STATESBORO, Ga. – Eight Georgia Southern players, included two projected starters, have been suspended by coach Chris Hatcher for the season opener against No. 1 Georgia for undisclosed violations of school rules.
Of the eight, five players will be eligible for the Eagles’ Sept. 6 home game against Austin Peay. The other three also are suspended for the second game.
In a statement released by the school, Hatcher said the suspensions are the result of a “violation of institutional rules.”
Two projected starters, linebacker Terrione Benefield of Conyers, and defensive back Ronnie Wiggins of Summerville, were among the suspended players.
Senior defensive lineman Damon Suggs of Lithonia, a 2007 starter and second-team All-Southern Conference pick, and senior Raja Andrews, one of the team’s top receivers and return specialists, also were suspended.
Wiggins started the final four games of the 2007 season as a sophomore and tied for fourth on the team with 41 tackles. He was second on the team with seven pass breakups.
Benefield had 11 tackles as a sophomore last season.
Andrews, from Swainsboro, had 38 catches and averaged 21.1 yards per kickoff return last season.
Defensive end Charwell Brown and offensive lineman Brandavious Mann also were suspended for just the opener at Georgia.
Running back Zeke Rozier and receiver Garryon Taylor are suspended for the first two games.
Hatcher said he is “disappointed” about the suspensions.
“When the institution’s rules are not followed, then I will take immediate and appropriate action,” Hatcher said, adding he expects the players “all to learn from not doing right and make positive contributions to our program this season.”