STATESBORO, Ga. - So far, so good.
Georgia Southern coach Mike Sewak greeted his 2003 football players Wednesday as they arrived on campus and checked into their dorms.
"I haven't seen anyone I didn't like," Sewak said. "It seems like everyone took the off-season seriously, came (back) in shape and is ready for practice."
Workouts for the Eagles begin at 9 a.m. today with agility drills, which will give Sewak a more precise assessment of his players' conditioning. Ninety players are expected to be on hand. The season-opener is Sept. 6 against Savannah State.
Wednesday was a day to get acclimated. The players checked in, had physicals and then attended team meetings.
True freshman Will Campbell arrived at Kennedy Hall at 9 a.m. with the basics.
"You know, clothes, computer, DVD player," he said.
Campbell, a slotback, didn't have very far to come, probably less than 20 miles from his hometown of Sylvania.
He took an course at Georgia Southern during the summer and worked out on his own with several of the players.
"Over the years, I've gone to a lot of Georgia Southern games and it's always been a childhood dream to play for them," said Campbell, who helped Screven County win a Class AAA state football championship last season. "I'll play wherever the coaches want me to play."
So will Lynon Jefferson, a former Effingham County star who will also be vying for time at slotback.
"It was good to get in and just get a chance to talk to the players and hear the coaches," Jefferson said. "They say, 'hang in there, you might get discouraged, but keep giving your best.' Right now, you don't know what to expect, but you know you're going to work your hardest."
Sewak said the 90-man squad is set except for Hargrave Military Academy (Va.) transfers Cortez Reed and Lee Miles, who are still waiting for paperwork back from the NCAA.
Reed, a defensive end at Charlton County, was a two-time All-Region 2-AA honoree. Miles, a quarterback/defensive back, was Georgia's Class AA player of the year in 2001 and helped Cartersville to a four-year record of 49-5.
FURMAN SUSPENSIONS: Two Furman football players have been suspended indefinitely after they were charged with stealing a tent, coach Bobby Lamb said.
Wide receiver Isaac West, a 21-year-old former Butler High player, and tight end Willis Sudderth, 20, were charged with grand larceny on campus last Thursday night, according to a police report.
Sudderth was also charged with possession of a controlled substance after a small amount of marijuana was found in his vehicle, police said.
The players were recently named to the preseason All-Southern Conference team.
"We're very disappointed in the events that took place last Thursday involving Isaac and Willis and the impact their behavior has had on our football program and the university community," Lamb said. "We expect Furman student-athletes to be great citizens and to understand how their actions affect their teammates and others."
Last season, West caught 39 passes for 708 yards and had seven touchdowns despite missing three games with a fractured collarbone. Sudderth earned his second all-conference honor in 2002 after catching eight passes for 103 yards and a touchdown.
The players have applied for a program for nonviolent first offenders.
The Associated Press contributed
to this report