season 9-3 and 6-2 in conference play. Georgia Southern defeated Eastern Michigan 23–21 in the Camellia Bowl, giving the Eagles their first 10-win season since the FCS-to-FBS transition. In the 2019 season, the Eagles posted a 7-5 record, with a 5-3 record in conference play. The Eagles earned an invitation to the Cure Bowl, suffering their first loss in a bowl game at the hands of Liberty. In the 2020 season, the Eagles posted an identical 7-5 record, dropping to 4-4 conference play. Lunsford's team capped the season with an impressive 38-3 victory over the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs in the New Orleans Bowl.

Georgia Southern playing at Tiger Stadium in 2019

The team's fortunes changed in 2021, when a 1-3 start to the season led to Lunsford's firing. Cornerbacks coach Kevin Whitley took over as interim head coach.[20] The Eagles ultimately posted a 3-9 record, the team's third losing season since transitioning to the FBS, and the second-worst season in the modern era.

Clay Helton (2022–present)

On November 2, 2021, Georgia Southern hired Clay Helton, former head coach of the USC Trojans, as the new head coach.[21] On September 10, 2022, Clay Helton led Georgia Southern to a 45-42 upset victory over Nebraska, earning national attention. The victory marked the second time that Georgia Southern has beaten a Power 5 school since defeating Florida in 2013. [22]

Conference affiliations


National championships

Year Coach Selector Record Score Opponent
1985 Erk Russell NCAA Division I-AA Football Championship Game 13–2 44–42 Furman
1986 Erk Russell NCAA Division I-AA Football Championship Game 13–2 48–21 Arkansas State
1989 Erk Russell NCAA Division I-AA Football Championship Game 15–0 37–34 Stephen F. Austin
1990 Tim Stowers NCAA Division I-AA Football Championship Game 12–3 36–13 Nevada
1999 Paul Johnson NCAA Division I-AA Football Championship Game 13–2 59–24 Youngstown State
2000 Paul Johnson NCAA Division I-AA Football Championship Game 13–2 27–25 Montana
National runners-up

Conference championships

Year Conference Coach Overall record Conference record
1993 Southern Conference Tim Stowers 10–3 7–1
1997 Southern Conference Paul Johnson 10–3 7–1
1998 Southern Conference Paul Johnson 14–1 8–0
1999 Southern Conference Paul Johnson 13–2 7–1
2000 Southern Conference Paul Johnson 13–2 7–1
2001 Southern Conference Paul Johnson 12–2 7–1
2002 Southern Conference Mike Sewak 11–3 7–1
2004 Southern Conference Mike Sewak 10–3 6–1
2011 Southern Conference Jeff Monken 11–3 7–1
2012 Southern Conference Jeff Monken 10–4 6–2
2014 Sun Belt Conference Willie Fritz 9–3 8–0

† Co-championship


Bowl games

The Eagles have participated in six bowl games with a record of 3–3.[23]

Season Coach Bowl Opponent Result
2015 Dell McGee GoDaddy Bowl Bowling Green W 58–27
2018 Chad Lunsford Camellia Bowl Eastern Michigan W 23–21
2019 Chad Lunsford Cure Bowl Liberty L 16–23
2020 Chad Lunsford New Orleans Bowl Louisiana Tech W 38–3
2022 Clay Helton Camellia Bowl Buffalo L 21–23
2023 Clay Helton Myrtle Beach Bowl Ohio L 21–41

Division I-AA/FCS Playoffs results

The Eagles have appeared in the NCAA Division I Football Championship playoffs 19 times with an overall record of 45–13. They are six time National Champions (1985, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1999, 2000) and two time National runner-up (1988, 1998).

Season Coach Playoff Opponent Result
1985 Erk Russell First Round
National Championship Game
Jackson State
Middle Tennessee State
Northern Iowa
W 27–0
W 28–21
W 40–33
W 44–42
1986 Erk Russell First Round
National Championship Game
North Carolina A&T
Nicholls State
Arkansas State
W 52–21
W 55–31
W 48–38
W 48–21
1987 Erk Russell First Round
Appalachian State
W 31–28 OT
L 0–19
1988 Erk Russell First Round
National Championship Game
The Citadel
Stephen F. Austin
Eastern Kentucky
W 38–20
W 27–6
W 21–17
L 12–17
1989 Erk Russell First Round
National Championship Game
Middle Tennessee State
Stephen F. Austin
W 52–36
W 45–3
W 45–15
W 37–34
1990 Tim Stowers First Round
National Championship Game
The Citadel
Central Florida
W 31–0
W 28–27
W 44–7
W 36–13
1993 Tim Stowers First Round
Eastern Kentucky
Youngstown State
W 14–12
L 14–34
1995 Tim Stowers First Round
Troy State
W 24–21
L 0–45
1997 Paul Johnson First Round
Florida A&M
W 52–37
L 7–16
1998 Paul Johnson First Round
National Championship Game
Western Illinois
W 49–28
W 52–30
W 42–14
L 43–55
1999 Paul Johnson First Round
National Championship Game
Northern Arizona
Illinois State
Youngstown State
W 72–29
W 38–21
W 31–17
W 59–24
2000 Paul Johnson First Round
National Championship Game
McNeese State
W 42–17
W 48–20
W 27–18
W 27–25
2001 Paul Johnson First Round
Florida A&M
Appalachian State
W 60–35
W 38–24
L 17–34
2002 Mike Sewak First Round
W 34–0
W 31–7
L 28–31
2004 Mike Sewak First Round New Hampshire L 23–27
2005 Mike Sewak First Round Texas State L 35–50
2010 Jeff Monken First Round
Second Round
South Carolina State
William & Mary
W 41–16
W 31–15
W 23–20
L 10–27
2011 Jeff Monken Second Round
Old Dominion
North Dakota State
W 55–48
W 35–23
L 7–35
2012 Jeff Monken Second Round
Central Arkansas
Old Dominion
North Dakota State
W 24–16
W 49–35
L 20–23

Head coaches

No. Coach Alma mater Seasons Years Games Record Pct.
1 E. G. Cromartie Mercer 3 1924–1926 13 7–5–1 .577
2 Hugh A. Woodle Clemson 2 1927–1928 18 11–6–1 .639
3 Crook Smith Mercer 13 1929–1941 117 45–66–7 .411
4 Erk Russell Auburn 8 1982–1989 106 83–22–1 .788
5 Tim Stowers Auburn 6 1990–1995 74 51–23 .689
6 Frank Ellwood Ohio State 1 1996 11 4–7 .364
7 Paul Johnson Western Carolina 5 1997–2001 72 62–10 .861
8 Mike Sewak Virginia 4 2002–2005 49 35–14 .714
9 Brian VanGorder Wayne State 1 2006 11 3–8 .273
10 Chris Hatcher Valdosta State 3 2007–2009 33 18–15 .545
11 Jeff Monken Millikin 4 2010–2013 54 38–16 .704
12 Willie Fritz Pittsburg State 2 2014–2015 24 17–7 .708
13 Dell McGee Auburn 1 2015 1 1–0 1.000
14 Tyson Summers Presbyterian 2 2016–2017 18 5–13 .278
15 Chad Lunsford Georgia College & State 4 2017–2021 47 28–19 .596
16 Kevin Whitley Georgia Southern 1 2021 8 2–6 .250
17 Clay Helton University of Houston 2 2022–Present 25 12–13 .480

† Interim head coach


Appalachian State

Main article: Appalachian State–Georgia Southern football rivalry

The makings of the rivalry truly began when the Mountaineers beat the Eagles in the quarterfinals of the 1987 I-AA Playoffs. Since Georgia Southern joined Appalachian State in the Southern Conference in 1993, the schools have played each other annually in football. Both teams are now members of the Sun Belt Conference. Appalachian State leads the series 20–16–1 through the 2022 season.[24] It is considered by many to be the most passionate and competitive rivalry in the Sun Belt Conference, and one of the most underrated rivalries in all of college football.

Georgia State

Main article: Georgia Southern–Georgia State rivalry

Georgia Southern and Georgia State have only competed against each other in football since 2014. The series with Georgia State is 3–6 through the 2022 season.[25]



The athletics teams of Georgia Southern University are referred to as the Eagles. However, the school has gone by a number of different nicknames. From as early as 1907 the teams of the then First District A&M school were referred to as the Culture to reflect the agricultural background of the school.[26] From 1924 to 1941, the nickname was the Blue Tide. After World War II, athletic teams were referred to as the Professors reflecting the school's status as a teacher-training college. However, in 1959 when the school was renamed Georgia Southern College, a student vote was held to determine the new mascot; among the 104 entries, voters chose Eagles over Colonels by a narrow margin. In 1997, a contest was held to select the official name of the mascot, incoming freshman Imen Edmond and Heidi Barber won with the name GUS.[27]

Beautiful Eagle Creek

Beautiful Eagle Creek

When Georgia Southern resurrected football in 1981, it lacked tradition. A drainage ditch that the team had to cross several times a day during football practice came to be called Beautiful Eagle Creek by Coach Erk Russell. When the Eagles traveled to Northern Iowa during the 1985 playoffs, Russell took along a jug of this Eagle Creek water to sprinkle on the field.

The Hugo Bowl

In 1989, ESPN was to broadcast a Thursday Night Football game between Georgia Southern and the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders. However, Hurricane Hugo, a Category 4 storm, was headed straight toward the coast of Georgia. Hugo ranked as the 11th most intense hurricane at time of landfall to strike the United States in the 20th century, with the highest ever recorded storm surge on the East Coast. Nevertheless, the decision was made to continue with the game. For safety purposes, an open line was kept between the press box at Paulson Stadium and the National Hurricane Center in Florida. The Eagles went on to defeat MTSU by a score of 26–0 in a classic that will forever be known in Eagle history as the Hugo Bowl.

This was the first night game played at Paulson Stadium. Temporary lighting was used for the game because the stadium was not outfitted with permanent lighting until the 1994 season. Many feared that the booms used to hoist the stadium lights would tip over due to the heavy wind. While it was initially expected to be a sellout crowd, and the official attendance was listed as 16,449,[28] the actual attendance was in the neighborhood of only 3,000 due to the approaching storm.[citation needed]

Plain uniforms

The uniforms consist of plain white pants, blue helmets with a white stripe down the middle and the player's number on the sides, and blue jerseys. This minimalist look was adopted more or less out of necessity. When the program was revived in 1982, the school did not have a large budget. Indeed, the equipment budget was so limited that only plain white practice pants could be purchased. Hence, the practice pants doubled as game pants. Russell bought solid blue helmets and had the players put a piece of tape down the middle.[29] With the subsequent success of the Eagles, the basic design has remained the same, with the only real changes in recent years being a white stripe down the middle of the helmets and the addition of names to the backs of the jerseys. Sports Illustrated has ranked the uniforms as being the third best in college football.

Yellow school buses

When the football program was restarted in 1981, money was tight. In fact, there was not enough money to furnish transportation to home games. The Bulloch County school system sold two buses for a dollar each to the team. The buses have been used by the team ever since as transportation to Allen E. Paulson Stadium. This tradition continued even when the Eagles rose to powerhouse status. This briefly ended with the arrival of Brian VanGorder, following his scrapping of the Eagles' triple-option rushing attack. The tradition was revived after VanGorder's departure.

Black flag

In 2011, the team took the field leading with a solid black flag. The flag symbolized their motto "No quarter given, no quarter taken." During the game it was placed behind the bench. The flag was carried by safety Derek Heyden, who suffered a career ending neck injury early in the season.

The Eagle's Elbow

During Chad Lunsford's tenure, the coach celebrated important victories by brandishing a steel chair adorned with the fallen opponent's logo, slamming the chair on the locker room floor, and performing an elbow drop on the chair. The tradition was started following Lunsford's first win, a 52-point shutout of South Alabama, after the team had gone winless in the first 9 games of the 2017 season.[30][31]

Freedom's Flight

Prior to each home game, after The Star-Spangled Banner is played by the Southern Pride Marching Band, a male American bald eagle named Freedom flies from the top of the press box, around the stadium, down to a falconer on the playing surface. Freedom was rescued from Matiland, Florida in the first weeks of his life with a permanent injury to his beak and a near-fatal infection. He was acquired by the university in 2004 and has flown over every home game at Paulson Stadium since 2007. Live eagle flights have been a part of Georgia Southern home games in some form since 1998, beginning with Glory, who flew over several events, including three of Georgia Southern's national championships, and died in 2021.[32]

Wins over ranked opponents

Season Opponent Result Location Date
2018 #25 Appalachian State[33] 34–14 Allen E. Paulson Stadium October 25, 2018
2019 #20 Appalachian State[34] 24–21 Allen E. Paulson Stadium October 31, 2019
2022 #25 James Madison[35] 45–38 Allen E. Paulson Stadium October 15, 2022

Wins over power five opponents

Season Opponent Conference Result Location Date
2013 Florida SEC 26–20 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium November 23, 2013
2022 Nebraska Big Ten 45–42 Memorial Stadium September 10, 2022


Georgia Southern's home football games are played at Allen E. Paulson Stadium. The stadium was dedicated on September 29, 1984, and has an official seating capacity of 25,000. Prior to the Eagles' first FBS season, Paulson Stadium underwent a major expansion project that included the addition of a new football operations center and more than 6,000 new seats. The stadium's attendance record of 26,483 was set on September 30, 2023, when the Eagles beat Coastal Carolina 38-28. Prior to the opening of Paulson Stadium and becoming a full FCS member in 1984, the Eagles played their first two modern era seasons at Womack Stadium on the campus of Statesboro High School.[36]


The Eagles have won six NCAA FCS national championships, a mark surpassed only by the North Dakota State Bison.

Walter Payton Award

Georgia Southern is one of five schools to have multiple Walter Payton Award winners. The award, which honors the top offensive player in the FCS, was won by running back Adrian Peterson in 1999 and quarterback Jayson Foster in 2007.

Eddie Robinson Award

Three Georgia Southern coaches have won the AFCA Coach of the Year Award, given to the top coach in FCS. Erk Russell won it in 1989, Tim Stowers in 1990, and Paul Johnson in 1998.


Retired numbers

See also: List of NCAA football retired numbers

No. Player Position Tenure Ref.
3 Adrian Peterson RB 1998–2001 [37]
8 Tracy Ham QB 1982–1986 [38]

Notable alumni

See also: Georgia Southern Eagles football statistical leaders

Player Class Distinction(s)
Tracy Ham 1987
  • Member of the College Football Hall of Fame
  • Former CFL QB for the Edmonton Eskimos
  • 2 x Grey Cup Champion
  • 1 x Grey Cup MVP
  • 1 x CFL Most Outstanding Player
  • 1 x CFL All-Star
  • NFL Draft: Round 9 / Pick 240
Fred Stokes 1987
  • Former NFL DE for the Los Angeles Rams, Washington Redskins
  • Super Bowl Champion XXVI
  • NFL Draft: Round 12 / Pick 332
Kiwaukee Thomas 2000
  • Former NFL DB for the Jacksonville Jaguars
  • NFL Draft: Round 5 / Pick 159
Rob Bironas 2001
  • Former NFL K for the Tennessee Titans
  • NFL Record Holder: Most FGs in single game - 8
  • 1 x NFL Pro-Bowler
  • 1 x NFL Player of The Month
  • 3 x NFL Player of The Week
Adrian Peterson 2002
  • Member of the College Football Hall of Fame
  • Former NFL RB for the Chicago Bears
  • 1999 Walter Payton Award Winner
  • FCS Record Holder: Most Career Rushing Yards - 6,559
  • FCS Record Holder: Most Career Rushing TDs - 84
Jayson Foster 2008
  • 2007 Walter Payton Award Winner
J.J. Wilcox 2013
  • Former NFL DB for the Dallas Cowboys, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons
  • NFL Draft: Round 3 / Pick 80
Jerick McKinnon 2014
  • NFL RB for the Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Super Bowl LVII Champion
  • NFL Draft: Round 3 / Pick 96
Edwin Jackson 2015
  • Former NFL LB for the Indianapolis Colts
  • Edwin Jackson Memorial Walk-On Tryouts held annually
Antwione Williams 2016
  • Former NFL LB for the Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions
  • NFL Draft: Round 5 / Pick 169
Ukeme Eligwe 2017
  • Former NFL LB for the Kansas City Chiefs, New York Giants, New York Jets, Las Vegas Raiders
  • NFL Draft: Round 5 / Pick 183
Matt Breida 2017
  • NFL RB for the San Francisco 49ers, Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, New York Giants
  • 1 x NFL FedEx Ground Player of the Week
Younghoe Koo 2017
  • NFL K for the San Diego Chargers, Atlanta Falcons
  • 2 x NFC Special Teams Player of the Week
  • 1 x NFL Pro-Bowler
Kindle Vildor 2020
  • NFL DB for the Chicago Bears
  • NFL Draft: Round 5 / Pick 163
Tyler Bass 2020
  • NFL K for the Buffalo Bills
  • NFL Draft: Round 6 / Pick 188
Raymond Johnson III 2021
  • NFL DE for the New York Giants

Future non-conference opponents

Announced schedules as of December 7, 2023.[39]

2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031 2032 2033
Boise State at Fresno State North Alabama Samford at Boise State at Kentucky Chattanooga Middle Tennessee Kennesaw State at Kennesaw State
at Nevada at USC at Clemson at Kansas State Fresno State Sam Houston at Ole Miss at Army at Middle Tennessee
South Carolina State Jacksonville State at Jacksonville State at Houston Charleston Southern at Sam Houston
at Ole Miss Maine Houston Eastern Michigan at Eastern Michigan Army

Notes and references

  1. ^ Georgia Southern did not field a football team from 1942 to 1981.
  1. ^ NCAA Statistics
  2. ^ Georgia Southern Visual Identity Guide (PDF). April 19, 2016. Retrieved August 3, 2022.
  3. ^ Delma Eugene Presley, The Southern Century. Statesboro: Georgia Southern University, 2006. 47.
  4. ^ Delma Eugene Presley, The Southern Century. Statesboro: Georgia Southern University, 2006. 227
  5. ^ "Georgia Southern football returns to No. 1". The Sports Network. Archived from the original on 27 March 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
  6. ^ "Saturday's Football Roundup: November 12, 2011". SoCon Sports. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
  7. ^ Johnston, Andy. "Georgia Southern's Monken heading to Army". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on 25 December 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  8. ^ "Jeff Monken Named Army Football Coach". Army Black Knights. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  9. ^ "Georgia Southern announces steps for FBS move". Fox News. 25 April 2012. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
  10. ^ Gorla, Lauren. "GSU students vote in favor of proposed student fees". George-Anne. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  11. ^ "Tom Kleinlein Georgia Southern's New Athletic Director". Savannah Morning News. 12 November 2012. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  12. ^ Heath, Donald. "Eagles to make Sun Belt home". Savannah Morning News. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  13. ^ "Georgia Southern Introduces Willie Fritz as New Football Coach". Georgia Southern Athletics. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  14. ^ "Georgia Southern Claims Outright Sun Belt Title – Sun Belt Winners Score Big on Saturday" (Press release). Sun Belt Conference. December 1, 2014. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
  15. ^ "Georgia Southern Begins Search for New Football Coach". Georgia Southern University Athletics.
  16. ^ "Georgia Southern football: Eagles hire Tyson Summers as head coach". National Collegiate Athletic Association. December 21, 2015. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
  17. ^ "Southern Can't Overcome Early Deficit, Falls 30-24 to State". The Official Website of Georgia Southern Athletics. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  18. ^ "Summers Relieved Of Georgia Southern Coaching Duties". Georgia Southern. October 22, 2017. Retrieved October 22, 2017.
  19. ^ "Chad Lunsford Officially Named Head Coach of Georgia Southern Football". Georgia Southern. November 27, 2017. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
  20. ^ "Georgia Southern athletics director, interim coach answer questions day after Lunsford's firing".
  21. ^ "Clay Helton Named Head Football Coach of Georgia Southern Eagles". Georgia Southern University Athletics. Retrieved 2021-11-02.
  22. ^ "Georgia Southern stuns Nebraska, snapping Huskers' streak of 214 home wins when scoring 35 or more points". CBS Sports. Retrieved 2022-09-16.
  23. ^ "Georgia Southern Eagles Bowls". College Football at
  24. ^ "Winsipedia - Georgia Southern Eagles vs. Appalachian State Mountaineers football series history". Winsipedia.
  25. ^ "Winsipedia - Georgia Southern Eagles vs. Georgia State Panthers football series history". Winsipedia.
  26. ^ Delma Eugene Presley, The Southern Century. Statesboro: Georgia Southern University, 2006. 40.
  27. ^ Georgia Southern Football Media Guide, 2004. 188
  28. ^ "1989 MTSU vs. GS Box Score". GATAdb. September 21, 1989. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  29. ^ Delma Eugene Presley, The Southern Century. Statesboro: Georgia Southern University, 2006. 230.
  30. ^ Jaudon, Travis (October 3, 2018). "No steel chair is safe when Georgia Southern's football coach is revving up fans". Savannah Morning News. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  31. ^ Cave, Doy (12 June 2019). "Anatomy of an Elbow Drop". Georgia Southern Magazine. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  32. ^ "Eagles | Center for Wildlife Education and The Lamar Q Ball, Jr. Raptor Center | Georgia Southern University". Retrieved 2023-09-08.
  33. ^ "Georgia Southern Football Takes Down No. 25 Appalachian State". Georgia Southern University Athletics. Retrieved 2022-11-19.
  34. ^ "Eagles Upset No. 20 Appalachian State on Halloween Night, 24-21". Georgia Southern University Athletics. Retrieved 2022-11-19.
  35. ^ "Georgia Southern Deals No. 25 James Madison First Loss". Georgia Southern University Athletics. Retrieved 2022-11-19.
  36. ^ "1983 Georgia Southern Football Media Guide" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2015-09-11. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  37. ^ ADRIAN PETERSON - Director of Student-Athlete Development at
  38. ^ Tracy Ham - Senior Associate Athletics Director, Administration at
  39. ^ "Georgia Southern Eagles Football Future Schedules". Retrieved December 7, 2023.